Community, News

Fellowship experience connects students to local government

Recent University of Miami alumna Adaeze Ajoku, a math and anthropology major,  never dreamed she’d get the chance to work with a local government while studying in school. But thanks to a UM program, Ajoku was able to intern with the city of Coral Gables.

Since 2011, the University of Miami’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement has been offering a paid internship with the city called the Gables Fellow Program. It was designed for undergraduate students who are interested in public service, government, architecture, arts and culture, nonprofit management and economic development.

“I definitely want to go into local government or work with a nonprofit after the Gables Fellows experience,” said Ajoku, who interned last spring before graduating. “The fellowship has helped me to solidify my career plans. I learned more about municipal government during the internship, and I gained a better understanding and have more of an appreciation for the city of Coral Gables.”

The program started because of UM’s working relationship with Coral Gables to create a link between students and the city where UM is located. Those who are chosen get to rotate through several city departments such as procurement, Coral Gables Television, historic preservation and more.

“Students have really enjoyed working with the city of Coral Gables and learning about the opportunities that the municipal government presents,” said Ashley Arostegui, associate director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement. “It’s a way to put in practice what they’re studying, a hands-on project.”

The office accepts applications during the spring semester, and then two students are chosen for the next academic year, one for each semester. The program does not offer academic credit.

This semester’s intern, senior Lilia Hoberman, says she loves being a Gables Fellow.

“Being implemented into a department of my choosing has been a great way to see how municipal government really works first-hand,” she said.

The office encourages sophomores and upperclassmen to apply. The Coral Gables staff will bring the top candidates in for interviews and then select the two interns for the 2014-15 school year. For fall 2014 and spring 2015, students need to apply via e-mail to by the March 3 deadline.

The pay rate and work schedule will be determined once the interview process is complete. For more information, contact Crystal Godina in the Office of Civic and Community Engagement at

Applicants must attach a completed copy of the application. They also need to attach files for a one-page resume, current academic transcript and a 500-word statement that describes the student’s background in leadership and community development, how the internship will enhance the undergraduate experience at UM and how it will help advance future career goals.


Fr more information:

The deadline is March 3.

The application must be emailed to

To download the application, visit

February 16, 2014


Kenia Vasallo

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.