Kenia Seoane Lopez - CHCI Alumnus November 2012
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Current Job/City: Magistrate Judge, Washington, D.C.
CHCI Program(s)/Year(s): Fellowship 1997-1998
CHCI Placement(s): Congressman Hinojosa and U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
1. What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
The summer after CHCI I completed a summer pre-law institute with the Council on Legal Educational Opportunities (CLEO) at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. After that experience I realized that I needed one more year before I dedicated myself to three years of law school. I deferred law school admission for a year and I worked at Northeastern University in Boston as an admissions counselor. I then enrolled in law school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was there for three years and earned a Juris Doctor and a Master of Arts, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies. I also had the opportunity to study abroad for six months in Santiago, Chile.
After gradation I returned to Boston and I worked as a judicial law clerk for two years. I decided to move to D.C. and have been here since the summer of 2004. I first worked as a law clerk, then as prosecutor for the District, then as a bilingual attorney negotiator for the D.C. Superior Court and recently I was appointed to my current position of Magistrate Judge.
2. What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
The CHCI experience was instrumental to my professional and personal development in so many ways that it could take me days to answer this question. It allowed me to be in this great city and to walk into any gathering with the confidence that I belonged there and that I had something valuable to contribute. The experience also solidified my desire to become an attorney and use my degree to be a public servant. Even though my participation in the program predates the CHCI Alumni Association and a formal mentoring program, I was lucky to have some amazing alumni who mentored me, most notably Susan Santana and Juan Verde. They both continue to mentor me today and have been very influential in my development as a leader and as an attorney. CHCI also brought me to Washington, D.C., a city that I had never visited before but one that I now have the honor to call home and where I am raising my son.
3. How have you stayed engaged in community service?
In law school I was an officer in the Latino Law Student Association. As soon as I arrived to D.C., I became active in the Hispanic Bar Association serving as its president in 2010. I currently still serve on that board. I am also on the board of the Spanish Education and Development Center and the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C. Foundation. I am also involved with activities at my son’s school. I continue to serve as a mentor to many law students and young attorneys in the area.
4. What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
I would advise them to treat everyone with respect as they would like to be treated. You never know where people are going to end up and who will be asked in the future regarding their opinion of you. It almost sounds cliché but it is so true! Also, take the opportunity to meet people for who they are, be genuine about your connection with people and you will find that you will make friends and supporters for a lifetime. Don’t ever let your first question be “so what do you do” or “where do you work”? There is so much you can talk about that will make an impact and that will make them relate to you on a different level than what someone does for a living. Stay in touch with people, tell them what you are up to so they feel invested in your future and when you need assistance they are more likely to help you or put you in touch with someone who can help you. Most of all don’t be afraid to seek advice and guidance from other alums. We have all been where you are and for the most part you will find that we welcome that exchange and the opportunity to help you along your journey.
5. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
In the next five to ten years, I hope to still be a judge serving the residents of the District of Columbia. I am blessed that I have found my calling early in life and every day I get to live my American dream.
Past Alumni of the Month
Mariana Kihuen - December 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Henry Fernandez - November 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Ricardo Zavala - September 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Miryam Catherine Granthon-Gerdine - August 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Angelica Reza Wind - July 2014 Alumna of the Month
Ray Mateo - June 2014 Alumni of the Month
Hayde Calderon - May 2014 Alumni of the Month
Arnoldo Avalos - April 2014 Alumni of the Month
Elizabeth Cedillo - March 2014 Alumni of the Month
Marvin Figueroa - February 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Cris Garza - January 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Jaden Felix - December 2013 Alumni of the Month
2013 Distinguished Alumni - October/November 2013 Alumni of the Month
Fabiola Carrion - September 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Juan C. Otero- August 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Norma Dominguez - July 2013 Alumni of the Month
Francisco Heredia - June 2013 - Alumnus of the Month
Raymond Rico - May 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Alejandra Castillo - April 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Yara Lorenzo - March 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Antonio E. Sandoval & Milagros “Mimi” Aledo-Sandoval - Alumni Couple of the Month
Abel Herrero - January 2013
Jessie Mosqueda - December 2012
Kenia Seoane Lopez - CHCI Alumnus November 2012
Hon. Liza Rodriguez - 2012 Distinguished Alumnus & October 2012 Alumnus
Melissa Chabran - CHCI Alumnus June 2012
Jessie Ulibarri - CHCI Alumnus May 2012
Congressional Staff-CHCI Alumni April 2012
Anthony Alcoser-CHCI Alumnus March 2012
Diana Mendoza-CHCI Alumnus February 2012
Betsaida Alcantara-CHCI Alumnus December 2011
Orson Aguilar - CHCI 2011 Distinguished Alumnus & September 2011 Alumnus
Cynthia T. Cruz-CHCI Alumnus August 2011
Miguel Lopez - CHCI Alumnus July 2011
Alejandro Becerra - CHCI Alumnus June 2011
Staff Members for the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy - CHCI Alumnus May 2011
Happy 30th Anniversary CHCI Fellowship Program!
Raul Magdaleno - CHCI Alumnus March 2011
Carlos Elizondo -- CHCI Alumnus December 2010
Ana M. Polanco -- CHCI Alumnus April 2010
Sami Hamed -- CHCI Alumnus March 2010
Couple Edition -- CHCI Alumnus February 2010
CHCI Alumni Association Chapters' Special Edition - October 2009
Edith Rocío Robles -- CHCI Alumnus August 2009
Silvia Inéz Salazar--CHCI Alumnus July 2009
Francisco J. Uribe CHCI Alumnus June 2009
Heidy Servin-Baez CHCI Alumnus April 2009
March 2009: White House Edition
William (Bill) Arce CHCI Alumnus February 2009
Stephanie Valencia CHCI Alumnus January 2009
Miguel Ayala CHCI Alumnus December 2008
Eric Rodriguez-CHCI Alumnus November 2008
Sonia Ramirez CHCI Alumnus October 2008
Mildred Otero CHCI Alumnus September 2008
Juan Ciscomani CHCI Alumus August 2008
Leo Prieto CHCI Alumnus July 2008
Octavio Saenz CHCI Alumnus June 2008