For Pauline, 18, from Germany, getting to experience the inner workings of local government was the cherry on top of a successful exchange year in the U.S.

Each year, Pauline’s host community in northeast Ohio selects a high school student to be  “Treasurer for the Day,” where they get to shadow local leaders and learn all about county finance. For Pauline, this included being “sworn in,” bringing cash to the bank in a police car, and learning all about property taxes.

“It was very exciting to be invited to have this experience,” Pauline said. “Everyone was really nice and kind, and it seemed like they all really enjoyed their jobs there.”

This program is just one example of a unique experience that promotes greater cultural awareness, while allowing Pauline to experience deeper appreciation for what makes her host community special.

“The Treasurer, Mike, took me on a tour to meet prosecutors and the county commissioner — I even got to bang the gavel,” Pauline said. “Lake County is a really special place. People are really proud to live here.”

The following article about Pauline’s experience was republished with permission from the News-Herald, and written by Chad Felton. 

Pauline Messert’s “Northeast Ohio Tour” may have ended, but that doesn’t mean the German foreign exchange student will soon lose sight of the experiences.

The 18-year-old Frankfurt native, who recently completed her studies at Riverside High School, is the recent designee of the “Lake County Student Treasurer of the Day,” a quarterly program that was launched in late 2022 by Lake County Treasurer Mike Zuren.

The initiative introduces students to the daily happenings of the office and includes a full day of activities starting with a swearing-in “ceremony” followed by an introduction with Zuren’s staff.

The opportunity was set up with the assistance of Messert’s hosting organization, International Experience, Zuren noted.

“We were thrilled that she wanted to learn about local government in the United States,” he said.

Messert started by learning tax collection processes, programs, and procedures, spent time with each deputy treasurer reviewing daily operations, and completed a bank run with the Zuren and a Lake County Sheriff’s Office escort.

During the afternoon, she reviewed tax-reduction programs and grants, was updated on remission guidelines, and toured the Lake County Administration Center the administration offices to meet elected officials and department heads.

Messert concluded the program reviewing delinquent tax sales guidelines and investment strategies, policies, and asset management with a deputy treasurer, and received a proclamation commemorating her day.

“I loved my overall experience, and learning about local government and meeting so many officials,” she said, adding her favorite memories of Lake County include attending Riverside and visiting local beaches and Lake Metroparks with her friends.

“It was all unique to me because, where I live there are no close-by beaches.”

Messert, who has visited the United States, previously, returned to Germany June 14.

For more information about the Lake County Student Treasurer of the Day program, email Mike Zuren at or call 440-350-2480.