Growing up in Coon Rapids, Minn., Tami Diehm was fascinated by the “inner city.” Her plan to be a social studies teacher changed when she took a class from political science professor Andy Aoki her freshman year.
“When I started college, I did not know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to ‘make a difference’ in the world and have an impact on my community,” says Diehm. “Beginning with my freshman year at Augsburg, emphasis was placed on ‘giving back’ to the community. In one class, we volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and built houses in a Minneapolis neighborhood. In another class, we volunteered with elementary-aged children from a local school.”
In the spring of her junior and senior years, Diehm interned with Anoka County as an intergovernmental assistant for two legislative sessions, reporting back to county officials on major issues of importance to the county. “The internship helped me see the interrelation of the various levels of government and the competing interests of many different groups of people.”
Also during her senior year, she completed a project examining multicultural education in Minneapolis public schools.
Diehm graduated from Augsburg in 1993 with a double major in political science and metro urban studies and double minors in sociology and German. She spent the next several years raising three children but kept in touch with her interests through her appointments to the Columbia Heights Charter Commission and Planning Commission.
After college, Diehm stayed in touch with her advisor, Aoki. While discussing her graduate school plans with him over lunch one day, he asked her, if she could do anything, what it would be. Her answer? Law school, although she thought having three young children prevented her from pursuing this dream. Aoki convinced her that she owed it to herself to check it out.
Three years later, in 2003, Diehm graduated summa cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law, where she had received a full scholarship and brought her youngest child to the preschool across the street. She then spent one year clerking for Justice Russell Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court and currently is an attorney at Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., a law firm with 85 attorneys in Minneapolis. Diehm’s law practice focuses primarily on land use and real estate through which she assists clients as they seek development approvals from local government. She also serves as the City Attorney for Mendota Heights.