Capitol Pathways Celebration

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Join us to celebrate our largest Capitol Pathways student cohort! During the 2024 legislative session, students learned about public policymaking, developed career readiness skills and grew their professional network.

Supporters, internship hosts, and alumni will gather on Thursday, June 6 to recognize the achievements of this year’s cohort and their graduation from the program.

Our event will center the voices of those closest to the program, welcoming Capitol Pathways co-founder and host Juventino Meza, followed by a panel discussion with 2024 Capitol Pathways interns Mya Hillerud & Marrea Taylor-Knighten, and Capitol Pathways alum and current board member Robert Harper.

PTR Associates

Juventino Meza

Gustavus Adolphus College

Mya Hillerud

University of Minnesota

Marrea Taylor-Knighten

Vizient

Robert Harper

PTR Associates

Juventino Meza

Juventino co-founded NAVIGATE MN (now Unidos MN), a leadership development program, and co-founded the paid Capitol Pathways internship program for college students of color and Native American students as an effort to diversify who works in and around Minnesota state government.

Juventino is the only undocumented Minnesotan appointed to a MN State Board and one of few undocumented Minnesotans to obtain a law degree in Minnesota. Juventino serves on the Policy Committee of the MN Immigrant Law Center and was appointed April 2023 by Governor Tim Walz/Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to the Minnesota Latino Affairs Council. Juventino joined the Portico Healthnet Board in 2023.

Juventino Meza holds a B.A. from Augsburg University and a Juris Doctor with a Native American Law and Sovereignty Certificate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Juventino is a lobbyist with PTR Associates focused on Native and BPOC communities and energy policy.

Gustavus Adolphus College

Mya Hillerud

Mya is a member of the 2024 Capitol Pathways cohort. She is currently working at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in their Government Affairs Office. There, she has had the opportunity to participate in local politics by meeting with local legislators and observing committee hearings and floor sessions. 

She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2023 with a double major in Financial Economics and Philosophy and a minor in Music. Mya has a long history of volunteering with nonprofits, like the Edmonton Fringe and Art Works Eagan, and has also worked for the City of Eagan. She has been an active member in several Asian-American cultural organizations at both her school and in her greater community, including the Asian Student Union at Gustavus, Asian Media Access, and the Taiwanese American Association of Minnesota.

Mya is very grateful for all the opportunities provided to her through the Capitol Pathways program, and is excited to continue working with MnDOT after this legislative session comes to a close.

University of Minnesota

Marrea Taylor-Knighten

Marrea Taylor- Knighten is a second year student at the University of Minnesota, studying Political Science with a minor in Sociology of Law. She has a passion for creating substantial and impactful change within our society. She believes that in order to create change we must first recognize the issues and educate ourselves and others of the primary causes of said issue.

Vizient

Robert Harper

Robert is a proud Citizens League Board Member and alumni of Capitol Pathways. Motivated by his upbringing on Chicago’s south side, Robert Harper has spent the past decade leveraging policy to close the racial wealth gap. In that spirit, his career has been focused on supporting minority-owned businesses (MBEs) through the levers of policy, advocacy, and economic development. He has consulted hundreds of entrepreneurs on wealth-accumulating strategies and his clients have been awarded more than $500 Million in contracts with the public and private sectors. As former Senior Director of Business Consulting at MEDA, a local community development financial institution (CDFI), Robert prepared businesses to utilize more than $18 Million in capital to scale their operations.

With a background in Supplier Diversity, Robert currently serves as the Senior Manager of Vizient’s Community Contracting program, connecting local business owners to national supply chain opportunities, primarily within the healthcare system. He created R.D.T.H Consulting following the murder of George Floyd, to equip large organizations with the tools they need to integrate their values for diversity, equity, and inclusion into their business operations. As a consultant, Robert is a strategic partner who continues to support corporations and anchor institutions in actualizing their commitments to spend and invest in marginalized communities.

Robert earned his Bachelors degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice from Augsburg University and his Masters of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In his free time, he can be found cheering on the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and White Sox with his beloved Grandmother!

Thursday, June 6, 2024
Social Hour: 3:00 pm
Program: 4:00 - 5:00 pm

Mount Zion Temple
1300 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105 (map)

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and nonalcoholic beverages will be available.

Free! Sponsor opportunities available! 

This program is made possible in part by major donors:

F.R. Bigelow Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Otto Bremer Trust

Summer Fund