A successful summer internship turned into a part-time job for Luan L. inside Kansas City, Missouri Office of the Mayor. Luan, a student at Park University, was interested in learning about the racial issues facing Kansas City, and wanted to know how local government works to create social and economic change. Luan spent his summer internship helping, in part, to organize community forums on race led by Mayor James.
Hire KC visited with Luan to talk about his internship and experience.
1. What kind of duties and responsibilities did you have with the Mayor’s office?
I was a Policy Intern, and my responsibilities included researching racial inequity in KC, with a focus on transportation, infrastructure, and public safety. I attended several meetings that are part of city governance and processes, including the Business Session, Legislative Meeting, several Committee Meetings. In addition, I helped create the social media outreach for the organization that formed from the racial equity initiative – the Community Alliance for Racial Equity.
2. What kinds of things have you learned from your internship?
The whole summer was a great learning opportunity. I’ve learned a great deal about the racial disparity in KC, and how there are quantitative data to support the disparity in all sectors. I’ve also learned a lot about how local government works: responsibilities of the Mayor, how an ordinance is passed, how citizens can become involved, and the responsibilities of a few departments within the city.
3. What was your favorite part of your internship?
My favorite part of the internship is the ability to observe local government work from behind the scenes. It is complex and necessary. It encourages me to civically engage. Juan Ramiro Sarmiento, Special Assistant to the Mayor, exposed me to inspirational public policy work. He allowed me to participate in the meaningful work being done. Another noteworthy item is the amazing view from the Mayor’s office. My view included everything north and east of the river from City Hall and it is breathtaking.
4. What advice would you give to a student considering an internship?
My advice to a student considering an internship is to take chances when you are applying for internships. Apply for positions that you have interests in and explore your options, even if it is not your college major. The tools that I have added to my tool belt over the summer are valuable and will help me in my future endeavors.
5. How did you choose an internship with Hire KC?
Hire KC is a great resource that targets many different audiences, especially those that would never have the opportunity otherwise. They help connect businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies with youths. The reason I chose Hire KC was because of their connection to my interest areas and their accessibility.
6. Tell me about a challenging situation during your internship and how you handled it.
A challenging situation that I had during my internship was trying to find disaggregated data on racial disparity. There are limited resources available and even fewer resources that have data specific to KC. I believe that determination was necessary for me to keep searching, and sometimes it was necessary to reach out for help. Although not much-disaggregated data exist, it shows that there is room for improvement.
7. What’s the part-time position you’ve secured with the Mayor’s office? How did your Hire KC internship help prepare or open the door for that position?
The part-time position I received is the Administrative Assistant for the Mayor’s Office. My internship helped me prepare for this role by showing me to how the Mayor’s office runs, and how the city runs. It also allowed me to showcase my skills and style of work – something that I would not have otherwise been able to do.
(Photo above – from left to right: Juan Ramiro Sarmiento, Special Assistant to the Mayor; Luan L., 2018 Hire KC intern; and Taylor Holmes, 2018 Hire KC intern)