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Jose A. Medina-March 2007

Placement 1:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Stamp Program
Placement 2: Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16)
Hometown: El Paso, TX
University of Texas at El Paso, Political Science, M.A. candidate
Vassar College, B.A., Sociology and Political Science

For many, social justice is a concept embodied only in the Hollywood’s greatest films —Erin Bockavich, A Civil Action, and so on. But today’s real heroes are not Julia Roberts or John Travolta, and they walk not the hills of Hollywood, but the halls of Congress.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Graduate Fellow, Jose Medina is one such hero in the making.

A native of El Paso, TX, Jose’s contributions date to his college years. As a Vassar College Compton-Mentor Fellow, Jose advanced an alternative educational model for Mexican, rural migrant teens in the Hudson Valley, NY. Also during college, Jose worked as a Ford Scholar in the department of Political Science, where with Professor Katherine Hite, he studied the authoritarian legacy in post-Pinochet Chilean popular media.

During this time, Jose also worked as an intern at Vassar's multicultural safe space, the African-American/Black, Latino, Asian-American/Asian, Native-American (ALANA) Student Cultural Center. Serving as a Center representative to the greater Vassar community, Jose became deeply committed to addressing questions of institutionalized racism and classism, from both an academic and grassroots perspective.

Following his work as a Compton-Mentor Fellow, Jose returned to El Paso and enrolled in the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Masters program in Political Science. There, much of his work centered upon the democratic merits of legal secularism. At UTEP, Jose also interned for Federal District Judge David Briones; was a Teaching and Research Assistant in the Department of Political Science and the Center for Law and Border Studies (CLBS); and served as an Assistant Editor for the Journal of Law and Border Studies, a legal journal centered upon political and legal issues unique to the border region.

As a CHCI Fellow, Jose jumped right into his first placement at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and under the guidance of the Administrative Review Division Branch Chief, Jose reconstructed the hearings process for the State Food Stamp Appeals Board. For example, when a state agency is charged with violating Food Stamp Regulations, it has the right to appeal. Given the nature of the offense and the resources involved, the appeal goes before a federal board. State agencies have the right to an administrative hearing. He re-constructed the hearings process, from discovery to witness examination, to judicial rights. Jose interpreted the Code of Federal Regulations and used it as his guidance. USDA is now the last line of appeals before a state moves to the federal courts.

In his second placement — the office of Congressman Reyes — Jose is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus liaison, helping to write floor statements, press releases, columns and blogs.

It won’t be long before Jose is worthy of his own Hollywood fame, “based on a true story:” After his work as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Jose will attend law school to pursue public service, both from a grassroots and an intellectual standpoint.

Past Fellow of the Month

Israel Nery - May 2015 Fellow of the Month
Sarah Diaz - April 2015 Fellow of the Month
Rafael Hurtado Jr. - March 2015 Fellow of the Month
Claudia Flores and Emily Noriega - February 2015 Fellows of the Month
Braulio Salas - January 2015 Fellow of the Month
Araceli Gutiérrez - December 2014 Fellow of the Month
Margarita Chavez - November 2014 Fellow of the Month
Cheye-Ann Corona - October 2014 Fellow of the Month
Eric Hernandez - May 2014 Fellow of the Month
Scott Astrada March 2014 Fellow of the Month
Daphne Delgado - February 2014 Fellow of the Month
Carolina Rizzo - January 2014 Fellow of the Month
Elizabeth Padilla-Crespo - December 2013 Fellow of the Month
Yesenia Lopez - November 2013 Fellow of the Month
Norma Salazar-Ibarra and Pedro Suarez: October 2013 Fellows of the Month
Reuben Kapp - May 2013 Fellow of the Month
Michael Bueno - Fellow of the Month - April 2013
Jennifer Castillo - Fellow of the Month March 2013
Morgan Brand - Fellow of the Month February 2013
Aurelia De La Rosa Aceves & Daniel Lind - January 2013
Aurelia de la Rosa Aceves - January 2013
Pamela Diaz - December 2012
Jose Plaza - November 2012
Elizabeth Salinas - April 2012
Mario Flores - March 2012
Tomas Robles, Jr. - February 2012
Cristal Ruiz - December 2011
Monica Bautista - November 2011
Alyssa Padilla - May 2011
Josefina Villanueva - April 2011
Alexis Ruiz - March 2011
Judith Perez -- February 2011
Romie Barriere -- December 2010
Miguel Lopez -- November 2010
Evelia Castillo -- May 2010
Julio Costa - April 2010
Ulises A. Gonzalez - March 2010
Andrea Serra - February 2010
Bertha Guerrero - January 2010
Rebecca Medina - December 2009
Rita Rico - November 2009
Craig Martinez-May 2009
Daniel Montes-April 2009
Stephen Perez-March 2009
Veronica Duron-February 2009
Esther Valle-April 2008
Robert Fuentes-March 2008
M. Lucero Ortiz-February 2008
Daniel Herrera-January 2008
Frinny R. Polanco-November 2007
Betsaida Alcantara-April 2007
Jose A. Medina-March 2007
Angelica M. Reza-February 2007