For the past five weeks, I have been working at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), along with five other students in our DukeEngage group. My role there is slightly different than the others, however, as my time is split between working with the Youth Internship program and working with the Senior Economic Development Coordinator. This opportunity has been incredibly informative, and it has allowed me to research and experience a variety of projects the economic side of the OEWD is involved in. Because my supervisor is in charge of overseeing so many projects at a time, I have the opportunity to experience a wide breadth of activities a local government is often engaged in.
Most of my time is spent researching solutions for various new economic initiatives, but I have also been able to attend different meetings and training sessions. For example, this past Friday I was able to participate in a program called UrbanPlan for Public Officials. This is a program developed by the Urban Land Institute designed to teach participants “about the fundamental forces that affect real estate development in our communities.” I learned a lot, especially since I was coming from a background of knowing absolutely nothing about real estate development. It was also really interesting to work in a group of public officials who were from all different departments, and brought a different perspective to the table. We were tasked with developing a block of real estate using different colored Legos to indicate specific types of real estate. Then, we had to defend our proposal in front of a panel of council members, who were very quick to point out flaws and question our decision-making. I have been learning a lot at the OEWD, and I am planning to enjoy our last week of work there before we travel to England.
On a slightly different note, this past Thursday we had the opportunity to attend a Durham Bulls baseball game. We had great seats – right behind home plate! It was also Afforda-BULL Eats night, which meant most of the food and drinks were on sale! I think I speak for almost everyone in saying that we all enjoyed the game, whether it was watching the game itself or eating all of our favorite ballgame foods. It was a great way to experience more of Durham and have a fun time doing so.