We're so fortunate to have an inspiring, talented and committed cohort of summer interns joining us in our New York and DC offices this summer. Hear from them about where they've been and what brought them to Living Cities.

Austin Powell

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Powell joined Living Cities in June 2018 as an intern on the Equipt to Innovate team. He currently attends the University of Oxford in England where he is reading for a Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Before the University of Oxford, Austin obtained his Bachelors from the University of Mississippi with degrees in Public Policy Leadership and Philosophy. While at the University of Mississippi, Powell served as the 2016-2017 Associated Student Body President as well as facilitating a leadership and entrepreneurial development class at Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs, Mississippi on behalf of the McLean Institute of Public Service and Community Engagement.

What do you think is most needed today to close racial income and wealth gaps?

When specifically considering racial income inequality, I think, a helpful approach would be the government’s recognition of the historical context of institutional exclusion through various public policy avenues. By reviewing tax, criminal justice, urban housing, and banking policies through a racial disparity audit, I believe that governing bodies and people will have a full understanding of the impact of policies that had racially exclusive effects, along with a continued commitment from various government and corporate partners to prioritize the issue of racial income inequality.


Carina Gormley

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Carina Gormley is a rising junior at Yale University, majoring in architecture and concentrating in urban studies. While at school, she does qualitative public health research on diabetic adults eligible for rent assistance in New Haven; is a board member of the university’s hunger and homelessness action project; and gets involved in local policy and placemaking projects. She has worked as a leading member of a Yale-based education start-up, and has served on the community engagement team for the university’s undergraduate prison project. Carina is interested in behavioral science, positive psychology, urbanism, social equity, design and storytelling.

What attracted you to Living Cities?

Growing up with opportunities to travel and connect with individuals of diverse backgrounds and experiences, I believe it is critical that communities find ways to empower themselves and celebrate their potential. Living Cities’ mission to support low-income people and its thoughtful, rigorous approach to internal and external growth presents an exciting opportunity to participate in a highly-productive socially-conscious organization. The focus on community and impact is important and its successful execution exciting.


Cooper Penn

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Cooper is a current Design Management Graduate student at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and also holds a BFA in Photography from SCAD. His experience includes 10+ years as a Lighting Technician and Photographer/Videographer, five years as a Photo Assistant to world renowned Photographers in NYC, two years as Principal Photographer and Art Director for LUVU Brands, and two years as the Brand Manager and Communications Director for Senator Janelle K. Sarauw of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Throughout his career he has also grown a better understanding of self and how he can utilize his experiences to help others. This was a rocky road of identity checking, cultural understanding, and creating the space to empathize and not simply sympathize. Much of this he attributes to his wife, a strong, black, veteran, who grew up in poverty. This growth has evolved his personal work, garnering him recognition through various art exhibitions, namely Atlanta Photography Groups Airport Show of his work Idols of the Tribe, and his work Culture Goals which traveled to Cuba for the Casa De Las Americas Caribbean show.

What’s something people might not know about you?

After buying a motorcycle to commute in Atlanta I joined a motorcycle club. The president took me out to a track day at Road Atlanta Raceway, and I was immediately hooked on motorcycle racing. This turned into me starting the group Not Made for the Street in which I created content to encourage sport bike riders to take their machines to a closed course track in order to learn how to ride and hopefully keep them from doing dangerous actions on the street. (Check it out!)


Jasmine Tew

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Jasmine is a rising senior at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a BA degree in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in Policy Planning and minor in Political Science. She has worked on projects to provide Myanmar refugees quality education and to connect new immigrants in Champaign with local resources through an online platform.

What attracted you to Living Cities?

I joined Living Cities to learn more about policies for affordable housing and strategies for reducing income gaps in the urban environment. A bottom-up approach is essential to close racial income and wealth gaps. In the process of creating accessible opportunities, we should consider and address the structural flaws that have resulted to the disparity in the first place.


Julienne Kaleta

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Julienne Kaleta is a rising senior studying Professional Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). Her background is in community organizing through roles as a resident assistant, senator on Student Government Association, and executive board member of the UNCW NAACP. She networks with campus administration and local organization leaders with goals of building upon initiatives for diversity growth at her university and improving resources for survivors of sexual violence.

What do you think is most needed today to close racial income and wealth gaps?

I believe that closing the racial wealth and income gap requires public consciousness to be accompanied by progressive policy in government and business. I have found that advancement is most impactful when it is developed by people with many perspectives and backgrounds. Living Cities is exciting to me because it is a successful model of what can be produced when collaboration and racial equity are prioritized. Learning from Living Cities, I aspire to build a career that uplifts and empowers communities, and in my spare time, to hike every national park in the United States.


Tarek Deida

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Tarek Deida joined Living Cities in the summer of 2018 as a fellow through the Frank Karel Fellowship. Living Cities focus on racial equity as well as its self-awareness throughout the implementation of its social impact work attracted Tarek to the organization. Tarek Deida is a rising senior at Columbia University, majoring in history with a concentration specifically in 20th century American History. At Columbia, Tarek continues to find new ways to engage with and uplift both his regional and school communities, whether it’s interning for the NAACP, the New York City Office of the Mayor or participating in Columbia College’s Student Council. One fun fact about Tarek is that he’s lived in 6 different countries Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Gambia, France and of course the U.S.A.

What do you think is most needed today to close racial income and wealth gaps?

I believe that the incorporation of marginalized voices within social impact conversations is most important when dealing with issues concerning racial income and wealth gaps. I also believe that organizations and institutions working to address systemic issues must follow in the footsteps of Living Cities and adopt a culture of self-awareness, so that lack of accountability does not shorthand their pursuit of social good.