It’s not every day that a junior majoring in mechanical engineering finds working with the upper reaches of state government. But that’s exactly what Francesca Goma is doing.
Goma was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz this month to the LGBTQIA2S+ Council, a state group that will advise the governor and Legislature on issues affecting LGBTQ state residents.
She found out about the LGBTQIA2S+ Council position through former student body vice president Idman Ibrahim who said Goma looked like someone who wanted to be involved on campus. Goma applied and was accepted for a position as a senator for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Last year, Goma applied for several positions with Students United, a non-profit organization run by students who are interested in politics and was denied every application. However, she didn’t let that stop her.
“I applied for another position and even though I was denied again, at the bottom of the email, it said, ‘We see you’re wanting to be involved. There are some open positions in the governor’s office if you want to apply,’” Goma said.
The application process included submitting a resume and a cover letter. Goma applied for the equity and equality council first and sent in a video asking about why she would be a good fit for the job. The LGBTQIA2S+ Council then asked for a background check and a follow-up interview.
Goma said she almost missed the deadline for the follow-up, but she was determined to finish it on time.
“I had to buy some books downtown and I couldn’t take the bus back, so I was applying in a coffee shop downtown and I submitted it while I called them asking if I was late. They said they had received it and I was fine,” Goma said.
She said she was shocked when she got the call.
“I wasn’t expecting that. I thought the Senate would have talked to every candidate or that they wouldn’t have gone through with mine,” Goma said.
Goma’s position started Aug. 4 and will run until Jan. 4, 2027.
“I’m a bit stressed about the upcoming events and what’s going to be needed of me, but at the same time, I cannot wait to face the challenges,” Goma said.
While Goma is unsure of the responsibilities her position will bring, she said she’s excited to help others.
“I want to advocate for the LGBTQ people and let them have a voice,” Goma said. “I want to be out there helping people who actually need help, regardless of who they are or what they believe.”
Goma said classes like Public Speaking 101, Speech and Debate classes have helped her prepare for this role. She also credits spending time at the Women’s Center while working on the Collective, a bi-monthly group that helps support the Women’s Center’s mission.
“I talked to a lot of people from different countries and cultures and I realized that’s something that can actually help people brought in for this kind of position,” Goma said.
She said she hopes her time on Walz’ council will help prepare her for future challenges and job applications.
“I believe it’ll be beneficial for my education so when people look at my application, they can say ‘she knows how to talk to people. She knows how to read projects, face challenges,’” Goma said. “Being a part of the council will give me a glimpse of what it’s going to be like.”
Goma’s advice for students seeking leadership roles is to apply for everything.
“The worst answer can be no. It’s not always the end of something. It’s maybe the beginning of something better,” Goma said.
She also wants students to treat others with kindness.
“Even if you don’t associate yourself with LBGTQ+ people, we should treat each other the way we want to be treated,” Goma said.
Head photo: Junior Francesca Goma was looking for a position with Students United and was denied every position. She now is on Gov. Tim Walz’ council for LGBTQIA2S+ people in the state of Minnesota. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
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