Miguel Ayala CHCI Alumnus December 2008
Communications Director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) - Washington, DC
Internship 1998: Office of Congressman Luis Gutierrez
What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
The summer I spent in the CHCI internship really opened my eyes to many things, both politically and personally. Immediately upon returning to DePaul that fall, I began the process of becoming a Brother of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc., due in part to some of the people I met during the internship. The following two summers after the CHCI internship, I interned for First Lady Hillary Clinton's Senate Exploratory Committee and then the full-fledged campaign. I also became a resident advisor at DePaul, and when I finished my undergraduate degree in 2002, I initially moved to D.C. to pursue a career in higher education, working at the George Washington University and George Mason University. The capitol dome, however, pulled me back to the Hill. I started as a staff assistant for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and served as legislative correspondent and legislative assistant in her office before joining the CHC staff.
What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
In those eight weeks a wealth of knowledge was shared with us. Whether it was from the staff in the offices we were placed in (in my case, my congressman at the time, Luis Gutierrez), the Members themselves, our fellow interns, or the meetings with various other leaders, we were given a crash course on how things work and how to get things done. The experience really opened up my mind on ways I could be involved to help other students and the Latino community at large. Once I was back on the Hill as a staff assistant, I believe the CHCI experience gave me the knowledge I needed to be successful and excel.
How have you stayed engaged in community service?
One way I have stayed involved has been through my fraternity. Community service is one of the principles of the Brotherhood, and we live up to the principle in many ways. We participated in the University's Annual Service Day, we've conducted service events as part of our national meetings and retreats, and I've encouraged members who have joined after me to really get involved with community service at various levels. When I can, I personally give my time to helping various groups and organizations.
What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
I wish I had kept a journal. Looking back, I wish I could remember more of the details of the things we did, but overall, I think a journal would help someone continue to appreciate their experience for many more years to come. I also encourage classes of CHCI participants to formalize their association beyond the program, by being engaged with the Alumni Association and creating the means for them to stay in touch with each other. Lastly, they must pay it forward. They need to go back to their schools and communities and spread the word about the programs, and once they are in the professional world, give back to CHCI both financially and with their presence at CHCI events.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Since a very young age, in high school, I have wanted to run for office. In high school, I had the opportunity to run for our local school council, and also to serve on the Chicago School Board of Trustees. In a conversation I had with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. back then, he told me that "there is no greater public service then to serve your community in elective office." My internship with CHCI and the experiences that the program opened up for me have greatly reinforced that. So within the next 5-10 years, I hope to run for office representing the people of Chicago, IL, in some capacity, be it locally, state-wide, or at the federal level.
Past Alumni of the Month
Nathaly Arriola - April 2015 Alumnus of the Month
Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr. - March 2015 Alumni of the Month
Martha L. Bahamón - February 2015 Alumni of the Month
2013-14 CHCI Alumni Executive Board - January 2015 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