Nicole Toney ’23

Office of New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera, New York, NY

This summer, I worked as a community aide intern in the office of New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera. I worked out of the district office within District 2 of New York City, where constituents are welcome to come and talk to us about any complaints or concerns they have.

Nicole Toney at work.Most of my work was resolving constituent complaints, which involved calling or emailing constituents asking for more information and then following up with city agencies to see if there was anything we could do to help. Complaints ranged from housing repair needs, noise complaints and rat issues to complaints about cyclists and abandoned dining sheds that first popped on the streets in Manhattan to expand outdoor seating during the pandemic. I was also tasked with working on a rooftop complaint project, which involved compiling all of the complaints regarding rooftop disturbances—such as late parties and noise—and contacting those constituents, letting them know of any updates on our end and contacting their property managers sharing their concerns on their behalf. Since we were at the office within the district, we were often able to walk out to specific areas of concern and examine them ourselves to be able to advocate even better for our constituents and learn more about the complaint. I was also able to go to an apartment complex with a supervisor and some other interns to take constituent concerns in person, which was a great experience. Constituents were often very thankful that someone was looking into their concerns, and it felt good to be able to close their cases and know that their issue was resolved.

This experience definitely impacted my future career path. I knew that I was interested in public service and social justice, and I was able to learn about advocacy from a political lens, which was helpful because I have thought about going into the political sphere as well. I enjoyed working in public service, and I am eager to learn more about different career paths. In the future, I would like to look into advocacy from a purely legal perspective, but now I know that politics is also another option. Post-graduation I would like to go back to New York because I think that it is the perfect place to learn all about politics and public service. Working with constituents this summer, there was a unique complaint for every New Yorker and each case taught me something.

I would like to thank the Estate of George Mead and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for the opportunity to work in New York and take advantage of this internship experience. With their support, I was able to have an incredibly interesting and fulfilling experience learning about politics and public service.