Summer interns at Maine DOE

The Department hosted four interns this summer. MLTI and the Migrant Education Program benefited from the talent, energy and time of these college students. Fiona Sterling of Richmond attends Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts, where she is majoring in Management and Leadership. She was joined by Richmond native, Ashley Godbout of Hallowell who is an education major at the University of Maine Farmington.

MLTI Director Mike Muir says, “Our interns were a significant addition to our team this summer. We were able to hand off important tasks and projects to each with a minimum of direction, and they were self-starters in getting the tasks done. Among other things, Fiona took on communication and design tasks, and has sorted out important agreements needed with emerging and new districts.”

Recruiting in the field
Migrant Education Program intern Jesse Juntura recruiting in the field
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MLTI intern Fiona Sterling

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) hosted two interns working not only in Augusta but in Aroostook and Washington Counties as well. Laura Perez of Biddeford who is majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Anthropology and Political Science at the University of Maine Orono and Jesse Juntura of Greene is majoring in Government/Global Studies at Colby College.

Their return to the classroom follows a summer of meeting families who travel hundreds and thousands of miles to pick, rake, cut, and process Maine’s crops of broccoli in Aroostook County and the vast blueberry barrens in Hancock and Washington Counties.

Perez and Juntura participated in a 12-week internship with the Maine Migrant Education Program (MEP), a federally funded program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title I, Part C) that provides educational services to migrant agricultural and fishing workers and their children. A major portion of the program’s responsibilities are interviewing the families and ensuring that they meet the requirements to receive federal funds. This was the task of the MEP interns this summer following weeks of training and orientation and in-office work to update previous research and aggregate data before the in-field assignments to sign up families and children that move with the crops across the country to put foods on America’s tables.

Migrant Education Program interns Laura Perez and Jesse Juntura
Migrant Education Program interns Laura Perez and Jesse Juntura

Their main responsibility was to complete a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for each qualifying family, the national form which qualifies students for the MEP. In late July and early August, Perez and Juntura made four consecutive trips to Aroostook County and Washington County where they completed over 40 COEs to make sure one of America’s most disadvantaged student populations received timely services such as participation in the Blueberry Harvest School in Harrington, one-on-one tutoring and interstate coordination with the students’ primary school.

“In those four weeks in the field, these interns visited four sites in Aroostook County where workers and families stay for the broccoli harvest, and they visited over ten locations in Hancock and Washington County where families live and work for the blueberry harvest,” says Migrant Education Program Director, David Fisk. “They met families that travel internationally from Canada, Mexico, and other countries, from other US states, and from other Maine towns. They both conversed with families in English and Spanish and created a professional and welcoming environment for our students to learn while in Maine.”

The Maine State Government Summer Internship Program began in 1967 (enacted by the 103rd Legislature, Public Law, Chapter 493) with the aim of attracting ambitious and talented college students for experience within State Government. The full-time, 12-week, paid term combines work experience with an educational program designed to give students the opportunity to actively participate in and contribute to Maine State Government. Maine DOE has benefited greatly from the talented interns over the years.