The purpose of these In-Depth Intern Spotlights is to take a moment and explore what it means to be an authentic individual within students’ roles as interns in the Greensboro community. We hope you enjoy and take a chance to get to know one of our 2021 Campus Greensboro Fellows. Starlynn Mendez is a Guilford College sophomore majoring in Political Science who has spent her 2021 Campus Greensboro Fellowship being the Camp Coordinator Intern at The Latino Family Center.
Learn more about Starlynn’s story and who she is beyond the Campus Greensboro Fellows Program and intern below.
Who are your mentors in life?
For personal mentorship, I would have to say my dad comes to mind. My dad has always encouraged me to peruse my dreams and stay focused all while providing for our family. Professionally speaking Maria Mayorga, the previous director of the Latino family center when I was a student in the program. She helped me navigate college , career choices and over all hurdles to professionalism. She encouraged me to aim for my own goals instead of waiting for representation in my industry. She has been an amazing mentor and I hope to be that for other students in the future. That is a large part of why I chose this internship .
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I had a heart and passion for teaching. I am happy to say that my passion has shifted to still working with students but more so focused on life and achievement skills. I learned that impacting youth and students didn’t solely lie with their teachers – so many people touch a young student’s life. I am not primarily interested in teaching anymore, but I enjoy working with non-profits and think tanks to change restrictive policy around education rights I still love opportunities to work one on one with students but also being able to create equity on a large scale means the world to me.
Tell us about an experience that sparked personal growth.
I once attended an “undocugraduation” which is a celebratory community event for undocumented students graduating high school. I learned the importance of storytelling . We are so much more that data and statistics . People matter and so do their stories. I also learned how to lobby for change. When injustice is happening — mobilize with others and start the change. I hope to keep attending this event to create safe resources for the Latinx community .
Tell us about a labor of love for you.
My labor of love falls right under my internship – which is working with students! Specifically, I love re-imagining their future with them. Having recently navigated college, I absolutely love helping students find a career path , major and university/college to apply to. I love the look on their faces when someone believes in them and says “yeah, okay let’s make that happen.” I wish I could freeze that moment and bottle the feeling.
Who is someone you would like to meet?
I would love to meet W. E. B. Du Bois. I have a minor in African American studies and reading his bodies of work were inspiring and I also agreed with them . He is an incredible intelligent mind and having the opportunity to have him pour his knowledge and wisdom into me would be absolutely amazing. I am also a bit of a history nerd so I would ask so many questions about unrecorded events and activities.
As a Fellow, intern, and resident of Greensboro, what are some of the things you hope for the future?
I live in High Point, so I am primarily thinking of change I would like to see there, but these could also be applied to the greater Greensboro area as well. I would like to see more libraries on each side of the city for more informational access as well as community development. I would also hope that we could have equitable public development of spaces – more free and aesthetically pleasing open spaces for people to be that are not centered around spending money. Lastly, I would infuse the amount of cultural and ethnic representation in the retail sector.