The Hudson River Valley Institute

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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Meet the Intern: Ben Smith


Ben Smith is a senior at Marist College studying History and Adolescent Education. Prior to attending Marist College, Ben attended Highland High School as well as Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. A lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, Ben’s passion for history stemmed from a very early age and has only grown as time has passed. He has always been impressed with the amount of history that the area has to offer and is always looking to learn more about the people and events that have helped shape the Hudson Valley as it exists today. One of the most memorable experiences he has is seeing Pete Seeger speak and perform at Highland High School to teach the students about the Hudson River. Ben feels that as someone who would like to become a history teacher, he lives in the perfect area and is extremely excited to be able to teach his future students about the Hudson Valley whether it be locally or somewhere far away.

In his free time, Ben enjoys staying active and in shape. He works at Mike Arteaga’s Health & Fitness Centers located directly across from the college and can be found there exercising regularly. In the warmer months, he likes to hike Minnewaska and Mohonk located in New Paltz and is always looking for new places to explore in the area. At his previous college, Ben played lacrosse at the collegiate level and continues to coach the sport to his former high school during the winter and spring months. Ben is also an avid Dallas Cowboy fan, however painful that tends to be. Ben is also the Secretary for the Marist chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He has been fortunate enough to travel to New Mexico to help build an adobe house and will be headed to Florida in March, 2015 to help build more homes for those in need. When he isn’t moving around, he enjoys relaxing at home with his girlfriend Cailen and her two dogs and binge watching Netflix.

In the future, Ben would like to be a teacher at the 7-12 grade level, with an eye towards potentially teaching college. He would like to attain a Master’s Degree in Administration and one day enter a doctoral program. Although he very much enjoys living in the Hudson Valley, he admits that he is open to traveling anywhere in the country or the world as long as it is in pursuit of something that interests him. His main goal is to be able to impact his future students or colleagues lives positively in whatever field he is working and to ultimately enjoy life wherever it leads him.

Meet the Intern: Ed Hughes


Hi. My name is Ed Hughes.  I am a Senior Adult Student here at Marist seeking a BA in Liberal Studies, with concentrations in History, Public History, and Communications. This is my first semester interning with the Hudson River Valley Institute.

                I grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey which is located between Trenton and Princeton.  An area rich in history, which inspired in me an interest in the American Revolution.  I also enjoyed performing in local and regional theater growing up I obtained my High School diploma from George School, a Quaker Friends School in Newtown, Pennsylvania in 1990. I went on to study for a year at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.  I then started an internship at a New York City radio station which led to a full time position, so I decided to put my college career on hold.  Since then I have mostly been involved in aerial broadcasting, reporting and filming breaking news onboard news helicopters.  I got married in 2008.  My wife Meg and I have two beautiful sons, Crosby and Bennett, named after Bing Crosby and Tony Bennett.  We live in Monroe, NY.

                After twenty-five years working in the radio and television news industry in NYC and Philly, I have decided to finally go back to school and get my degree.  Living in the Hudson River Valley has taught me how diverse an area it is, and of course how historic it is.  I consider myself very lucky to be able to study history with such an outstanding faculty in the History Department at Marist. I hope to redirect my career towards writing and filming historical documentaries, or working at museums as a public historian. Combining my experience in television, film, and photography, I hope to maintain a channel on YouTube that offers historical lectures, films, and archives from around the entire Hudson River Valley, working in conjunction with HRVI and the different county historians. I hope to give access to the general public that increases awareness and the overall enjoyment of the history of this great river and region.

Meet the Intern: Dan McHale

danmchale           My name is Daniel McHale, and I am currently a senior at Marist College. I attended and graduated from Marlboro Central High School in Marlboro, N.Y. After which, I matriculated to Marist College in the Fall of 2012 to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. This is my first time interning at the Hudson River Valley Institute, but I’m excited to study the long and great history of the Hudson River Valley, and the changing nature of criminal justice in the Hudson River Valley’s history. I have previously interned at the Law Office of Paul Brite in Newburgh, N.Y. There I worked on several different legal cases involving the fields of civil and criminal law. At Marist College, my coursework has focused on criminology, constitutional law, the theories of criminal punishment, and New York State Penal Law and Criminal Procedure.

