Opinion: Internship with the Office of Secretary of State

I applied to the Capitol Pathways Leadership Program during Fall of 2016. I applied knowing that I was not sure that I could get into the competitive program but I believed in myself because that is the first step to being successful. Always believe in yourself and trust your heart that things would work well in your favor at the end. I got an email that I was accepted and got the email on December 14, 2016, and I was really excited about it. I was getting accepted into my second leadership program. My first leadership program was called Jugaad and I was part of the first cohort. This one I was going to be part of the second cohort but I liked it because they had experience from feedback to make the program better. I loved being able to speak to alumni and ask for advice. I was grateful that I had people to support me so that I could achieve my goals to be able to work in an office that is making a big difference in the state. I have always been passionate about making a big difference in my community and also serve others with my life.

This internship program has been created with the understanding that, to build a strong state, Minnesota government and the people who run it must be representative of the diversity of the state. Since people of color are absent from legislative decision making in Minnesota today, a fact which is very slow to change even as the state’s population becomes ever more diverse.

My internship started in January 2017 and I loved working on my host site. I was able to shadow the secretary of state, shadow various senators and representatives, learn more about the legislative process and also do some research for the office and attend leadership meetings to better my leadership skills. I had to demonstrate a lot of skills but the one that I believe that others should learn from most is that of Commitment. I was living in one city and traveling to another city for my internship and I did that for five months. I had to commit to a goal and work hard till I finished.

The office of Secretary of State handles elections, safe at home program and businesses in the State. The work of the Secretary of State’s Office affects Minnesotans in all 87 counties of the state. One of the office’s main responsibilities is overseeing statewide elections and operating the statewide voter registration system. Another main responsibility involves the review, approval, and filings for all businesses and organizations operating in the state. The office also processes notary public applications, preserve documents filed with the state, and administer the Safe at Home program, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who wish to keep the location of their physical residence private for personal safety reasons, often because they are victims of domestic violence or stalking.

My favorite part of the internship was my informational interview with the secretary of state. He spoke to me about his career in public service and all the amazing mentors that he had. He used to be a legislator before he ran to be secretary of state. He also is a lawyer and he used to be part of a private law and he then got into public service.

He inspired me to do more for the people so that I can be a voice to those who do not have a voice and also stand up against injustice. I want to contribute my quota so that there is more justice and the society should be fair. I want to be able to make a difference in the world in education, women’s empowerment and global development, just like Michelle Obama.I love meeting new people, I love meeting big government officials and people who make law. I love the people at my office because they are so nice and they are very smart. My favorite thing so far has been the cohort meetings and getting to know other amazing students of color like me and I love the lawmakers that I get to shadow.



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Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi

Oluwatobi is a college student trying to make things work. She loves writing and listening to music. You can always see her with a pen trying to jot down notes. Oluwatobi loves to learn and meet new people.

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