According to senior Estrella Ochoa, a YDA intern, the workload felt less strenuous because the content excited her.
“The workload wasn't bad and as someone who usually has trouble being motivated enough to get work done, YDA actually had me excited to work,” Ochoa said.
Marciniak said that working with his co-workers throughout the summer allowed him to hear new perspectives and share important stories.
“Most of the time I was in awe of those sitting at the table around me. Moments like discussing the racialized data and hearing a co-worker’s perspective was eye-opening at times,” Marciniak said. “There were things that as a white male student, I hadn’t experienced in my teacher-student relationships and was surprised to have heard such stories from fellow students. It was really powerful stuff and everyone approached each conversation with such fidelity and respect, a refreshing space that was new to me.”
Leary said that all students who have considered applying for YDA should take the leap, as everyone has a perspective to share.
“I would say to students considering it- no matter who you are, you have value,” Leary said. Your experiences and character have immense and irreplaceable value to the program.”
Marciniak said he encourages anyone interested in the program to apply, and to not stress about potential technical barriers to being involved with the internship.
“I seriously recommend you do this internship if you are at all interested in researching a topic, working in education/data-collection, or just need some spending cash over the summer. Since you only meet two days a week, it gives you plenty of free time, or an open schedule to work another job on top of it,” Marciniak said. “The accommodations were unbelievable, I was provided a taxi service completely free of charge that allowed me to get back and forth seamlessly from home to work, which I’m beyond grateful for. We got to go on field trips, have an unbelievable amount of food catered for free for us, explore the UMN Twin Cities campus, interview students from all across the St. Louis Park Schools, and built connections with some seriously smart people. It makes you look really good on college applications too which is always a plus. You’ll need to be able to show up and say what’s on your mind, as well as really listen as there are a lot of important things to get through and you can’t afford to constantly be playing catch-up. If you open yourself up to it, there’s a family to be found within YDA and it was really bittersweet walking away from it. If you’ve already read this far, then you must be interested in taking on the challenge; DO IT!”