Pennsylvania House Democratic Appropriations Committee
Up one level
Ryan Setzenfand

Liberal Arts Major: Political Science
Other Major: Accounting
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Summer 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

I worked with Chairman Matthew Bradford’s Democratic Appropriations Committee developing analysis, materials, and data visualizations on the record $45+ billion state budget and other bills. I wrote 4 original bills on education, insurance, the Auditor General’s subpoena authority & health care oversight, and public assistance and 3 amendments on agriculture. I presented my public assistance bill in the Majority Caucus Room of the House of Representatives and am now coordinating introduction of my legislation by Representatives. I met with Governor Wolf, Speaker Cutler, Senator Argall, Auditor General DeFoor and Deputy Auditor Generals, and interviewed Representatives Freeman, Quinn, Zabel, and DelRosso.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience provided the real-world basis for classroom concepts, along with the ability to see how theory does (and does not) line up with practice. Now returning to the classroom, I have such a unique perspective having been in "the room where it happened" and seen "how the sausage gets made" to contribute to discussions, ask questions with my experience in mind, and support the overall learning environment.

"This experience provided the real-world basis for classroom concepts, along with the ability to see how theory does (and does not) line up with practice."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

I’ve long been interested in government and public service, but was unsure where I could fit it best with my unique background and if I would enjoy it as much as I hoped. The experience showed me first-hand the positive impact I could have on people through public policy and how public service is a rewarding viable career option.  This in-person experience allowed me to build the supportive professional network empowering me to pursue my ideal career using both of my academic disciplines and service at its heart. 

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The College of Liberal Arts offered the critical funding support I needed in order to afford and be able to pursue this once in a lifetime opportunity. My classes provided the basic foundational context for me to be able to support my team, ask thought provoking questions, and understand the role that individuals, coalitions, and the institution play in the process of shaping public policy. While practice certainly varies from the textbooks, thereby making the Fellowship all the more incredible of a learning experience, the College of Liberal Arts and my political science professors prepared me well for success.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program in conjunction with Schreyer offered a breeding ground for broad based intellectual curiosity that would serve me well in my Fellowship. Learning for the sake of learning, building a more global and diverse perspective, and being an ethical leader with civic engagement top of mind were critical pieces that made me a far more effective public servant as I crafted policy, developed analysis, and thought critically in an open-ended environment.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
Return to Top