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Raymond Weiss

8245

Bold Points

66x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hello and thank you for visiting my profile. I am a current MPA graduate student. I am also a diligent public servant, a loving husband, a good son and brother, and an active community member. In late 2023, my wife and I lost our son. This loss has spurred me to continue my educational journey. I admit I am never fully busy enough to put this tragedy out of my mind but working for New York State while continuing my education provides me with opportunities to grow and heal while connecting with my community. One of my goals in life is to be a better advocate for victims of intimate partner abuse. When my family experienced such a tragedy, we were met with uncaring, cold, distant public servants who blatantly told us that the department's win record was more important than justice. The people I love, the people you love, and the people in our community deserve better. My life motto has always been "work harder." Two simple words have driven me through the toughest challenges of my life so far. Through family tragedy or personal lows, I am not content with the status-quo. I am determined to look for opportunities to improve myself. Education is central to this goal, and I know I will be a life-long learner.

Education

SUNY Empire State College

Master's degree program
2024 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Public Administration

Albany Law School

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2021 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Law

SUNY at Albany

Master's degree program
2016 - 2018
  • Majors:
    • Education, General

SUNY at Albany

Master's degree program
2013 - 2014
  • Majors:
    • Economics

SUNY at Albany

Bachelor's degree program
2010 - 2013
  • Majors:
    • Economics

SUNY at Albany

Bachelor's degree program
2010 - 2013
  • Majors:
    • Music

Bethlehem Central Senior High School

High School
2006 - 2010

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Law
    • Education, General
    • Psychology, General
    • Economics
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Law Practice

    • Dream career goals:

      Judge

    • Band/Orchestra Manager - Student Assistant

      SUNY at Albany
      2011 – 20143 years
    • Dietary Aide

      Good Samaritan Nursing Home
      2009 – 20167 years
    • Teller

      Trustco Bank
      2014 – 20162 years
    • Employee Relations Assistant

      New York State Governor's Office of Employee Relations
      2016 – Present8 years

    Sports

    Ultimate Frisbee

    Club
    2008 – 20102 years

    Research

    • Music

      International Music Score Library Project — Freelance Editor
      2012 – 2015

    Arts

    • University at Albany Band

      Music
      2011 – 2014
    • University at Albany Community Symphony Orchestra

      Performance Art
      2010 – 2017

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Delmar Community Orchestra — Member
      2010 – 2011

