Now in its second year, the Citizens League’s Capitol Pathways internship program was created with the understanding that, to build a strong state, Minnesota government and the people who run it must be representative of the diversity of the state.

With the long-term goal of making our government truly representative of our communities, the program seeks to open access to the Minnesota capitol to the next generation of leaders of color. Read more about the project here.

In addition to monthly socials where anyone can join us to meet members of the cohort and learn more about the program, we wanted to share the stories of students in this year’s cohort in a series of student profiles. Cohort member Antonio, a Junior at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, answered a few questions about himself, and his experiences with the program so far. Antonio is interning at the Intergovernmental Relations Department of the City of Minneapolis.

  • Tell us about yourself:

Citizens League Policy Director Pahoua Hoffman with Capitol Pathways student intern Antonio

I’m a very hard working person who stays committed to achieving my goals. I’m currently involved in a play called Hairspray cast as a Lead Role. I’m going to be giving a speech of my story for the Project Success Dreams to Action Breakfast in April. During my free time, I am working on a personal project that I am excited to share with others soon.

  • Why did you decide to participate in the Capitol Pathways program?

I decided to participate in the Capital Pathways program because I wanted to learn and grow more as a Leader and gain knowledge for my future.

  • What does a day in your internship look like?

A regular day for me consists of taking notes/asking questions at committee hearings. Shadowing Legislators, Senators and Representatives. Walking, standing and sometimes running back and forth to meetings (don’t worry, I find it quite pleasing). And last but not least: admiring the Capitol’s beautiful campus.

  • What is your favorite part of your internship experience so far?

My favorite part about this internship has been attending cohort meetings. I love them because I get to see my peers and hear about what they have learned and experienced. One thing that really draws my attention to the meetings is our discussions, which are deep issues that we deal with every day. I love the fact that we can sit down and talk about these issues, which is the first step to developing solutions of what we can do as leaders to address these issues.

  • What has been challenging?

One challenging thing for me was figuring out the terminology used up at the Capitol. Initially, I found it extremely difficult to comprehend language I had never been exposed to before. I was also surprised by how intense and passionate people were. There was always a lot of disagreement and negotiation on bills.

  • What advice would you give to other students interested in applying for Capitol Pathways?

Be prepared to be open-minded and to digest a lot of new information. Capitol Pathways is also a great opportunity for you to experience firsthand what a career up at the Capitol looks like. It is a challenging but fun experience that can definitely open doors for you in any career path you may choose.