On Thursday, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere kicked off his summer internship program for 2021 virtually. With sponsors, alumni, and partners, he celebrated the program’s success for the last time. LaRosiliere has served as Plano’s mayor since 2013. He will step down for the May 1, 2021 election because of term limits.
LaRosiliere started the program in 2014, and since then, the program has grown exponentially. The 2021 program reached the maximum number of applications — 400 — before the March 1 deadline even hit, Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bosner said.
“We started off with 32 students in 2014, and over the years, we’ve had over 600 students go through the program. I’m so proud of every single one of them for what they’ve done,” LaRosiliere said.
The Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program, presented by Capital One, connects Plano ISD students with top companies and non-profits in the area, according to a press release from the City of Plano. All students receive paid internships, and they last eight weeks.
To honor the mayor’s last program kick-off, two 2020 interns and eight alumni from previous years spoke about their experiences and appreciation for the program.
Plano Mayor Summer Internship Program Alumni
Olivia McCoy, a senior at Plano East High School, interned at the Plano Chamber of Commerce during summer 2020. She said the mayor’s internship program helped her learn about the corporate world and plan her future.
“I’m still waiting on a few college decisions, but I most likely will be attending Tulane University next year with a full-tuition scholarship, where I plan to double major in environmental biology and international relations on a pre-law track,” McCoy said.
An alumni from the program’s first class of 2014, McKenna Black, graduated from Texas Christian University in May 2020. She is now a first-year graduate student pursuing her master’s in security policy studies at George Washington University. She said the mayor’s program exposed her to crucial leadership and management skills at just 16.
One of the program’s alumni is now living in Uruguay. Vince Buccini, a 2016 PMISP alumni, is a junior at Universidad ORT in Montevideo. He hopes to become fluent in Spanish and learn about business in Latin America.
“I’m very proud to be a member of the international business program at the University of South Carolina, which has been ranked No. 1 for the last 20 years,” Buccini said.
Another 2020 intern, Plano West High School senior Grant Stapleton, interned virtually at Frito-Lay/Pepsi, Co. He said he had expected some companies to cancel the internships because of COVID-19.
“I was stoked when I found out that instead of spending my summer on my couch, eating potato chips, I was going to be able to intern at Frito-Lay, the maker of those potato chips,” Stapleton said. “In all seriousness, this internship gave me the opportunity to explore many different career paths.”
Aakriti Guar, a 2015 PMISP alumni, graduated with dual degrees in accounting and supply chain management from the University of Illinois. She also made the dean’s list. She now works at Grant Thorton, LLP, in risk advisory and is in the process of getting her CPA.
The Internship Program’s Legacy
Bosner, who LaRosiliere called his “rock,” added that Plano ISD “could not be prouder” of their partnership with the mayor and city for the internship program. Representatives from Capital One and JP Morgan Chase also expressed their gratitude for being part of the program.
“We are proud of your devotion, and we’re proud to have partnered with you and the City of Plano in ensuring that we are preparing a workforce that is ready for the future,” Bosner said. “And so thank you for this legacy.”
At the end of the kick-off, on behalf of all the students who have participated in the internship program, McCoy and Stapleton gave him a present. The mayor read “do not open.”
Inside was a crystal, reading: “For your vision, passion and commitment to a brighter future for Plano youth. In gratitude, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Plano Mayor summer internship program.”
“This is one of [LaRosiliere’s] last formal events because a new mayor will be elected in May. We’re so thankful for his generous spirit, his passion for young people, and his devotion to making Plano the best city in the world,” McCoy said. “He inspired us with his powerful words and messages, made us laugh with his colorful socks and carpool karaoke, and motivated us to take the last shot and be our very best.”
LaRosiliere noted that not only has his program impacted others, but it has also impacted him personally.
“When you’re in this position, sometimes people ask you, ‘Why do you do it?’” LaRosiliere said. “And you look back at something like this. You say, ‘Here’s why.’ Because as a community, we can connect the business, government, education. Put that all together for the benefit of our future.”