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Nintendo Super Fan Scholarship
    While I was not yet born when Super Mario Bros. was released in America, my parents were big fans of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Mario Bros. in particular. When I was old enough to hold the controller I would play on the NES with my parents, often playing Super Mario Bros. For years, even as newer systems were released and more impressive video games landed on these new systems, the NES remained in our household and was frequently played. Decisions about who would do the dishes or take out the trash were sometimes decided by who could clear a hard level of Super Mario Bros. I eventually moved out, and I took our original NES with me (after buying a replacement for my parents’ enjoyment). In college, my best friend and I would sometimes speed run the game as fast as we could just to kill a free night. I showed the original NES games, including Super Mario Bros., to the woman who would become my wife and we had many fun-filled nights listening to the same 8-bit music on repeat while clearing levels as Mario and Luigi. I was always looking forward to sharing these moments with children of my own, the same way that my parents had done for me. Last year, it looked like that would be reality as we received news that my son was due at the end of the year. I was looking forward to watching him grow and sharing with him a fun passion that had been shared with me. Unfortunately, our son passed away. After returning home from the hospital, nothing felt quite right. There was a large hole in my heart where hope once was. I cannot say that playing Super Mario Bros. again healed any part of this loss. However, when my best friend came by to see how we were doing, it felt right to speed-run Super Mario Bros. again. My wife watched on as two friends took on the roles of Mario and Luigi and saved Princess Toadstool from Bowser one more time. While everyone was cheering as the King of the Koopas fell into the lava, there was a moment of both hope and comfort. For all these reasons, Super Mario Bros. holds a special place in my heart as a game that has been with me from my earliest memories to my latest tragedy and has provided fun, hope, and comfort to me and my family through more than thirty years.
    Patrick Stanley Memorial Scholarship
    I began my academic career as a traditional student. After graduating high school in 2010, I was accepted to the University at Albany. While there I discovered a love for learning that had not existed in high school. In three years I finished both of my bachelor's degrees, and applied for the master's program in economics. In 2014, I completed my first graduate degree. I started working for New York State in 2016. I was interested in public service because I believe that I can make a positive change in state government that will benefit everyone in New York, even if it is only a small benefit. In order to expand my abilities and get involved in more government processes I reapplied to the University at Albany in 2016 for their graduate program in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology. While still working for the state I completed my second graduate program and started working on more programs at the state. I met my fiancée shortly after completing my second graduate degree, and when we decided to get married and start planning a future and family together I knew that I had to push myself even further. I applied to the two-year accelerated JD program at Albany Law School and was accepted in 2020. This program has already opened doors for me in state government, and I am excited to pursue more opportunities when I complete the program this year. I will likely never be satisfied with myself at any stage of life. My commitment to public service will always drive me to learn new things, pursue new opportunities, and educate myself further in areas that will help me better provide for the state. My dedication to my family means that I will always be looking to improve myself and assist them through any hardship we may face together. Because of this, I will not be ending my academic journey upon completion of my JD. I have already begun my research into other graduate and post-graduate opportunities. I am interested in pursuing a doctorate degree in education, workforce development, or state and local government. I am also interested in pursuing further legal studies at Albany Law School through their LLM programs. Education is the key to making positive changes in this world, and I believe that the more I learn the better I can be as a public servant, community member, and family member.
    Better Food, Better World Scholarship
    I feel like we’ve lost touch with our environment. So many people are content to stay indoors staring at screens, eating synthetic foods and forgetting about the great outdoors. I believe that we cannot be allowed to forget where we come from, where our food comes from, and how we can provide not only for ourselves but also for all those who will come after us. Not so long ago I saw a post from a prominent local political figure near my hometown. The post was a picture from an airplane looking out at the local scenery. Instead of being an environmentally conscious post, the figure was complaining about how environmentalists “overlook all the available land ready for development.” He commented about how he hears about climate change and pollution but looking out from his plane’s window all he could see was a clean landscape. When I commented to inform him that anything looks beautiful from several thousand feet in the air, and that we should do whatever we can to protect the environment wherever we can, I was blocked from the page. He subsequently posted about how “environmentalists” were fear-mongering and trying to destroy industry. Similarly, there was another politician on social media who also posted a picture of farmland from a bird’s eye view. The caption? “I have no idea why the land looks like this.” This person crafts laws and lobbies for changes that have a real impact on the way we live our every day lives. To see a complete lack of knowledge was more than a little concerning. The lack of awareness is disturbing. There are no words that can accurately capture my concern for the future of our environment, for our food sources, for our natural way of life. In my community I try my best to support local efforts to better protect the environment. From supporting local farmers to volunteering with conservation agencies and donating to conservation efforts when I can, I try to make every effort to ensure that the benefits of a natural and sustainable life that have been given to me are provided to my children and future generations. It is important to me that I make these kinds of efforts because there seems to be a severe lack of understanding and appreciation for all things beautiful and natural in our world. With efforts from individuals and a push for better education and awareness, I’m confident that the future of natural food and the natural wonder of our world is a bright future.
    Carlynn's Comic Scholarship
