The Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP), run by the Career Development Office, is an opportunity for students to get real-world experience in a career field but often it can be a gateway to helping solve real-world issues, and Max Ober’s experience during this summer internship program is a perfect example of that.
The Oxford, Maryland native spent this past summer immersed in a world he never could have imagined he would be in: local government.
“I wasn’t really involved in local politics back home, so this was the first time I really got involved. It was a really rewarding experience,” says Ober, a senior double majoring in international relations and Romance languages and literatures.
Ober interned with City of Claremont's Mayor Pro Tem Jed Leano. An immigration attorney by trade, Leano is serving his first term on the city council and one of his main focuses is to address the issue of affordable housing in the city of trees and Ph.Ds.
“I am glad that I had the opportunity to show Max ways he can work on important things like poverty, housing, and sustainability in a city hall, just in the same way that he can in a county, state or federal government agency,” Leano says.
Ober played a role in getting an updated ordinance on inclusionary housing passed in Claremont, which was adopted by the city council in September. The ordinance will allow for more low-income families to qualify for housing in new developments and to keep developers from skirting the requirements for low-income housing.
“We had to spend a lot of time mobilizing citizens, nonprofits and activists to push for the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. The overarching lesson was there are so many different community organizations that can have an influence. I know how to get involved in the future,” Ober says.
Leano describes Ober as bright, well-organized and exceptionally gifted.
“Max was instrumental in helping me prepare to get that law passed. People will be housed because of his work,” Leano says.
Ober says though his majors are not directly tied to public policy and his plans after graduation are not quite mapped out, he appreciates the experience PCIP allowed him to have helping solve an issue facing the Claremont community.
“It deepened my connection with the community and really enriched my time here at Pomona as well,” Ober says.