Skip to main content

Meet Our Capitol Pathways Intern, Ola!

By YWCA Minneapolis
April 27, 2023
Social Share

Meet Olaitan Olanrewaju (Ola), our Capitol Pathways intern and a third-year University of Minnesota student studying Strategic Communications and English Literature!

The Minnesota Capitol Pathways Program opens access to policymaking and public service to the next generation of leaders who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). It is facilitated through the Citizens League of Minnesota. This is our first year as a Capitol Pathways Internship host organization, and we’ve been lucky to work with Ola! We caught up with her about her experience working with YWCA Minneapolis.

YWCA Minneapolis: Tell us about Capitol Pathways.

Ola: I learned about Capitol Pathways through my sister — she was part of a previous cohort. She felt the program provided her with the resources and skills she needed to gain jobs post-graduation and transition to law school smoothly. I applied to the program to gain more professional experience because I was drawn to the program’s commitment to serving students who are often forgotten.

Ola (L) with Capitol Pathways cohort member Amanda de Souza. Sabrina Ali and Antonette Kamara with Ola (L to R).

A highlight I had from this semester was attending committee hearings; previously, I had never attended a hearing and appreciated witnessing the legislative process in real-time. Additionally, I enjoyed hearing from testifiers and found the testimonies impactful as a reminder of the transformative power of public policy. I will carry the connections I have made in the program with me. Capitol Pathways’ connections are invaluable for someone still attempting to find a place for themselves.

YWCA: What challenges do you observe in the Legislature right now?

Ola: Partisanship is a challenge: With both parties having different agendas, it can be difficult to find common ground, making it challenging to pass timely and meaningful legislation — it is not uncommon for amendments to be weaponized and used as a tool to slow the legislative process.

 YWCA: What words of wisdom do you have for other students working in or learning about the public sector?

Ola: One should lead in curiosity; with any experience, it’s essential to be a lifelong learner. The public sector, in particular, is constantly changing, and to succeed in this work, you must desire to learn, grow and allow yourself to be changed by your work. You may not be able to change the world, but you can change your community. Remember that your work in the public sector has the potential to make a positive difference in people’s lives; approach it purposefully, with a commitment to progress that endures.

Public Policy Manager Luna Allen-Bakerian and Ola at Empower Possible 2023!

Learn More about YWCA Racial Justice Programs

Donate to YWCA Racial Justice & Public Policy