Introducing Our Urban Scholar!
Anna Fineanganofo is an Urban Scholar intern on the Innovation Team this summer. Urban Scholars is a leadership and professional development internship program providing students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with distinctive professional experience. Focused on essential leadership skills and creating resume-building career pathways, Urban Scholars is training the next generation of leaders. Learn more about the Minneapolis Urban Scholars Leadership and Professional Development Program.
Where do you go school and what are you studying?
I go to school at Macalester College and I am a rising senior. I am studying Political Science and Applied Mathematics and Statistics.
What excites you about the Urban Scholars Leadership Institute and why were you drawn to the work of the Innovation Team?
What really excites me about USLI is having a cohort of individuals who are just as passionate about social change and the advancement of people of color in government institutions and positions of power as I am to meet with every week. I was drawn to the opportunity to work in local government as well, because it is the government institution where I think change that has the most immediate and direct impact on marginalized communities can come from. I was interested in working with the Innovation Team because their work seemed different from the work of other parts of the City. Their work is specifically motivated by racial equity and the voices of the community is included in their process. The motivation behind the work and their methods align with my values, so I am really glad to be working with the Innovation Team this summer.
What project are you working on for the Innovation Team this summer?
This summer I am doing research and data analysis for the Innovation Team. I am specifically working with business licensing data for the city right now. I am working on showing the trends for openings and closings of small businesses in Minneapolis based on geographic location. I am hoping to show the trends based on industry. So for example, we would be able to see in what areas of the city do we see more small restaurants opening and which areas do we see more closing.
What do you hope to do after graduation? How will your experience as an Urban Scholar help you achieve your professional goals?
After graduation, I am hoping to work on local campaigns here in Minnesota. I am passionate about getting people into elected office that will do good for marginalized communities and getting community members involved in the political process. I think my experience as an Urban Scholar will be indispensable as I develop professionally. Having the opportunity to receive formal training on topics such as my strengths and public speaking will definitely help me in the future.
Is there anything that’s surprised you so far about working in City Hall? Any “pro-tips” for next year’s Urban Scholars?
I have been surprised by how flexible I have to be with the work I am doing in City Hall. I was assigned a task at the beginning and it has changed many times, so I have to change course as well. Also, I am constantly surprised with the variety of work done by city employees. I had a limited view of what someone can do in city government, but there many different people here with an abundance of skills. My one piece of advice for future Urban Scholars is to learn as much as you can, and that learning can come from many different places. It can come in the form of pursuing more work in your office or attending meetings, but also participating in extra projects and tours offered to the Urban Scholars.