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Mayor and mentor: Program at MSU kicks off

Posted at 3:15 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 18:25:27-05

BOZEMAN – Being the mayor of any city is no easy job and there’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes.

A Montana State University student is learning first-hand what the job is truly like – the Mentored by the Mayor Program is one that was piloted last year between the city of Bozeman and MSU and it’s now in full swing.

Mayor Cyndy Andrus said when selecting a student she interested in working with ones in various backgrounds, who might want to pursue public service in their professional careers.

“I think engineers work in the black and Heather is really interested in that grey area, understanding how you take these ideas and turn them into policy,” Andrus said.

Pursuing her Master’s degree in civil engineering, Heather Nold was selected as the student for the Mentored by the Mayor Program this year.

She’s getting the full behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to lead a city.

“Learning the nuts and bolts of how policy goes together,” said Nold. “(I’m) Also learning the background of what it takes to be a leader of the mayor’s stature and all the soft skills that go into that. It’s been a really great part of this program, and then the technical skills that go along with that. How do you communicate these really complex ideas?”

Not only has she had exposure to the Mayor’s work but alongside that, she is researching strategies for managing Bozeman’s water supply and focusing on water resources

“I think the point is, that it’s something that is interesting to her, it’s an issue that we talk about a lot in our community and it’s around water resources, water conservation and I’m really excited to see what will happen and how we will be able to perhaps use this research going forward,” Andrus said.

With engineering in her future after graduation this spring, there’s the possibility she will too become a female leader.

“I think it’s really important having a strong female role as a mentor growing up,” Nold said. “I’ve gained a lot from that I think and that’ll speak bounds as I move on in my career.”

Mayor Andrus said she hopes this is a program that continues in years to come.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News

Graduate student Heather Nold and City of Bozeman Cyndy Andrus discuss the plan for the week.