Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce interns focus on engaging community

Cristina Aurich (left) and David Tamez (right) stand in front of the International Tree inside the Northeast Chamber of Commerce office. PHOTO/Layne Stracener

Cristina Aurich (left) and David Tamez (right) hard at work on community projects inside the Northeast Chamber of Commerce office. PHOTO/Layne Stracener



Layne Stracener

Editorial Assistant


While Cristina Aurich and David Tamez have different career plans, they both have similar goals for their summer internships at the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce — to gain experience in engaging the community.

Aurich and Tamez began interning at the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce May 20.

Aurich, from Kansas City, Missouri, is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Tamez, from Austin, Texas, is in his fourth year of the Doctor of Philosophy program at The Hall Center of Applied Humanities Fellowship at the University of Kansas.

Aurich said that after she graduates she wants to join the Peace Corps to work with refugees and help give opportunities to people in underprivileged communities. After that, she wants to work for a nonprofit organization as a historic preservation planner.

Aurich said her goal for the internship is to get experience in historic preservation planning and community engagement.

“Working with the community is a goal for me, especially because it’s such a diverse area with a lot of refugees,” Aurich said.

Aurich said she has been working on storefront renovation by creating a motion graphic of what the buildings used to look like, what they look like now and what they can make them look like. She said the biggest challenge is making the best decision for the community. She said the best way for her to overcome this challenge is by getting as many opinions as possible.

“I feel like that’s a big issue with planning,” Aurich said. “Somebody wants something and somebody else wants something else. It’s hard to please everybody. I just have to try to get everybody’s opinion and collaborate and make it the best I can.”

Tamez is currently working on the mural project, a project that finds local artists to paint murals on worn down buildings. He has been engaging the community to choose which mural designs best represent the community. The Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is still accepting submissions for the mural contest. The reveal of the three chosen art boards will be June 7.

“We want to beautify the avenue but also make it something the community can really be proud of,” Tamez said.

Tamez and Aurich have been getting the word out for these projects through social media and community engagement events. They plan to attend neighborhood meetings in the next few weeks.

Tamez said that unlike Aurich, this internship doesn’t have a direct correlation with his degree but that his main goal is also to gain experience engaging the community. Tamez is majoring in philosophy with a focus on philosophy of law. After he graduates, he wants to teach law school and make philosophy more accessible.

“I want people to be part of the conversation,” Tamez said. “Bringing people in to be part of these philosophical conversations is my ultimate goal. These sort of projects, whether it’s philosophy or the mural project, aren’t going to be successful unless we get people’s opinions.”



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