Written by Brianna Sanders, RNDC Intern
Alejandra Bejarano, a current fellow at Region Development Commission (RNDC), grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. She got a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and management from Dalton State College. Alejandra first joined Mankato’s community in 2018 when she became a graduate student at Minnesota State University – Mankato studying public administration. At MSU, there is a large international student community that helped Alejandra adapt to the new city and feel a sense of belonging. Along the way, she also made strong connections with community members which helped make her feel like a welcomed part of the community. She accepted an internship at RNDC during her master’s degree to get some practical experience in the area. She was recommended to look into opportunities at RNDC by a friend and felt like RNDC had various exciting projects. The variety of projects helped her get a lot of experience in multiple areas. Alejandra enjoyed working on the SPRINT Challenge. Through a collaboration with MSU-M and RNDC, this funding opportunity would establish a regional Economic Recovery Center to help with the crisis caused by the pandemic and to support stakeholders in sustaining economic resiliency. She was able to use her knowledge from her schooling for this project and was able to learn about the grant application process.
Alejandra became a Lead for Minnesota (LFM) Fellow in the summer of 2020. As a LFM Fellow, Alejandra has two components to the fellowship. She works on projects for RNDC and then also some work for the fellowship. Lead for Minnesota is a two-year-long, paid fellowship that places dynamic and diverse leaders, between the ages of 21 to 30, in communities within their home state to work with local, public institutions to improve community well-being. Fellows are given the opportunity to work within public institutions, like RNDC, to gain access to and an understanding of the roles needed to grow and support a vibrant community. She is given tasks, like the listening tour, to look at the community needs and to come up with a project and initiative to help tackle some of the needs in the community. There are also training, networking, and meetings with other fellows. In the future, Alejandra wants to continue to work on projects that impact the community positively. It has been rewarding for her to see the results of the initiatives and the impact that some of the projects have on small communities. The work at RNDC has been very rewarding for Alejandra. Overall, she plans to work in a field that will have a positive impact on communities.