I was born and raised in the Hudson River Valley and have lived here for the majority of my life. I have a deep interest in the culture of the Valley, and the importance that it has played in the growth and development of the United States. As an adolescent, I was actively involved in service to my community as a Boy Scout, finishing as an Eagle Scout before graduating high school. After graduating high school, I joined the United States Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. I am currently a member of the Marist ROTC detachment, part of the Fordham University Ram Battalion, which oversees the training of all ROTC cadets in New York City and the lower New York State region. I’ve held multiple leadership positions as a cadet in the ROTC program, and have had the great opportunity to travel around the United States to attend additional leadership training during academic breaks. While studying criminal justice at Marist, I’ve had a particular interest studying and researching the evolving aspects of cybercrime, cyber terrorism, and internet security. I’ve previously been a member of the Marist Ski team, and I enjoy attending the many events that Marist College offers to its student body.

Upon graduation in May of 2015, I will be commissioning in the United States Army as an active duty aviation officer and attending the U.S. Army Flight School in Fort Rucker, Alabama. I am following in the footsteps of my older brother, who is currently an active duty Army aviation officer, and my father who is a retired Army aviation officer. I hope to pursue my career with the United States Army and aviation as long and as far as possible. Upon my completion of my military career, I would like to one day return to the field of criminal justice and attend law school. I am excited to be graduating and starting my career in a few short months, and I am looking forward to all the adventures that the years ahead of me will bring.

Meet the Intern: Michelle Copti

Copti Photo

My name is Michelle Copti; I am a senior at Marist College entering into my first internship experience at the Hudson River Valley Institute. I attended Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township, New Jersey before being accepted and making the right decision to further my education at Marist College. I have had my own unique journey through Marist that has truly helped shape my passions today. I started my first one and a half years majoring in Psychology and Special Education and then I decided that I was more interested in the field of Psychology which led me to change my major during the second semester of my sophomore year. Having dedicated and knowledgeable professors in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences has only solidified my decision.

 In preparation for graduation, I was fortunate enough to take American Military History with Colonel Johnson during the fall 2014 semester. During my semester I was able to take on a leadership role as the class editor, learn about the all branches of service along with different wars starting from the Civil War to present day Iraqi Freedom, and I specifically learned more about the Hudson River Valley. One particular day, on a field trip, sparked my interest to learn more about the Hudson River Valley but to also learn more from Colonel Johnson. Colonel took our class to Fort Montgomery. On this field trip Colonel and one of the experts took us along many trails stopping along the way to tell us more about the Hudson River Valley and why it was and still is so important. One of the biggest reasons why I took so much from this field trip was because I was able to get my feet wet and learn in a different environment about the beautiful Hudson River Valley that I call my second home.

Growing up in Bergen County, New Jersey I witnessed many beautiful and historic places. Now being a Marist College student and on my way to graduation makes me realize how historic and absolutely breathtaking the Hudson River Valley is. The many hikes, historical houses, the sparkling Hudson River and the United States Military Academy are only glimpses into the mystery and beauty that New York State has. It has been such a privilege to explore and learn more about what is in my own backyard. It is definitely essential to make the most of your time in the Hudson River Valley because it is one place that you will never forget. This semester I am currently interning at the Center of Enhanced Performance at the United States Military Academy in the field of Sports Psychology. I am working alongside doctors and experts in the field both civilian and military who work with cadets to help them understand how thoughts and emotions interact with anatomy and physiology to dramatically affect human performance.

Upon graduation from Marist College, I will be getting married to a United States Military Academy Class of 2013 graduate and moving to Oahu, Hawaii to explore what this beautiful state has to offer. I am currently developing my passion for photography into a small business, so that I can capture someone’s special moments so that they can cherish them for a lifetime. I am also in the hopes of furthering my education by receiving my graduate degree in either Social Work with a concentration in Families and Children with a sub-concentration in Military Psychology or Sports Psychology.