The Benjamin Center, independently and in collaboration with local governments, business and not-for-profits in the Hudson Valley, conducts studies on topics of regional interest; brings visibility and focus to these matters; fosters communities working together to better serve citizenry; and advances the public interest in our region.


Intern Work Stations

The Benjamin Center designs, conducts, manages and produces studies on regional issues or concerns, such as:
  • Local government reform and restructuring
  • Regional approaches to economic development
  • Regional delivery of local public services
  • Land use planning and environmental policy
  • Intergovernmental collaboration
  • Local public finance
  • Performance of local governments in key areas of policy and administration, in relationship to best practices
  • Needs assessment for regional governments and not-for-profits
  • Performance assessment of state and local public programs and agencies

Current Interns

Leah Mancini

Leah is a sophomore majoring in psychology, with a minor in German studies. She hopes to use her knowledge of psychology to become a researcher after completing her undergraduate education. She holds specific interests in the areas of cognitive science, and institutional research. She is also a member of the New Paltz Extreme Croquet Society.


Michael Tingey

Michael is a senior at SUNY New Paltz, majoring in computer science. He received his Associate of Science degree in computer science at SUNY Broome Community College in 2015, where he was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. During his free time, he enjoys hiking, coding, and traveling. After graduation, Michael plans to eventually earn his Ph.D. in computer science with regards to artificial intelligence.


Timothy Toomey

Tim is currently a senior majoring in political science. Previously, he worked in the campus office of Veteran & Military Services, where he assisted incoming veterans, service members, and dependents with enrollment. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and hanging out with friends and family. Upon graduation, Tim hopes to enroll in law school.  


Past Interns

Anthony Albanese

Anthony is a junior at New Paltz majoring in sociology with minors in philosophy and religious Studies. He is a member of the Honors Program and the project leader for NYPIRG's Higher Education chapter. In his free time he cooks, drums, raps, and plays ultimate Frisbee. After finishing college he plans on attending graduate school for either sociology or religious studies.


Layla Alqaisi

Layla was a political science major with a concentration in comparative politics and a minor in international relations. While at New Paltz, she was a member of the political science honors society Pi Sigma Alpha. She hopes to practice international law in the future.


Emily Bonnabeau

Emily is a senior at SUNY New Paltz double majoring in Sociology and Black Studies with a concentration in Criminology and a minor in Political Science. After graduating, she would like to attend graduate school to study social policy and research. She is currently a tutor at the Highland Residential Center. Her academic interests include mass incarceration and income inequality. She has been to Ghana and Italy, and hopes to travel to as many countries as she can in her lifetime.


Jake E. Carias

Jake earned his bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in international relations from New Paltz. Jake studied abroad for a semester in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was regularly found listening to Brazilian funk and pop music in the office. He plans to continue studying urban sociology in both the U.S. and Brazil and eventually pursue his Ph.D. in the hopes of traveling the world and teaching sociology.


Maria Davila

Maria majored in political science with a concentration in political theory and an environmental studies minor. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is very involved in environmental community outreach. Maria plans to attend graduate school to earn her master's degree in political science.


Carling Devin

Carling graduated from New Paltz in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in political theory. She began attending the New School for Social Research in the fall of 2013 to pursue a Ph.D. in political theory, focusing on resistance movements and radical politics. In her spare time, Carling enjoys hiking in the Gunks, cooking, and reading anarchist literature. Fun fact: Carling's parents named her after beer!


Jessica Dohanyos

Jessica is a graduate student in the Adolescent Special Education Program. She is passionate about causes such as environmental conservation and fighting against cancer as well as lesser known ailments. Jessica enjoys road trips with friends, going to Broadway shows, watching TV-series, photography, and reading books, most recently comic books. She hopes to become a Speech-Language Pathologist.


Jared Flagler

Jared is a junior at New Paltz, pursuing degrees in geography and English, with a minor in environmental studies. In short he hopes to someday write eloquently about maps showing how lovely the environment is. Barring that, he might settle on mapping environments inspired by poetry. Perhaps he will become the world's first environmental poet cartographer. Perhaps not. Jared is a member of Students for Sustainable Agriculture and plans on attending graduate school to study agricultural resources. Fun fact: Jared can write until the cows come home, but is rather bad at writing about himself so he had someone else do it for him.


Brian George

Brian is a second year graduate student in New Paltz's MA in Psychology program. Formerly, he has been involved with research on the irrelevant sound effect in the Speech Language and Cognition Lab on campus, presenting findings in 2013 at the Psychonomic Society's annual conference. Hoping to pursue a career in research and analysis upon graduation, Brian looks forward to utilizing his research experience on current projects like his thesis focusing on recidivism in New York and the opportunities present at the Benjamin Center's office. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, biking, and cooking.


Sadie Godlis

Sadie was a political science major with a concentration in American government and politics. She graduated from New Paltz in May 2015. She served as a Student Senator and an organizer with New York Students Rising. She is a member of the Political Science Honors Society, Pi Sigma Alpha. In the future, Sadie hopes to pursue a career in New York City public policy and eventually in documentary film. In her free time she loves to bake anything and everything.


Janine Harris

Janine received her bachelor's degree in organizational communication in May 2010. She was a resident assistant and served as public relations officer for the Residence Hall Student Association. At the time of her graduation she was applying to graduate programs in college student personnel administration and social work, and looks forward to continue working on college campuses.


Ricardo A. Hernandez Jr

Ricardo graduated from New Paltz with a double major in journalism and political science with a concentration in international politics. Hernandez was a two-year Cetrino Scholarship winner and a member of the Honors Program. He hopes to become a foreign correspondent or pursue a career in academia. Fun Fact: Ricardo's two African Grey parrots back home speak like his parents. So when he visits home, his parrots always fool him into thinking his parents are home or calling for him.


