We are excited to begin spotlighting our 2024 Capitol Pathways students to learn more about their experiences of the program so far. Here, we highlight Roaya Ghuneim, a a sophomore at St. Olaf College in Northfield. She is interning with the Partnership in Commercial Land Trust (PIPCLT), which works to provide affordable real estate for BIPOC small business owners.

Q: Why did you decide to participate in Capitol Pathways? And – why is a program like Capitol Pathways important today?

I was drawn to the mission of Capitol Pathways that offers BIPOC students a unique opportunity to engage directly with policymaking and public service, which aligns with my career aspirations. As a BIPOC student, I recognize the importance of representation and diversity in government, and I believe that programs like Capitol Pathways play a crucial role in addressing the underrepresentation of marginalized communities in decision-making processes. Today, diversity and inclusion are more important than ever in shaping policies that reflect the needs and perspectives of all people. By providing BIPOC students with access to legislative internships and career readiness training, Capitol Pathways helps cultivate a pipeline of diverse leaders who can advocate for and enact policies that promote equity, justice, and inclusion. This program not only empowers individuals from underrepresented backgrounds but also contributes to building a more representative and responsive government that truly serves all communities.

Q: What is one highlight and one challenge of participating in Capitol Pathways?

One highlight: The other interns in my cohort! Each one of them is inspiring, highly motivated and ambitious. Our training and our cohort meeting allowed me to develop stronger connections with them and learn more from their experiences. I love the opportunity to get to know each one of them!

One challenge: As a first-generation student, networking, navigating career prospects, and internship resources pose a great challenge as I have to start from scratch. Capitol Pathways is doing an excellent job in providing us with useful resources such as professional development training, networking events and more.

Q: As a result of participating in Capitol Pathways, what impact do you want to make in your community?

The program has provided me with the opportunity to understand the different communities in the US. As I better understand these communities and their needs, I also engage more with the policy work that impact those communities. In my internship, I am working directly with BIPOC businesses in Minneapolis. I aspire to contribute to the empowerment of BIPOC businesses and development, fostering inclusivity, diversity and equity. I believe that economic empowerment will eventually lead to the prosperity of these communities. 

> Click here to learn more about Capitol Pathways, including this year’s students, host organizations, and more.