Public policy student represents University at national level
Representing thousands of peers is no easy job. Just ask Andy Dessel, of Chambersburg, Pa., a senior public policy major and communications minor at Penn State Harrisburg. Dessel was selected to participate in the 2012-13 Presidential Fellows Program – a position open to only one student throughout Penn State each year. And though it was a tough job with deadlines, heavy workloads, and personal responsibility, Dessel stressed that the program’s benefits made it well worth the effort.
The Washington, D.C.-based Presidential Fellows Program, operated by the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress (CSPC), invites students from colleges and universities across the country to participate in study of the U.S. Presidency; the President’s relations with Congress, the media, and the public; and the public policymaking process. Since the program’s creation in 1970, just over 1,000 students have participated.
“It’s an honor being part of this program and representing Penn State,” said Dessel. “When I am there, I am the one voice for The Pennsylvania State University, representing thousands of students.”
As a participant, Dessel attended two three-day policy workshops in Washington, D.C., networked and interacted with other Fellows and national leaders, and completed a 30-page research paper to compete for future publication in the program’s yearly anthology, The Fellows Review. Andy’s research examines the influence of social media on presidential elections, a topic that combines his interests and studies in both politics and communications.
“Overall, it is a great program,” Dessel said. “You get to meet a lot of interesting people who are in the jobs now, and the students who will be in those jobs in the future. I would recommend it for other students interested in public affairs, or even communications within the public affairs or political environment.”
The Presidential Fellows Program held its Spring Leadership Conference March 21-23. There, Dessel and the other Fellows met in break-out sessions to discuss their research and attended the CSPC Annual Awards Dinner.
The University recognized Dessel on April 7, presenting him with a Presidential Fellows plaque at the annual Penn State Student Awards Ceremony held at University Park. He also received the USA Today Student Leadership Award, a University-wide award presented to “a student who has made valuable contributions in the areas of service and volunteerism to the Penn State community and its surrounding areas.”
Dessel is a Penn State Schreyer Honors scholar and a student representative on the University Senate. He holds leadership positions with several Penn State Harrisburg organizations and volunteers regularly in the community.