The Bridge, Special STEP-UP Intern Edition

The Bridge: A Newsletter for CPED Employees

August 2014

The Bridge: STEP-UP Intern Edition

This summer CPED was joined by 10 young, bright STEP-UP interns. They worked throughout the department learning about the diverse programs and services CPED provides for those who live, work, and play in the City of Minneapolis. We asked them to share their experiences through a series of stories for this special STEP-UP focused edition of The Bridge. The interns had the opportunity to interview each other as well as share their own experiences in a separate article. Following are the submissions we received, we hope you enjoy this special issue.

STEP-UP Intern Profiles

Jessica Enwesi


Written by Zakaria Mohamed

Jessica Enwesi is the Zoning Administration intern. Her supervisor is Brad Ellis. Last spring, Jessica graduated from Southwest High School. She will be attending Iowa State University this fall. She will be studying Broadcast Journalism in order to become a Middle East news correspondent. She has two sisters, one of whom will soon be married. She’s the youngest of three. She loves to watch scary movies but her favorites are Rent and Clueless. She likes running, biking, writing, and playing soccer. She’s Nigerian and she has visited twice, once in 2000 and again in 2010.

Ashley Yang


Written by Alexia Harris

Ashley Yang is a CPED intern working with Operations and Innovations. She will be a junior at South High School and a freshman at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) through Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO). During the school year, Ashley takes leadership positions in clubs and extracurricular. She is a worship leader at Victory in Christ Assembly of God (her church), a recruiter for the Minneapolis South Delegation YMCA Youth in Government club, and the Vice President of the Asian Student Association club at South. After graduation, Ashley plans to transfer to Rochester Institute of Technology or Columbia University to finish her academic career. She has interests in agriculture and civil engineering, physics, chemistry, and medicine.

Ashley enjoys running, singing, and playing sports. When free, she enjoys reenacting scenes from her favorite films. Be careful, you just may see Mulan around. 

Zakaria Mohamed


Written by Jessica Enwesi

Zakaria is an intern for Residential and Real Estate Development and works closely with Abdul Jama, the lead engineer. Zakaria is a rising senior at Richfield High School but partakes in Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO). After high school, Zakaria plans to attend Iowa State University to study Civil Engineering, a career he’s dreamed of for many years. 

He likes to play basketball with his friends at school or the park and has seven brothers and sisters. Zakaria also enjoys reading many different types of books and traveling around the world as well. Although he was born in Kenya, he was raised here from an early age. He is fluent in both Somali and English. 

Alexia Harris


Written by Ashley Yang

Alexia Harris is a second year STEP-UP participant and this summer she's working with CPED’s Employment and Training. Last summer, Alexia worked with Teen Teamworks through the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. This fall, Alexia will be a senior at North High School. She plans to attend college after graduation. Alexia says that before her summer internship with CPED, she wanted to study forensic science, but with all the career exposure, she is now unsure. With a bright future ahead of her, STEP-UP has provided Alexia an experience that will take her a long way.

When free, Alexia enjoys playing volleyball, swimming, going to the movies, snacking on her all-time favorite, Hot Cheetos, and out shopping with family and friends. One of Alexia’s favorite actors is Tyler Perry. 

Carmen Gonzalez


Written by Gentry Achieng

Carmen Gonzalez is the CPED intern for Development Services. She was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and was raised in Minnesota by her grandparents. Carmen is the only child in her family. Last June, Carmen graduated from South High School and has been admitted to Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) to study Criminal Justice with a full-ride scholarship. Carmen says that her experience with STEP-UP had granted her the opportunity to learn about different things within The City.

Some of her favorite passions include horseback riding, dancing salsa, and bicycling at the La Laguna, a beautiful lake in Morelos, Mexico.

Gentry Achieng


Written by Carmen Gonzalez

Gentry Achieng (to the left) is an intern in Long Range Planning. She works on a variety of different projects within her division and likes to collaborate with everyone.

Last June, she successfully graduated from Roosevelt High School. Next year she will continue her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) majoring in media and communications. Gentry was born in Nairobi, Kenya and loves traveling back with her family. One of her favorite places to visit is Mombasa, Kenya in the Indian Ocean. Living in Minneapolis, she grew up with her mom, step-sisters, and her step-dad. She enjoys dancing, swimming and likes to read novels and write.

Saynab Gelle

Saynab Gelle

Written by Ashley Yang

Saynab is an intern in Long Range Planning. She will be a senior at Ubah Medical Academy. From the last three years, Saynab participated in extracurricular such as College Possible and Future Leaders. After high school, Saynab plans to attend the University of Minnesota Twins Cities or Augsburg College to finish her academic career. She wishes to pursue in History or English and double-minor in communications and journalism. Throughout her internship, Saynab says it’s great working for the City and can see herself in this career.

In her free time, Saynab enjoys reading, writing, playing basketball, and taking photos. One of her goal is to capture a motion picture (i.e. a flying bird). 

What did I do this summer?

by Ashley Yang

As a STEP-UP Intern with the City of Minneapolis, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with CPED’s Operations and Innovations Team. My amazing supervisors – Camille Worley and Rose Lindsay – help build my professional and communication skills. In addition, I was able to learn about the different divisions. During my time here, I worked on minor projects such as marketing research, scanning files, attending meetings, and writing articles for the internal and external newsletters. I enjoyed the meetings the most because I had the opportunity to participate in discussion with other divisions and ask questions. 

With already having interest in civil and agriculture engineering, this summer has shown me how interested I am in this field. The most surprising thing I learned this summer was what a four-wheeler vehicle was! My internship this summer was incomparable. 

by Jessica Enwesi

Hi my name is Jessica Enwesi and this summer I got the chance to intern with Zoning Administration and work with Brad Ellis. During my 11 weeks with Zoning Administration, I worked on many different surveys.

