Political science and French & francophone studies double major helps the town of Shrewsbury initiate  a climate action plan

Thomas Pitney ’24

Thomas Pitney ’24, a political science and French & francophone studies double major at The College of Wooster, highlighted everyday administrators’ importance towards issues that impact society during his summer break. By interning with the town manager of the town of Shrewsbury through an APEX Fellowship, he learned how to facilitate effective and productive meetings in a work environment. He also familiarized himself with governmental projects by creating requests for proposal documents. During his internship, Pitney also worked on a team that developed a five-year plan for a new fleet maintenance division for the town.  

  “Throughout my internship, I was tasked with several projects that required me to research best government practices, which has allowed me to refine my research skills beyond the world of academics.”  

—Thomas Pitney ’24  

 Why was the position a good fit for you?  

“This internship was a good fit for me because I was interested in public administration and local government. Furthermore, I had a good background understanding of Shrewsbury’s government after serving as a member of the town meeting, which functions as the town’s legislative branch, during the two years prior to starting my internship.”  

 What interests you most about the work you did? 

“What interested me most about my work was the level to which I had to work with several different departments at once to complete my tasks. My most important tasks were writing requests for proposals for a consultant on the town’s climate action plan and for a transportation and multimodal study of the town center. I have also had the opportunity to sit in on meetings with the town manager, including a meeting with the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, and other public officials to discuss plans to expand the UMass Medical School’s use of land in the town center.”  

Thomas Pitney ’24Who was your fellowship mentor and how did they help you to succeed in this position?  

“My fellowship mentor was Leslie Wingard, professor of English, and she helped me succeed in this position by creating thought-provoking reflection prompts that really made me think about the impact of my internship. In addition, Professor Wingard did a terrific job communicating with me and she was always there to help me if I ever ran into an issue during my internship.”

What are some skills you’ve learned that you see yourself carrying forward in your career?

“Throughout my internship, I was tasked with several projects that required me to research best government practices, which has allowed me to refine my research skills beyond the world of academics. Furthermore, I have learned how to facilitate an effective and productive meeting in a work environment, a skill which will be greatly beneficial in the future.”

How has the internship helped you to see what’s next for you?   

“My internship has not changed my thoughts about my career plans, as I am still open-minded about my future. Next summer, I plan on pursuing a unique experience that will allow me to examine a different career path. This internship has made me realize that many of the most essential functions of government are decided by everyday administrators and that like elected officials, administrators must navigate political forces effectively as elected officials to be successful.”  

Posted in Experiential Learning, Showcase Stories on August 15, 2022.

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Related Areas of Study

Political Science

The study of power, with concentrations in U.S. politics, international relations, political theory and comparative politics.

Major Minor

French & Francophone Studies

French language, literature and culture with study abroad and outside-the-classroom immersion opportunites

Major Minor

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