July 10, 2024

As a political science and legal studies major, Jonathan Ulicny ’27 knew he wanted to find an internship that would give him first-hand experience in legislative affairs and politics. He found just that interning with Pennsylvania State Sen. David Argall (R-29).

“Following my first semester at Susquehanna, I volunteered with Sen. Argall’s primary campaign,” Ulicny of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, said. “Afterward, I was offered a legislative internship for this summer that now allows me to serve my community and apply the skills I have learned at Susquehanna in real-world situations.”

Ulicny is learning how important the tenets of servant leadership are for elected lawmakers.

“This internship grants me a lens into the daily life and work of legislators,” he said. “For many elected officials, work begins by helping their local communities and constituents.”

Focusing on constituent services

Most of Ulicny’s work is devoted to constituent services, meaning he helps citizens living within Argall’s district with issues, casework, PennDOT forms and many other state government requests. One example of this is an increased effort to inform constituents of unclaimed property, typically in the form of uncashed checks, unclosed bank accounts, or unclaimed dividends held by the State Treasury.

“Our office has been working on contacting Sen. Argall’s constituents about $43.64 million in unclaimed property,” he said. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is how fulfilling the work is. I enjoy supporting my community and others by utilizing my skills and knowledge to assist them in multiple ways.”

Having time outside of school to focus on his internship — without the added responsibility of academics and extracurriculars — has allowed Ulicny to dedicate his time and attention to developing his professional skills.

“I have learned how to operate databases, communicate with other professionals, deliver informed answers based on legislative developments, and other professional skills vital to being a successful legislative assistant,” he said.

After graduation, Ulicny plans to attend law school to pursue a juris doctorate degree and practice law. He may later consider entering politics later in life.

“The most important skill I have learned thus far is personability and respect, even for those we don’t always agree with. Without it, groups in the legislature and outside Harrisburg would never be able to communicate or act productively,” he adds. “Building and maintaining strong, personal connections is important not just in professional life but also in the daily life of a college student.”