Officially called surveys, to the average person they look more like blue prints for a house or business and help to detail the structure of the building. My project was to pull all the surveys’ from their designated folders (or BZZ files) and scan them into the CPED database.

But my favorite project was writing an article for The Bridge newsletter about two HPC interns.

It has been a great experience working with STEP-UP for these last 4 years. As I get ready to leave for college and turn from a STEP-UP intern into a STEP-UP alumnus, I will never forget the experience and people that helped me along the way. Thank You.

by Gentry Achieng

This summer I worked with Long Range Planning. I worked with my Saynab Gelle - who is also a STEP-UP intern. I worked on a variety of different projects with different people. A project I worked on with Beth Elliott dealt with North loop sector in regards to marketing expansion. I was asked to put together a summary of what was to be done and how it will bring changes/profit to Minneapolis. My supervisor is Mr. Silaphet Thavisack. The most surprising thing I learned was how it takes patience to build a fortune and make Minneapolis a better city than today.

by Alexia Harris

I am a STEP-UP intern supporting the work of Minneapolis Employment and Training at CPED this summer. As a program assistant, most of my work is helping with the STEP-UP Summer Jobs program. My day to day tasks include printing, copying and data entry. Some of the projects I have completed include gathering information about community meeting spaces for the employment and training staff, compiling and preparing data on the youth involved in STEP-UP, and calling the Council Members to invite them to the STEP-UP Work Site Tour. I liked making these phone calls because I was had the opportunity to speak to important people. 

by Saynab Gelle

I am an intern at CPED Long Range Planning. I worked with Gentry Achieng and my supervisor was Thavisack Silaphet. This summer my role was making inventories for the airport files, also did some public art surveys with Mary Altman and Rachel Engh.  My favorite thing while working with CPED was being able to see what people do to make the City of Minneapolis a better place to live.  Everyone had their own way of showing they care and I got to see that.  The thing that surprised me the most was how everyone is willing to work things out with you and trying to make this internship the best. Overall, my time with CPED was fun and interesting, I learned a lot of things by researching and many more by talking and interacting with my co-workers; you’d be surprised at how much you can learn from them!

2014 STEP-UP 

Thank You Supervisors!

  • Camille Worley 
  • Mary Ubl 
  • Jack Byers 
  • Wesley Butler
  • Brian Millberg
  • Brad Ellis 
  • Abdulkadir Jama
  • Sok Silaphet
  • Daniel Bonilla
  • Tammy Dickinson
  • Linda Roberts
  • Rose Lindsay
  • Elfric Porte
  • Pat Hilden

You're Invited: STEP-UP's 11th Year Graduation Celebration

A celebration will be held at the Guthrie Theater for all STEP-UP participants. 

Thursday, August 14th
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Guthrie Theater: 818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, 55415

Register here

STEP-UP Annual Bus Tour 2014

YMCARedeemerBus Tour

On July 29, STEP-UP offered a guided tour of four of this year’s 230 summer worksites to the program’s funders, partners and elected officials. Tour stops included UCARE, North Community YMCA, Redeemer Center for Life, and Hennepin County Library-Minneapolis Central Library. Throughout the tour, STEP-UP interns presented what their summer job experience had been like by giving worksite tours, demonstrating work duties, and participating in presentations and Q&A sessions. 

Take the Virtual Tour!

One of our CPED STEP-UP interns, Ashley Yang, documented the journey and created a virtual tour that you can watch here.

Learning Fire Safety

GentryImage 2Carmen

The 2014 STEP-UP tour of the Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training tower provided a great learning experience for all of the STEP-UP students who participated in the tour. All of the students were engaged during the tour and participated with great enthusiasm in learning about the roles and duties of a Minneapolis Firefighter. A special thanks to Fire Staff Captain Sean Thomas and Fire Staff Captain Amber Lage and other members of the training facility for taking the time to meet with our STEP-UP students.  

What did I do this summer? (cont.)

by Carmen Gonzalez

I have been working with CPED for two summers as a STEP-UP intern. This summer I returned to be part of Development Services, Mary Ubl is my supervisor.

I have worked with Tess Neumann with RPZ’s (Reduced Pressure Zone) test reports entering them into an Access database. I started with stacks of reports on my desk and I had no knowledge of the program. As a result, I enlarged my experience with the program. One of my biggest RPZ reports that I completed was for Children’s Hospital that had approximately one-hundred issued plumbing permits. I enjoyed the ride along with Kara Topper who is a plumbing inspector.

Another task assigned to me was to log and file construction plans weekly. In this project, I work with Maria Dahlen.

I enjoyed both of my tasks as they give me a variety of experience. 

by Zakaria Mohamed

This summer I was an intern for the City of Minneapolis, Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) Department. I worked with the Chief Engineer in the Residential and Real Estate division. My supervisor, Abdul Jama, is a talented, gifted and by far the smartest engineer I met. Another person I admire is the manager of our department, Elfric Porte. Elfric and Abdul wanted me to succeed in life; they would give me random talks on how I could be successful. They never gave up on me and always had hope. This summer I worked with papers and boxes. My proficiency in Microsoft Excel improved due to the excessive papers I scanned and spreadsheets I used. I worked with many great and talented people. Dustin for example, would stop by my office and we would always have something to chat about. I loved my summer job and everything I learned will help me in the professional world.  

by Umar Hassan

My role at CPED was doing most of the underwriting work for application process, reviewing applications and research. I worked in residential financing. My supervisor is Tiffany Glasper. I reviewed an application for a proposed project in the city. I learned how to closely examine things.