Like all college students before graduation, Ibraheem Lawal was busy mapping out the next step. Looking to expand his resume, the Crafton Hills College alumnus stumbled upon what he thought would be a great opportunity: an internship for the city of Eastvale. So, he applied.
Six months went by before he got a call from a would-be colleague offering him the job. The timing, Lawal said, couldn’t have been more perfect. “I applied in January and they called me a week after I finished my master’s program (at the University of Redlands) in August,” he said.
Located in western Riverside County and surrounded by more populated areas such as Corona and Norco, Eastvale, one of California’s newest cities, incorporated in October 2010 and continues to experience strong growth each year. Today, more than 73,000 residents – including Lawal – call Eastvale “home,” in large part because of its small-town feel.
Lawal is becoming a jack-of-all-trades for Eastvale, where currently, he shoots and edits videos for the city’s social media channels and conducts research for “different projects whenever they pop up,” he said. Lawal’s internship is through the city’s management team, under the direction of the Eastvale City Manager, Bryan Jones.
Though the job may not directly fall under Lawal’s master’s degree coursework – he majored in information technology at the U of R – Lawal said the internship is exposing him to all aspects of city government, particularly “ how a city “works.”
“I’ll say the best thing about working in a small city is that you get to work in every department, and because the city is growing, there’s always something to do. It doesn’t get boring,” he said.
Lawal knows his future is bright, but the path to get there isn’t always going to be easy.
After graduating from Crafton with an associate’s degree in economics, Lawal transferred to Cal State University San Bernardino. In 2016, he earned his bachelor’s degree in communication-media studies, before moving on to U of R.
Soon, the Eastvale resident plans to launch his own business along with a personal goal to inspire others “to keep going no matter what’s ahead.”
“Be engaged and contribute. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find yourself by putting yourself out there,” Lawal said. “I feel the best way to do this is to build your self-improvement, that’s the best way to go. Learn how to improve yourself every single day.”