Allegheny College senior Heather Bosau, of Mentor, Ohio, has been awarded a Pennsylvania House Legislative Fellowship for 13 weeks beginning in late January 2017. Allegheny students have been selected for three consecutive years for the highly competitive fellowship program, which puts students in the offices of committee chairmen or other leaders in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Established in 1982 by the Pennsylvania House’s Bipartisan Management Committee, the program gives fellows an intimate look into the daily workings of government, allowing them to attend hearings, committee meetings and the legislative session, as well as conduct research and draft bill analyses. As a final project, each fellow will research and then draft a piece of legislation to present to the House.
“I have heard nothing but good things about this opportunity and the in-depth look it provides to the functioning of the law,” says Bosau, an English major with a self-designed minor in social justice and legal studies. “I hope to gain a better understanding of the processes of our state government as well as a more developed perspective regarding the development and codification of state law.”
After graduation, Bosau intends to attend law school and then begin her career as a public defender. She hopes to shift eventually into policy work and prison reform. The Pennsylvania House fellowship complements Bosau’s career goals — since the start of the program, over 35 percent of participants have found employment in government.
Patrick Jackson, a visiting professor of history and religious studies, advises Allegheny students like Bosau who are applying for competitive awards and fellowships. “This fellowship gives participants unparalleled access to the inner workings of state-level government,” he says. “Fellows get to see the give-and-take, or lack thereof, that either helps government to work or keeps it mired in partisan bickering. There’s great value in seeing how the government actually works.”
Bosau will bring a wide range of internship, research and leadership experience to her fellowship. She has spent the past three semesters interning at the Crawford County Public Defender’s Office. Bosau has also interned at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York, conducted summer research through the English and political science departments, served as president of both the Pre-Law Club and the Allegheny College chapter of Amnesty International, and is a fellow with the college’s Center for Political Participation. In addition, she has been awarded the Sara Homer Junior Major Prize from the English department and the Walter Jacobson Essay Prize from the political science department.
“Heather has been preparing to apply for this fellowship for more than a year, carefully picking her courses and pursuing internships that have helped make her an attractive candidate,” Jackson says. “She’s interested in a career in law, and this experience will no doubt inform the way she approaches her future work.”