Double Major Reflects on Life-Changing Fellowship

Isaac Riston

March 05, 2019

Isaac Riston '19, a public policy and business administration major, says a fellowship at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during his junior year was life changing.

"The experience greatly affected how I view the relationship between government and the communities it is responsible for," Riston says.

The fellowship, run out of Harrisburg by the Bipartisan Management Committee, is 13 weeks long and has a cohort of six participants. During his time as a fellow, he was assigned to Rep. Mike Carroll, the Democratic Chairman for the House Environmental and Natural Resources Committee.

While there, Riston analyzed hundreds of amendments on a bill and in response, drafted letters to constituents, bill analyses and a press release.

The fellows all attended House and Senate sessions, committee hearings, press conferences and meetings with lobbyists. Additionally, each member drafted and presented their own legislation, in hopes of getting it picked up. Riston's legislation was to mandate that video game publishers be required to post loot box probability.

"Loot boxes are a redeemable, consumable item to receive randomized virtual items; these items each have a payout probability, or chance to receive them. This legislation better informs consumers to make smarter decisions when choosing which virtual products to buy," he says.

The legislation has been picked up by a House member and Riston hopes there will be progress in getting more members to consider the legislation.

He credits the the university in helping to prepare him for the fellowship, including Karen Mura, associate professor of English and faculty coordinator for post-graduate advising and fellowship advising. 

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