First high-schooler interning for MLT

  • Tue Feb 14th, 2012 6:53pm

By Katie Murdoch Herald writer

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Sixteen-year-old Sydney White isn’t shy about going after what she wants.

This confidence and drive helped her land an internship with the city of Mountlake Terrace. White is the city’s first intern who is still in high school.

“She’s a go-getter,” city clerk Virginia Olsen said.

Last fall city manager John Caulfield and his staffers, including Olsen, delivered a “Finance 101” presentation to select students at Mountlake Terrace High School. White was in the audience. When staffers casually mentioned the possibility of offering internships to high school students, White recognized an opportunity.

After the presentation, she introduced herself and later emailed them about being considered for an internship.

“I thought, ‘I have to go talk to them, there’s no way I’m passing up an opportunity,’” she said. “It inspired me; I can make a change.”

The sophomore has political aspirations that include running for a seat on City Council once she turns 18.

“I don’t know if I’d win, but just to see the process would be cool,” she said.

A career in politics doesn’t worry her.

“I have a really thick skin,” she said. “I could care less what people think about me. I know who I am.”

White began her internship last week. She’ll spend six hours a week shadowing staffers and attending meetings, including City Council and Lodging Tax Advisory meetings, to get a feel for government in action. White is juggling the internship with her schoolwork, golf, tutoring, DECA and her school’s Spirit Council.

“I want to make valuable connections with people and keep them up,” White said.

Staffers will help White fine-tune her goals and see all sides of city government to find a place that fits.

“You have to try things to know if you’ll like it,” Olsen said.

White will also network with city and county leaders and is working closely with Olsen on bridging the gap between the city and young people in Mountlake Terrace through media and her seat on her school’s Associated Student Body.

“Sydney has given us new communication avenues,” Olsen said.