For more than 40 years, the Institute of Politics has provided support for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors to pursue a summer internship in public service. The signature offerings of the IOP’s Summer of Service program engages more than 150 students with meaningful experiences in politics and public service. From working for elected officials to non-profits, federal, state and local governments, activist groups and think tanks – IOP Summer of Service students immerse themselves in issues and policies for eight weeks as they explore opportunities and careers with public purpose.
Follow along on our social channels with #MyIOPSummer as we share some of the internship experiences in this cohort of students.
Brandon Kingdollar '24 reflects on his summer working with the Office of Mayor Melvin Carter.
How has your internship pushed you outside your comfort zone? What did you learn from the experience?
I've never worked somewhere where I've had this much independence before, and it's quite a new experience. Whereas I'm used to a very set schedule and clearly defined tasks, at the Office of Financial Empowerment I'm given broad goals and it's my job to figure out how to reach these goals. At first, it was difficult adjusting to the wide latitude I'm given in how I approach each day's work, but I've discovered that I thrive when entrusted with independence and the responsibility that comes with it. After all, the greatest sense of accountability is knowing that St. Paul's residents are counting on me to do my job right.
What have you learned about yourself by working in a virtual environment?
I've learned that I value human connection in the workplace much more than I ever thought I did. I savor the meetings I get to have with my colleagues at the Office of Financial Empowerment and only wish that I were there in the office, able to share the simple joys of a smile across the room and a quick joke with a coworker. Still, the OFE has found ways to humanize the workplace even in our virtual times, and I've been able to have 1:1 meetings with all of my colleagues where we just get to chat about our lives and who we are, and for that I am grateful.