Linn County has hired 17 interns this summer who will gain valuable hands-on experience in various career fields. This year’s interns are working alongside County staff in Human Resources, Planning and Development, Public Health, the Secondary Road Department, the County Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Board of Supervisors Office.
Three interns are part of the inaugural class of Mahder “Mahi” Serekberhan Fellows, a paid internship program with the Linn County Board of Supervisors office. Kevin Drahos, Michelle Kumar, and Angelina Ramirez will spend their summer assisting the Board of Supervisors and staff with ongoing and upcoming County projects and events. Projects fall under finance & budget, communications, and policy & administration. Some projects and initiatives this class of interns will help coordinate include the Mental Health Access Center, a food recovery program with Linn County Public Health and the Food Systems Council, an expungement clinic, a homeless resource center and day clinic, research regarding tuition-free community college for qualifying Linn County residents, and a Secondary Roads public forum.
The Board of Supervisors internship began in the summer of 2018 with its first intern Mahder “Mahi” Serekberhan. Mahi is a graduate of Mount Mercy University, where she studied Political Science. The program began when Mahi contacted Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker looking for an opportunity to get involved with county government. Prior to Mahi reaching out, the Board of Supervisors did not have a formal internship program. Starting with just a bus pass for compensation and a self-driven passion, Mahi largely shaped what the program is today. During her time as an intern for the Board of Supervisors, Mahi spearheaded Linn County’s first Expungement and Employment Barriers Resource Clinic that helped more than 100 people overcome barriers to housing, employment, education, and voting rights. After graduating, Mahi decided to continue her studies at Syracuse University.
Mahi’s dedication and exemplary service formalized the internship and motivated the supervisors to name the program after her. The Mahi Serekberhan Fellowship provides practical knowledge and experience with government, public policy, and public services to students who are passionate about the type of work we do here at Linn County. The internship program creates a pipeline of talented young adults that one day might work in public service.
“We are excited to have such a bright group of ambitious college students interested in county government and public policy,” said Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, who is spearheading the County’s efforts of youth engagement and talent retention.
While only three individuals have been selected for the Serekberhan Fellows, Linn County has hired a total of 17 interns this summer, all of whom will gain valuable hands-on experience in various career fields. Linn County’s 2019 summer interns include:
- Josie Bautch, Coe College, International Business and Economics, Human Resources Department
- Sarah Clore, Linn-Mar High School, Senior, Linn County Attorney’s Office
- Dillon Constant, University of Iowa, M.S. in Urban & Regional Planning , Planning and Development
- Kevin Drahos, University of Iowa, International Relations and Economics, Board of Supervisors
- Madeleine Gilmore, Coe College, Biology and Molecular Biology, Linn County Public Health
- Mitchell Jarvis, Iowa State University, Criminal Justice, Linn County Sheriff’s Office
- Michelle Kumar, University of Iowa, International Studies and Ethics & Public Policy, Board of Supervisors
- Kathryn Ledbetter, University of Iowa, Doctorate Nurse Practitioner, Linn County Public Health
- Tyler Mains, Iowa State University, Aerospace Engineering, Secondary Road Department
- Eva Moronge, Coe College, Criminal Justice and Philosophy, Linn County Public Health
- Shyla Morrow, Loyola University, Linn County Attorney’s Office
- Patrick Mukawelemba, Iowa State University, Construction Engineering, Secondary Road Department
- Nathan Petersen, University of Iowa, 3L J.D. candidate, Linn County Attorney’s Office
- Ivana Ponce, University of Iowa, Criminology and the Navy Reserves, Linn County Attorney’s Office
- Maddie Port, Linn-Mar High School, Senior, Linn County Attorney’s Office
- Angelina Ramirez, Coe College, Political Science and Social & Criminal Justice, Board of Supervisors
- Kali Starin, University of Iowa, Health Management, Linn County Public Health
“Hopefully after they graduate, our best and brightest students will seek careers in public service after having these opportunities,” said Walker.
Pictured with this story are eight of Linn County's 17 interns for summer 2019.