Students weigh future careers upon completing Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan’s internship program

Lehman Auto World representatives (left to right) Christa Fitzgerald, Stephanie Chiles-Beauvais, Tivia Rouland of Commissioner Barbara Jordan’s office, Daria Ferguson, and Maite Julien. (Photos by Armando Rodriguez / Miami-Dade County)

Kiara Finlay, a recent graduate of Miami Lakes Educational Center, plans to study English at Georgetown University this fall. She dreams of one day becoming an attorney, judge, and ultimately a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. She was able to take the first step towards that goal by completing an internship as part of Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan’s Summer Youth Internship Initiative (SYII).

Finlay, who worked at Commissioner Jordan’s offices, said that learning about legislative agendas and attending County Commission meetings gave her insight on how the governmental process works.

“I was fortunate to be able to see the process firsthand, and see how they work through things,” she said. “I was able to get hands on experience in the legal field.”

For eight to 10 weeks, 31 students were paid to work in County government and the private sector as part of the SYII program. Students underwent an extensive interview process and were required to attend a daylong orientation session with a motivational speaker, life coach and several entrepreneurs.

High school students from Miami Lakes Educational Center, School of Advanced Studies, and Terra Environmental Research Institute participated in the program, along with college students from Florida Memorial University (FMU), St. Thomas University, Florida International University, Miami-Dade College, Marshall University, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Bethune Cookman University.

Jada York, a senior who is studying biology at FMU, worked at Jackson Health System. She said she worked closely with different departments but was grateful for the opportunity to shadow an anesthesiologist this summer.

“He explained what each medicine did and how it would affect the patient,” she said. “I got to be right by their side. It’s a perfect opportunity and introduction to the medical field.”

Ashley Anderson, who is majoring in psychology at FMU, said that working at North Pointe YMCA Center: “was a dream come true because I want to work with children,” she said.

Dominic Rivera, who worked at Miami-Dade Expressway Authority this summer, just completed his third SYII internship. Rivera, who is studying civil engineering at Florida International University, said his SYII experience has transformed his life.

“Since I started, I’ve become more assertive about my career choice. I was able to see the benefits of becoming a civil engineer. I became a leader in school and my community,” he said. “I want to inspire my peers to better themselves, persevere, pursue, achieve, and most of all be grateful.”

Business partners for the 2018 Summer Youth Internship Initiative were 300 Engineering Group, P.A., AA Acquisitions, American Airlines, Calder Casino, Dade County Federal Credit Union, EAC Consulting, Inc., El Dorado Furniture, Experience Aviation, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Jackson Health System, Jesus People Ministries Church International, Lehman Auto World, MCO Construction and Services, Inc., Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX), Miami Dolphins, North Pointe YMCA Family Center, Office of Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, Orange Bowl Committee, and Warren Henry Auto Group.

SYII intern Dominic Rivera shares his experiences at the closing ceremony. (Photos by Armando Rodriguez / Miami-Dade County)

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