    When I was growing up the comic that inspired me the most was the Superman comics: Action Comics. Superman embodied everything I wanted to be as I matured into an adult. He was smart, strong, loyal, dedicated, a good friend, a good family member, and someone who made a positive impact on people’s lives. Unlike other superheroes, like Spider-Man or Batman, Superman was always viewed by people as an upstanding citizen and never bent his moral code in order to accomplish his goals. In my life now I try my best to live up to the ideals Superman always stood for. While I will never fly around Metropolis or lift buildings with ease, I can be the best version of myself I can be. Through being a caring, hard-working and dedicated person, I can do my best to be a superman of sorts to my family and community.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    I probably would never have gone to college had it not been for my high school English teacher, Mrs. Cohen. Leading up to my junior year of high school I was, at best, a straight C student. I was disconnected from my classes. Nothing seemed interesting or important. Beyond just being disconnected from my schoolwork, I was isolated from my peers. I had almost no friends throughout middle and high school, and the ones that I did have turned out to be poor friends. I faced bullying from my peers and occasionally found myself involved in fights. In my junior year of high school, I discovered that my friend group at lunch was spreading rumors about me and had stolen items from my backpack and locker. I no longer felt comfortable sitting in lunch period. Mrs. Cohen, with whom I had formed an initial bond with, offered to let me sit in with her during her planning period rather than face lunch alone and ostracized. She used her free time to make me feel seen and respected in school. For the first time, I felt that I had a friend with whom I could talk to about anything and someone who would help me if I needed it. Mrs. Cohen single-handedly turned my grades around. She made me see the bigger picture of education. With her help, junior and senior years of high school were my most successful academic years since the first or second grade. She cultivated my interests in writing and technology and did everything she could to encourage me to pay attention and do well in school. Because of Mrs. Cohen I pulled my grades up enough to be considered for SUNY Albany. I was waitlisted from the school and the months between receiving that letter and receiving my acceptance letter were among the most anxious months I had ever experienced. I finally attended and graduated with honors, later pursuing two master’s degrees from the school. Before meeting Mrs. Cohen my trajectory was at best finishing high school and not pursuing college and at worst dropping out of high school altogether. My life would have turned out completely different had I had received her friendship, support, and mentorship at a time when I needed it the most. I would not have ended up where I am today without her, and she will always be a superhero to me.
    Breanden Beneschott Fire Memes Scholarship
    Zoom meetings had their perks!
    Austin Kramer Music-Maker Scholarship
    Lost in the Woods is a piece built upon several simple concepts. The first, and most important concept, is the concept of feeling "lost". This concept means something different to everyone. It could be taken as literally losing one's own sense of direction. It could also be the sense of losing one's sense of self or sense of center. By placing the setting of the piece in New York City, a bustling center of human activity, I hope to generate both an uneasy feeling of being lost in a familiar setting and a feeling of community, that perhaps some of the passersby are experiencing exactly what the listener is experiencing while listening to the piece.
    Art of Giving Scholarship
    I have uprooted everything in my life to pursue my current academic path. I have had to make difficult financial decisions and put on hold many of the goals I had for myself. In pursuing a law degree, I have had to compromise stability for the ability to study at Albany Law. I know that I am on the right path and winning this scholarship will mean more opportunities to be involved in my community and less stress weighing me down as I pursue this career. Law is my passion because I have seen firsthand how unjust the system can be. Where I expected professional advocates I and my family were met with cold hammers looking to force a square peg into a round hole. All that mattered to these individuals was a win, my family and our needs be damned. When we needed representation, we were told that our counselors did not represent us but rather they represented their office. A loss would look bad for the office. I need to provide my community with better representation than that. Everyone deserves to have caring, personal representation. A lawyer should be an advocate for their client, not a robot focused on a win rate. In trying to make myself into this kind of lawyer, I have had to put aside my job, my stability, and the stability of my fiancée and family as well. I have had to rely and lean on my friends and family more so than ever before. Winning this scholarship would not just be a huge opportunity for me to get more involved and worry less about the future, but also aid my friends and family who have ardently supported me through this difficult process. Winning would be no small deal for me and my loved ones and it would not be soon forgotten.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    Without the pandemic, my life would still be heading in a predictable, safe, and comfortable direction. Prior to March 2020, I was working a steady job with New York State and no real motivation to make any changes with my life. Once the pandemic hit, we were directed to work from home. Perhaps it was sitting on the couch all day every day that led me to the conclusion that it was time for a change. I studied for the LSAT and applied to Albany Law. I was accepted into their two year accelerated program. At the same time, I moved away from home and I proposed to my long-term girlfriend. Without the pandemic, I doubt I would have made these positive changes in my life. Where I was once set to run on the same treadmill year after year I am now moving forward in every aspect of my life. If the pandemic had never happened, I would not have been motivated to make a positive change for both my life and, hopefully, the lives of others.
    Advocates and Allies in Law Scholarship
    The reason I applied to law school is that I was deeply disappointed with the lawyers I witnessed first-hand. Far from being advocates for my family member, these professionals were cold, uncaring, and had a “win at any cost” mentality that sickened me. Rather than view my family as people in need of caring representation they looked at us as yet another case in their docket, a case which they could hopefully wrap up quickly and add another “W” in their records. We needed someone to help represent our family after a tragedy. What we got was a quote that I will not soon forget: “We don’t represent you. We represent our office.” Flash-forward a couple of years and the pandemic has hit America. While I have enjoyed working for New York State in my capacity, I felt that I could do more. I needed to feel that I could help others with a more “face-to-face” approach than my current position allows me to do. Echoes of the court case still lingered with me, and I decided that if the lawyers that “represented” us could be successful lawyers, than perhaps I could do well in law school and actually represent people the way they so desperately need. I took the time to study for the LSATs, apply to Albany Law, and I was accepted. My current path has not been easy. The ABA places restrictions on individuals and how much they can work while attending law school. While Albany Law has been more than generous the financial aid I receive does not cover all of my expenses related to school, to say nothing of the cost of living such as rent and food. I am one of the few students at the school who is both pursuing a degree and working part time. I have had to pass on extra-curricular activities and internships that my peers have access to. I have had to make tough financial decisions. If it weren’t for my supportive friends, family, and fiancée, I would have dropped out after the first semester and returned to the state full-time. All of this is in pursuit of something more important than myself or my career choice. There are plenty of caring, empathetic individuals who are practicing law right now across the country. However, I feel like there are simply not enough. I am striving to become someone that others can turn to in their moment of need and someone that people can trust to both do my job well and treat them like people. Everyone needs more than a suit and a degree representing them in court. They need a trusted advisor, a caring advocate, and even a close friend who they know has their best interests and only their best interests in mind.