Kalema Boateng, a graduate student in the Public Administration program, is John Jay College’s second student to be accepted to the White House Internship Program. Boateng who majored in psychology, education, and women’s leadership at Barnard College said, “I’m excited and determined to do the best that I can. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, and I am grateful to the White House and to John Jay for this opportunity. I’m going to try to make John Jay proud and everyone who is supporting me.”
Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development Will Simpkins reflected on Boateng’s acceptance to the program, “The White House Internship Program is one of the most prestigious internships, and certainly one of the most competitive, available to college students in the United States. That Kalema Boateng successfully applied, interviewed, and was offered a position speaks tremendously of her professionalism. Kalema will bring our philosophy of ‘Educating for Justice’ to Washington.”
Boateng says that it was John Jay’s mission of “Educating for Justice,” its curriculum, outstanding faculty, and its diverse student body that drew her to the school. She decided to do a dual specialization in Operations and Emergency Management at John Jay because it would provide her with the broadest range of education in event/emergency management to increase her skills.
But, Boateng admits that her true passion is in youth advocacy, women’s leadership, and in helping women and people of color within underserved communities.
“My background made me interested in justice. I was born and raised in the South Bronx-- one of the hardest communities in the Bronx. I’ve seen a lot of teenage pregnancies, high unemployment rates, drug related issues, high incarceration of youth and men of color. These experiences of my own life as well as the political and economic climate honed my interest and passion in public policy and in helping young girls.”
Boateng hopes that the White House Internship Program will help her reach her long term goals of securing a job in federal government which focuses on inner city issues affecting youth, particularly girls. Girls in the inner city, Boateng believes, are most affected by poor self image, self esteem, and the role that the media plays in influencing how girls and young women view themselves.
“I could not walk this earth without trying to help someone know their own rights and without knowing that I was representing justice,” said Boateng.