With Love for (Both) Washingtons: Meet Luke 

Luke kicks a soccer ball on a salt flat with mountains in the distance

By Malia Mackey— 


Unlike most people living in Seattle, you are actually from Seattle. Where have you been and why did you come back?  


I came back to Seattle after four years of college in Eugene, OR at the University of Oregon (go Ducks!)I was here in Seattle for spring break during the pandemic…and we all know how that ended.  


After graduation, I decided I wanted to do something new, so after a few months working construction in Seattle, I moved to DC. I knew I always wanted to go back to where I was born and get involved in the progressive fight during campaign season. I worked on three political campaigns—two congressional, remote campaigns— (Andy Kim to win reelection in New Jersey and Allen Cohn for FL’s 15th district). During those two remote internships, I was invited to apply for Biden’s campaign to be in the field in Wisconsin and ended up getting hired by Vote Blue. I flew to Eau Claire, WI for two weeks to knock on doors and coordinate volunteers. Eventually, I made my way back to Seattle to reconnect with family.


We’ll see where the wind takes me, but I’ll always have the drive to go back to DC and push the progressive agenda, and I’ll always love both Washingtons. 


Like our last intern Rachel, and our Senior Associate, Kayla, you’re a University of Oregon grad. What drew you to their program, and how did you get over the anti-Duck sentiment here in Seattle?


It’s funny that we have so many connections to U of O!


Aside from being Ducks, both Kayla and I went through the PR sequence at the School of Journalism and Communication. They do an excellent job of preparing you for real-world client work and offer plenty of hands-on experience and opportunities. They prep you to work with clients that you believe in, and to choose work that is meaningful to you—perfect for Minerva!  


Another thing that stands out about Eugene is its community —most people who live there are connected to U of O, and there’s a lot of school/community pride that people carry with them for the rest of their lives. It’s also a very progressive area and being a part of that culture motivates people to use their skills for positive causes.  


Our new intern, Luke Ilgenfritz, posing in front of Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon last Spring.


What social cause is the most near and dear to your heart and why?


Civil rights. BLM has been on the forefront of my mind ever since the murder of George Floyd because it is so present in the media, our conversations, work, everything! It’s an issue and a cause that people have been working on for so long. It’s unbelievable to me that so many people still don’t understand.   


It’s great that Biden was elected—while he won’t defund the police, there will be police reform, which is a major step because the criminal justice system is so deeply steeped in institutional racism. While the Biden administration isn’t perfect (as none are), they will do more than any other administration has and I am excited to further the cause.  


We hear you’re interested in politics and the campaign world—how did your interest start there?  


I was born in DC, both of my parents worked on Capitol Hill until I was three, but then we would continue to go back and forth to visit and see family and friends. Progressive politics was always part of my life growing up, but my personal political fire wasn’t sparked until election night in 2016—when CNN called it for Trump. I was defeated and I heard a roar coming from outside. There were students pouring out of U of O dorm buildings protesting, chanting “not my president,” playing “Fuck Donald Trump.” We marched all over campus, and into the streets of Eugene. That’s when my awareness became a career interest.  


Luke right after he moved to Washington, D.C. as campaign season was started to heat up.


What do you hope never changes?  


I hope that Russel Wilson never retires.  


I also hope that the freedoms and liberties that we have never change—freedom of speech, press, religion, our basic liberties. While we have a long way to go, these are the fundamental values that we can’t afford to lose.  


Why did you choose to intern at Minerva?  


So many reasons! The clients that we work with are amazing, and cover so many different issues. The work impacts big-scale global health, but also at the community level with homelessness and opioid use disorder in Seattle. We even work with Ballard Food Bank, where I volunteered at since I was five years old.


The staff at Minerva was definitely another reason. We know how to get down to work, and get serious when we have to, but there’s also a level of fun and friendliness. I could already sense in the interviews that this was a mission-driven organization with a lighthearted team.  


Has anything surprised you in your time as a Minerva intern yet? 


I didn’t have too many preconceived notions coming into this. I was surprised by how friendly everyone was and the genuine friendships that there are. If it were not a pandemic—it would be an incredibly fun work environment to be in. 


What wasn’t necessarily surprising but does make me so excited to be here, is that I’m happy about the clients that we work with and the direct impact that I am already making. 


What’s your dream job? 


Press Secretary for POTUS. Why not reach for the stars? There are so many issues in our current political system—the lack of trust between the people and elected officials is so extreme, and I want to change that. It comes down to communication between the offices and the people. We need to cut out all of the bullshit and streamline communications. I want everyone to hold each other accountable and reinstating this trust could do wonders for our government and country.  


The abuse of power we see from certain elected officials and acting in self-interest instead of serving the people, their constituents, is something that bothers me, but I think it can be changed. When people trust the people that they elect there will be more efficiency in getting things done.  


Ok, last question: Any rules that you live by? 


On a basic level: Stand up for what I think is right. There is a time and a place to aggressively speak your mind. You have the know when it’s the time and place. But also take the time to have fun because what is life without joy?


Always wear white shoes but don’t try to keep them white. I like the battered, dirty look. 

There isn’t much Luke loves more than being out on the Puget Sound!

And that concludes our deep dive with Luke. Normally we’d tell you to stop by our office, but instead feel free to reach out to him to say hi at intern[at]minervastrategies[dot]com.  

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.