ATLANTA – Alex Domaleski, a master’s candidate in criminal justice, is making an impact in Georgia county government. She credits internships acquired through various Georgia State University college-to-career channels as a big reason.
Domaleski began a full-time job at Fayette County’s Environmental Management department as a project analyst in November 2019. She assists project managers with policy and financial research and analysis, especially for special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) projects. She also helps with issues pertaining to environmental rules and regulations, which her department manages.
A graduate internship with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), which Domaleski found through the AYS Career Services partnership with the Handshake website, was instrumental in preparing her for a career handling issues affecting counties. At ACCG during the fall of 2019, she collected data from each of the state’s 159 counties for a project in which counties can collect a percentage of ticket and citations for their jail funds. She also contacted county representatives to help form committees supporting the 2020 Census.
“At ACCG, I realized that Georgia is more rural than Atlantans often perceive,” said Domaleski. “I also learned that citizens have a negative perception of government communications: they complain about slow processes, and what they see as burdensome rules and regulations, which are actually meant to protect them. It was an eye-opening experience.
“I learned then to communicate with people by being present in the moment and really listening, rather than responding by rote,” she said. “It’s okay to tell people that you’ll get back to them after you’ve researched the issue. People appreciate that someone cares. When a caller takes the time to say how much they appreciate me, it goes a long way in inspiring me.”
As an undergraduate, she interned at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
Domaleski, who also serves as secretary on the AYS Graduate Student Association for Criminal Justice’s executive board, cites her student and intern experiences as influential in her career. She recommends all students pursue internships as a way to get broad experience in their chosen field.
“I felt very supported by the Andrew Young School during my internships,” she said. “Career counselors were always available, and often professors went above and beyond to help and counsel me.”
In particular, Domaleski credits as her mentors Michael Shapiro, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, for whom she is a teaching assistant, Joshua Hinkle, an associate professor in the same department and former instructor Susannah Tapp (Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology ’18). “These professors helped give me a good foundation to navigate the adult world,” she said.
Domaleski will graduate this summer.
“My internships have taught me great career and life skills, including the need for punctuality, accountability and proactivity. I’ve learned not to be afraid to ask questions, and that you’ll find people who want to help you. Every student should know about the great internship opportunities and resources at the Andrew Young School.”
Story by Alison Tyrer