STEP-UP Intern Sees Law School From the InsideIf you’ve been in the Law Clinics office or library recently, you’ve probably noticed the smiling face of summer intern Jackee Heslop. She has been at the Law School since mid-June as a trainee with the STEP-UP Summer Jobs Program.
As she approaches her last year of high school, Heslop is getting ready to say goodbye to friends at Minneapolis South and hello to college. Presentations at her high school about the STEP-UP program combined with testimonies from her friends convinced her to get involved. Since she’s thinking about attending law school one day, the opportunity to work at the Law Clinics was a perfect fit.
At her high school, Heslop plays trumpet and doubles badminton and participates in Umoja, a student group dedicated to African heritage. She’s also a member of the peer jury. This summer job experience, she says, gives her a chance to “gain more knowledge about office work, work with people, and explore the options of law school.”
The STEP-UP program is managed by the nonprofit organization Achieve!Minneapolis in affiliation with the Minneapolis Mayor and City Council’s “Close the Gap” Campaign to reduce economic disparities among local communities. Applicants, aged 16 to 21, compete for the program, which strives to select diverse, skilled, and motivated youth and match a job opportunity with each student’s particular interests.
Before she even set foot in the Law School, Heslop (and 700 other eager young interns-to-be) completed rigorous work-readiness training certified by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. Professional-development courses, handouts, presentations, and role-playing gave students from different high schools a chance to interact and prepared them for interviews and jobs.
Heslop is the first STEP-UP intern for the Law School, but not for the University. The University hired 12 students in 2004, the program’s first year, and has increased its participation steadily to today’s 70 interns, the highest number of placements among more than 150 participating employers.
It hasn’t been all work for the interns, and there’s time for more experiences before the program ends on August 31. They have had opportunities to check out different offices around the metro area, and on July 18, they’ll be able to attend a program at the Law School on legal education awareness.
Both Heslop and her supervisors have good things to say about her time at the Law School. “I have truly enjoyed working with Jackee and meeting the other STEP-UP legal interns,” says Debbie Gallenberg, the deans’ chief of staff. “I believe that the STEP-UP program has played an important role in developing the students’ academic and professional goals.”