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 Hunter Santos.

Hunter is a fourth year student at the University of St. Thomas majoring in Social Work graduating in May 2021. She was placed with host organization Great Plains Institute for her Capitol Pathways internship during the 2021 legislative session.

Hunter was born in California but was raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Currently Hunter is completing her senior social work practicum at the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services as a case manager.

Hunter is passionate about social justice, environmental work, and public policy. Through previous internships and opportunities, Hunter has gained a love for politics and hopes to run for office one day. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Hunter plans to attend law school after spending a year gaining more professional experience.

Read on to learn more about Hunter in our Q&A.

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

Through my participation of this program I was hoping to gain a better sense of our local government. Growing up as a first generation Latina, my knowledge about politics and legislation was limited. I never saw politicians that looked like me, I never heard family or friends talk about local policies or laws, I never was surrounded with that type of information and I finally wanted to change that.

What has been challenging about participating in a virtual internship experience? What has been going well?

Participating in a virtual internship is a totally new experience for me, both with struggles and plenty of fun! Some benefits of virtual internships is the comfortability of working from home. Given the pandemic I wanted to partake in a program that respected COVID-19 guidelines while
still being super informative, and Capitol Pathways is just that. The virtual setting as allowed for me to connect with local legislators, stakeholders and advocates that I just know normally would be difficult to do. Some challenges still exist though, like making some I’m not too comfy at home and I’m still getting work done!

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

Regardless of where my career goes, I have gained new knowledge and an overall sense of our local government that I will always value. Politics are intertwined with all careers and fields, whether it be financially or politically. As a young professional I should know how my local government impacts me, so going forward I will continue to pay attention to local committee hearings and bills to see how they will impact me and my community.

> Learn more about Capitol Pathways, and other members of this year’s cohort, on our Capitol Pathways project page.