This content was published: January 30, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.
This year’s presidential executive interns have big dreams and bigger passions
Photos and Story by Sarah Rose Evans
The 2019-2020 Presidential Executive Internship Program participants have the goal of improving the world.
The program is now in its third year, and the cohort this year has interests ranging from immigration law to coral reef restoration to wilderness therapy. Regardless of their interests, they all want to contribute to something larger than themselves, giving back to the community as they learn from Portland Community College’s executive leadership. College President Mark Mitsui and other administrators are excited to help this year’s interns develop the skills needed to make progress towards their goals.
The Presidential Executive Internship Program is individually tailored to each student and their academic and professional interests. During the internship, they get to shadow the executive office and gain insight into the management of a major educational institution, and support PCC’s mission of equitable student success.
This year’s interns are who are Matt Mogck, Logan Roney and Ines Irineo Venegas.
For the past five years, Mogck has used nature as a tool for enabling personal growth for vulnerable populations, such as pediatric cancer survivors or burn victims. As a head guide for a wilderness therapy program, he’s facilitated empowering experiences for those facing adversity while camping and hiking in a stunning landscapes of rivers and forests.
One day he hopes to become a director of his own program, enabling people to get out of urban areas and reap the benefits of spending time in natural and wild places. He’d like to help others make these experiences a regular part of their lives.
“Committing to a career in this field was in many ways the catalyst for my decision to go back to school,” Mogck said. “I want to study outdoor leadership, with an emphasis on education and wilderness therapy.”
Mogck wants to expand access and make these programs available for a wider range of participants.
“I’d like to shift the industry perspective towards a more equitable approach, serving people of all backgrounds,” he continued. “I believe that creating access, whether to a remote river canyon or a financial aid program, is an essential and necessary responsibility for anyone able to do so.”
He’s already learning skills in the internship he will apply in his future career. Mogck said understanding how people here support students has been fascinating, and the program itself has provided an opportunity to demystify the workings of the college.
Logan Roney has overcome some pretty significant challenges in higher education, which Roney hopes will eventually lead to a career restoring the ocean’s coral reefs. Roney is originally from Lowell, Ind., living there until the age of 19. A family rupture caused Roney to move to Oregon without a lot of advance notice.
“I was kicked out of my family for being transgender,” Roney shared. “I had to move to Oregon overnight. I’ve struggled to make ends meet ever since, even to this day.”
Despite these hurdles, Roney is determined to create positive change for the planet and cultivate a big-picture thinking attitude.
“One of my biggest goals is rehabilitating coral reef ecosystems and their inhabitants,” Roney said. “I want to be a marine biologist after college, working on global crisis issues like climate change and ocean pollution.”
Roney plans on going on to earn a master’s degree in ocean science. The internship, Roney said, is an opportunity to learn how to navigate complex organizations, and added, “It’s a way that I can learn to achieve bigger things in my life that I didn’t know how to do by myself.”
Ines Irineo Venegas
“Both of my parents came from very poor families in Mexico, and they never had the chance to go to school,” Irineo Venegas said. “I am both the first generation in my family to finish high school, as well as to go to college. When it came time to apply for scholarships and schools I had no idea what to do and when to do it. PCC was really supportive and this internship has helped me adjust.”
Irineo Venegas believes that higher education should be a basic human right.
“Right now, higher education in this world is a privilege,” she said. “I want to make sure I take advantage of programs like this, because my parents never had opportunities like these.”
During high school, Irineo Venegas worked with her school’s M.E.Ch.A club to create an immigration fund for community members struggling to pay DACA fees or immigration lawyer fees. With her sights on an immigration law degree, she plans to transfer to a four-year school and major in political science.
The experiences she has as a presidential executive intern will help her on her path to law school. She believes leadership is a skill anyone can obtain, “but it starts with the desire to help others.”