Micaela Kayser

Micaela is a junior at New Paltz majoring in women's, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in English. She is a member of the Honors Program and plays on the New Paltz women's rugby team. She loves baking, reading, telling bad jokes, and long car rides. In the future she plans on attending graduate school and pursuing a career as a high school or college librarian.


Zachary Keck

Zachary majored in political science and minored in economics. He was a member of the Honors Program. He previously worked in the New York State Family Court System, as well as on the Campaign and in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Eric Massa. Zachary plans on continuing his studies in either National Security or Law, and hopes to pursue a career in academia or government.


Roberto M. LoBianco

Roberto graduated from New Paltz with a double major in journalism and political science with a concentration in political theory. He served as a student senator and organizer with New York Students Rising. He previously worked with the New York Public Interest Research Group at its legislative office in Albany. He hopes to continue his work in public policy research in graduate school. Fun Fact (actually, it's a rather dull fact): Roberto attends local government meetings for fun.


Brandon Lundgren

Brandon earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education with a concentration in social studies from New Paltz. Brandon loves to be in the educational environment, whether as a student or educator, and his wish is to never stop learning. Brandon is also an avid baseball fan, especially the Dodgers.


Ian Charles Miller

Ian was an economics major with minors in political science and business. He received his associate's degree from SUNY Orange in computer information systems with high honors, where he became member of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society. He received a certificate of merit for outstanding scholastic achievement in computer information systems. He has worked on projects having to do with local villages and village elections.


Caitlin O'Donnell

Caitlin majored in political science with a minor in environmental studies. She participated in the SUNY Global Engagement Program in the fall of 2014 where she interned with a global environmental non-governmental organization in New York City. Caitlin plans on attending law school where she will pursue studies to become an environmental lawyer in the interest of environmental and social justice. Caitlin has no fun facts because, in fact, they are not fun.


James O'Hara

James is a senior at SUNY New Paltz, majoring in Geography and minoring in Music. He is a member of NRHH (National Residence Hall Honorary), Volleyball Club, floor representative in Hall Government, e-board member of Recycling Club, and member/past member of the Men’s Volleyball team. He is also an assistant scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 7 in Kingston. He likes playing all kinds of sports, listening to and playing music, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with friends. After graduating from SUNY New Paltz, he plans to attend SUNY Albany to achieve a master’s degree in his field.


Charis G. Orzechowski

Charis was a political science major with a concentration in pre-law. She was a member of the political science honors society Pi Sigma Alpha. She looks forward to applying and making the transition to law school.


Will Raphaelson

Will was a senior political science major with a concentration in American government and politics. He was the 2013 Cetrino Fellowship recipient and hopes to continue on a public policy research path in graduate school. He also served on the Town of New Paltz' Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Committee and the Student Labor Coalition. Fun fact: Will loves to cook, and for two years prior to joining CRREO he worked as a chef at a local restaurant.


Joseph Russo

Joseph is currently a junior majoring in sociology with a concentration in criminology. He is also double minoring in law and in business. After finishing college he plans on attending law school. In addition to this he is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the Political Science Club, and the current president of the SUNY New Paltz Boxing Club.


Gabrielle Simard-Moore

Gabby is currently working in the Benjamin Center on the forest website, displaying research she conducted in the forest last fall for her senior research project for her bachelor's degree in environmental geochemical science. This project combines her interests in science, technology, forest ecology and design. She hopes that highlighting the importance of forests can help SUNY New Paltz and other campuses make environmentally responsible and conscientious decisions in the future. Gabby graduated with honors in May 2016 and plans to travel and visit graduate schools with programs in environmental engineering and research, focusing on water chemistry. By studying ways to enhance the water environment, she hopes to one day apply her skills on a global level, providing clean water to areas of the world that need it most.


Emily Sobel

Emily double majored in Asian studies and political science with a concentration in American government and a minor in history. She was part of the Honors Program, a member and e-board member of the Asian Student Association and Jam Asia, as well as the founder-president of the Chinese Conversation Table. Her goals are speaking Chinese, Japanese, and Korean; traveling extensively in East Asia; and working in public health policy after graduating.


Emily Vanderpool

Emily is a junior majoring in Economics and minoring in Philosophy. Her academic interests are centered around the economics of energy, environmental studies, statistics, economic development, and income inequality. She is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon and the president of the Economics Club. In her free time, she enjoys eating, cooking, hiking, and watching movies. She one day hopes to attend the London School of Economics to take advantage of her dual citizenship.


Deborah Walnicki

Deborah graduated from New Paltz with a major in sociology, with a concentration in human services and a minor in Spanish. She is an alumna of the AmeriCorps program City Year, the 2013 Cetrino Family Scholarship recipient, a member of the Honors Program, a yoga instructor on campus and the president of the Yoga Club. She spent a semester abroad in Guayaquil, Ecuador where she volunteered in a foundation tutoring inner-city youth. Fun fact: Deborah received the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence in 2014.


Danhui Wang

Danhui majored in international relations with a special interest in conflict resolution and peace building. She spent a semester at Bosphrous University in Istanbul, Turkey, as an exchange student. She was the president of Amnesty International at SUNY New Paltz and was active in various clubs and organizations on campus.


Joanne Zhao

Joanne majored in geography with an Asian studies minor. Joanne is an activist for environmental justice, social justice, the arts, minority and human rights issues and hopes to one day be an international humanitarian. She was a member and a past e-board member for Jam Asia and loves participating in community campaigns. In her free time, she likes to draw, cook, watch television,and dance.