As the 2018 Legislative Session continues, so does our Capitol Pathways internship program, providing opportunities at the Capitol for college students of color. Part of our 33-student cohort this year is D’Andre Anthony Gordon, a 2nd year student at Hamline University. Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, D’Andre is interning at the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.

As a part of his internship, D’Andre Anthony Gordon, middle, attended Arts Advocacy Day at the Capitol.

D’Andre took a break from his studies and internship to answer a few questions about his internship experience thus far, expounding on how the program has informed his understanding of the political process and his own career trajectory.

Q: What did you hope to achieve by participating in Capitol Pathways?

A: Something I hope to achieve by participating in Capitol Pathways is a deeper understanding of the political process on the state and county levels. I’d love to learn more about how the allocation of funds gets decided and what areas are prioritized. I also hope to gain a multitude of networking opportunities as well as learning about possible careers in public policy. Finally, I hope to gain certain tools to help me achieve my goal of making youth more civically engaged especially during their high school years so by the time they leave high school they’ll be able to vote and become involved in advocacy work and organizing campaigns.

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

A: One of the most vital pieces of advice that I can give to other students interested in applying for the Capitol Pathways program is to never take anything personally. Sometimes things might be said at your host site and even the Capitol that might be offensive that you don’t like. The best way to navigate these circumstances is to weigh the pros and cons and then decide when is the right timing. You also have to take into consideration the setting as well and make use of “I” statements. Not only that, but open communication is key to maintain a good working relationship with your site supervisor and legislators to get the full internship experience.

Now in it’s third year, the Citizens League’s Capitol Pathways program has led to many alums pursuing policy-related work in Minnesota. TPT’s Almanac at the Capitol featured two alums to learn more the program.

Q: As a result of participating in Capitol Pathways, how do you see yourself being an active member of your community?

A: Since I’ve lived in the United States, I’ve developed an interest in public policy and research. Participating in Capitol Pathways has further grounded my interest in public policy and research. For example, I am actively seeking opportunities to become more involved in politics and keeping up to date with current event issues that affect my community and the state. In addition, I’ve been helping to organize various political campaigns and educate members of the community about candidates, their qualifications and stances on issues. I see myself running for an elected office in the future and working to get more youth engaged in the political process.