Summer in the City

As part of the Mayor’s Internship Program in Philadelphia, Maye-gan Brown ’20 is making a difference in the place she calls home.

By: Meghan Kita  Friday, July 19, 2019 10:27 AM

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Maye-gan Brown ’20 is taking part in the Mayor’s Internship Program in Philadelphia this summer. Photo by Fernando Gaglianese.

Last fall, Maye-gan Brown ’20, an English major with minors in political science and Africana studies, participated in the Lutheran College Washington Semester. She interned for Congressman Dwight Evans, who represents her home district in Philadelphia, and learned something important: “The internship made me realize that I would be more connected to the work done through local politics.”

Federal politicians may be the big national newsmakers, Brown says, but “we forget it takes a while for their decisions to affect us.” It’s the local politicians who are determining things like when your trash is picked up, for example, or when that pothole on your street gets filled. Involvement in local politics provides the opportunity to effect change in a community you know well and care about alongside people you know well and care about.

That’s one of the reasons Brown was eager to apply for the Mayor’s Internship Program in Philadelphia, which accepts about 40 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Brown was placed with the Department of Human Services, where she’s a communications intern. In addition to drafting press releases and media advisories, Brown has used her lifelong connections to promote the services offered by the department: “I’ve been able to think of people I know who work in the community and how getting that information to the people I know can literally reach thousands because of their networks.”

In addition to their day-to-day roles, interns attend weekly panels to hear from and network with employees across a variety of departments within city government. They also collaborate in small groups on a larger project: Brown and five other interns are planning a meeting that will bring together representatives from a variety of the mayor’s commissions (on LGBT Affairs, People with Disabilities and Aging, to name a few examples).

If her experience in D.C. helped her learn what she didn’t want to do, her experience this summer is shedding light on what she does want to do, and where she wants to do it—Philly. “I would love to be working in city politics in some way, shape or form,” she says. “There’s a certain perspective that people who’ve grown up here have to offer.”