March 8 2017

Say YES to STEP-UP Achieve

by Matt Norris, STEP-UP Achieve Manager of Employer Engagement

Lukman with Richard Davis and Mayor Betsy Hodges

STEP-UP Achieve alum Lukman—like so many of our interns and alums— is well on his way to taking the world by storm. 

Last summer Lukman completed his second STEP-UP Achieve internship as a Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB) Registry Assistant at Children’s Minnesota—literally assisting with cancer research as a high school student. In the fall he began studies at Normandale Community College in preparation for the long journey toward becoming a pediatric oncologist. He also continues to volunteer at Children’s once a week. 

Lukman joined his supervisor Gretchen Williams at our recent STEP-UP Achieve Partners Breakfast to share stories about his internship and how he will use this experience to shape a medical career he'd never imagined before. Our STEP-UP Achieve employers, prospective employers and community leaders who were attending the event were amazed at the kind of work Lukman performed during his internship and the support he received at Children's.

Gretchen and Lukman
Lukman and Gretchen at our STEP-UP Achieve Partners Breakfast


Yet, this life-changing opportunity nearly didn’t happen.

So often it’s easier to let the reasons not to do something overwhelm the compelling reasons why we should.  At the Partners Breakfast, Gretchen detailed the many reasons why she was hesitant to take on a high school intern last summer. She didn’t have time to train someone. She had never worked with a high school student before. She worried the work would be boring for a student.

These are the kinds of concerns we often hear when reaching out to prospective STEP-UP Achieve employers and supervisors. But at the Partners Breakfast, Gretchen told our prospective employers, “I’m here to tell you that I am so glad I challenged myself, ignoring the negative and focusing on the positive.”

What Gretchen found in Lukman was an engaged young man who not only helped her get important work done but was genuinely inspired by the experience. Lukman helped organize radiology CDs that had accumulated over the years and catalogued them in a spreadsheet to make them more useful to researchers in the future.

He also spent a day shadowing a pediatric oncologist, which he says was the “most profound moment” among his many professional development experiences at Children's. “I learned that medicine was more than an art of science but also a field of humanity," he says. And this experience opened the doors to an exciting new career.

Because Gretchen said “yes” to STEP-UP Achieve, she had a tremendously rewarding summer, checked off a key project from her to-do list, and provided a young person with an outstanding experience that helped transform his life path and potentially the lives of the people he will serve as a medical professional.

It’s so easy to say “no. But the stories of our STEP-UP Achieve supervisors, including those in our new video, show why it’s so important to say “yes.”  Learn how you can become a STEP-UP Achieve employer and transform the life of another young person this summer.

Lukman with other interns and city leaders
Lukman with MPS Superintendent Ed Graff, STEP-UP Co-chair Richard Davis, Mayor Betsy Hodges, STEP-UP Achieve alum Nimco, STEP-UP Co-chair R.T. Rybak, AchieveMpls CEO Danielle Grant, and STEP-UP Achieve alum Zaynab.