Press Releases

Mills College President Janet L. Holmgren Establishes Summer Internship Program in Partnership with the City of Oakland

Oakland, CA–April 06, 2011 Mills College is pleased to announce "Investing in Oakland: A Mills College Summer Internship Program" established by President Janet L. Holmgren, in partnership with the City of Oakland, to assist in the revitalization of the city. The innovative program will be comprised of five internship projects staffed by approximately two dozen undergraduate and graduate student interns who will participate in community efforts directly related to the economic and human development of Oakland.

"In creating these collaborative internships, Mills College is able to demonstrate its strong commitment to the Oakland community in a substantially focused way," said President Holmgren. "Students will be immersed in projects which will provide opportunities for a significant learning experience, while at the same time producing measurable benefits for Oakland's residents."

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has targeted several priority areas for the internship projects which include education, neighborhood safety, economic development, sustainability, and mentoring. The internships will be administered by Mills faculty and staff and will entail close collaboration with City of Oakland departments, or community-based organizations working on city initiatives.

In partnership with Alameda County's primary provider of services for former foster youth, one noteworthy project called "Education and Workforce Development Internship at Beyond Emancipation," expects to establish a career advisory network. It will be comprised of professionals working in fields identified to have projected job growth, and that are of interest to youth. The goal of the network is to develop productive strategies to help foster youth realistically explore education goals and career options designed to greatly increase the likelihood of becoming independent, successful adults.

"Complete Streets: Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Transportation Options for Oakland" will be developed in collaboration with Oakland's public works department. This project will research city traffic and parking conditions to support "Complete Streets," a new planning initiative with an emphasis on pedestrian, bicycle, public transit, and automotive transportation options in order to revitalize urban neighborhoods and commercial corridors in Oakland. Interns will perform research, collect data, and prepare reports on their findings for presentation to city public works staff, thereby gaining professional experience in public works and planning.

"Tai Chi Chats: Grassroots Cultural Mapping to Protect and Advocate for the Future of Oakland's Madison Park" plans to support a local grassroots effort to preserve the future of the park which is currently threatened by expansion plans for the Lake Merritt Bart station area. In partnership with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, five interns will conduct ethnographic research to create a "cultural map." The map will incorporate oral history excerpts, data analysis, time-lapse photography and video, and digital maps disclosing current use of the space, as well as design improvements that Chinatown residents would like to see implemented at the park. Student interns will present their research at several upcoming public planning meetings with the hope that their work will positively impact future redevelopment plans for the neighborhood.

Job growth is the focus of "Supporting Economic Development and Job Creation in Oakland." This project will be dedicated to expanding jobs and fostering economic development through entrepreneurship. Interns from the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College will provide support to Inner City Advisors and Centro Community Partners, two highly effective community organizations focused on the goal of supporting entrepreneurship in Oakland through the development of sustainable local businesses. As part of their efforts, student interns will design an advanced entrepreneurship course and serve as advisors to aspiring entrepreneurs.

The fifth project, "Dare to Imagine: Olympian Thinking for Oakland Youth," is based on a highly successful transformational mentoring program, Olympian Thinking. This program incorporates an effective methodology combining passion, vision, and finally, action, which enables individuals to become high achievers. Mills interns will be trained to teach this model to youth and to partner organizations including the City of Oakland Parks and Recreation Department, the East Oakland Youth Development Center, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland so that each site can continue to provide these tools in the future.

Internships will take place for consecutive periods ranging from six to eight weeks, between June 1 and August 1, 2011. Students will be paid a taxable stipend ranging from $2,000 to $2,500, based on the total number of hours worked, prior experience, and commitment to the project. The number of interns assigned to each project will vary depending on the scope of the project.

About Mills College
Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to over 950 undergraduate women and more than 600 graduate women and men. The College ranks as one of the Best 373 Colleges in the country and one of the greenest colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills one of the top-tier regional universities in the country and second among colleges and universities in the West in its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category. For more information, visit

Pam Gould
Media Relations Manager

Last Updated: 8/30/11