Our Capitol Pathways internship program continues through this 2021 legislative session, 100% virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about our students’ experiences this year, we asked a few interns from the cohort some questions for our Student Spotlight. This time, we highlight Jessie Luévano.
Jessie is a junior studying political science and global studies, with a minor in history, at Hamline University. During the 2021 legislative session, her Capitol Pathways internship is with the Minnesota Budget Project. She has found a passion for public policy and immigration, shown by her internships at the International Institute of Minnesota as a citizenship services intern, and with Saint Paul Ward 2 City Councilmember Rebecca Noecker as a research intern. It is one of her fundamental beliefs that governance requires compassion, and while she is not sure where her career will take her, she knows she wants to work in government as a public servant one day.
In addition to her involvement in St. Paul, she is also an active participant in the Hamline community. She is President of IGNITE (a non-partisan group working to get women and non-binary people into politics), Co-President of Hamline’s Model UN team, Economic Affairs chair for Student Congress, and the philanthropy chair for the Residential Housing Association. When she’s not working or studying, you can find her tending to plants in her community garden plot.
Read on to learn more about Jessie in our Q&A.
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What did you hope to achieve by participating in Capitol Pathways?
Going into this internship, one of my main goals was to get a better understanding of the Minnesota Legislature. In my formal political science education, I feel like there has been a gap in regards to education about local and state politics. This is unfortunate because it’s really through my Capitol Pathways experience that I have seen how important the work that is done on a state level is for day to day life.
What has been challenging about participating in a virtual internship experience? What has been going well?
For me, one of the most challenging aspects of a virtual internship has been not always feeling directly connected to the Capitol. Sadly, there are no marble structures or large conference rooms in my house. Luckily, one of the positive aspects of a virtual internship is that it makes the experience a lot more manageable for a college student. There is no transit time, and that’s amazing because it allows me to go directly from class straight into my internship.
How has Capitol Pathways affected your career aspirations?
Capitol Pathways has definitely impacted my career aspirations in the fact that I am now considering running for office one day. For a long time, it felt like I didn’t see people who looked like me or believed the same things I did occupy elected positions. After watching committee hearings (while there is always work to be done in regards to diversity) I was pleasantly surprised. I also now feel like I have more insight as to what state representatives and senators do on a day to day, which is something that interests me and I would have never known otherwise.