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2011 CHCI Spring Interns

CHCI will be welcoming  it's second class of Spring Interns on February 7th.  The Spring class is composed of 15 diverse individuals, each with a unique background.  Below are some highlights of this class.

  • They come from 10 states and Puerto Rico
  • They are made up of 9 different Hispanic Heritages, including Dominican, Brazilian and Peruvian
  • 40% of the interns were foreign born
  • 66% of the interns come from families whose household income is below $45,000
  • 33% of the interns are the first generation to go to college
  • They come from 15 different academic institutions
  • They are pursuing 8 different academic majors, ranging from Psychology to Business Administration to International Relations

Download file Profile of Spring 2011 Interns




Camila Bersani
: Orlando, Florida 
School: Valencia Community College
Major: International Relations
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen

Camila Bersani was born and raised in Brazil and has been living in United States since she was sixteen years old.  She is currently majoring in international relations at Valencia Community College, located in Orlando, Florida.  Recently, Camila participated in a study abroad program in China where she took classes on Mandarin and Chinese Economy at University of Shanghai.

During her first spring semester of college, Camila had the opportunity to return to her hometown in Brazil to work as a full-time volunteer while taking online classes.  The project called “An Act of Love for the Misfortune Children” was created by doctors and employers of the social service sector with the purpose of giving education and health care assistance to children from disadvantage families.  She was not only a caretaker but she also assisted Brazilian children in learning English as a second language.

At Valencia, she served one year as the Vice-President of Student Government where she coordinated activities to involve representatives in leadership training and she also collected petitions to obtain sidewalks on campus.  In addition, Camila worked as the chair of Inter Council Club during the 2009-2010 academic year.  She co-sponsor the event titled “International Week” with the International Students Association and advocated awareness in the importance of studying abroad on non-Western countries.  She also oversaw a competition between clubs that raised money for Relay for Life.  Currently, she serves as Model UN secretary where she has been collecting donations for cancer research and awareness.  Camila is also an active member of Phi Theta Kappa – Honors Society.  She had opportunity to work as a volunteer on the Florida Regional Convention and on the International Convention, which gathered 3,600 representatives from 500 chapters.
  Francisco Delagarza
Hometown: Fresno, California 
School: Reedly College
Major: Economics
Placement: The Office of Rep. Sandy Levin

Francisco Delagarza was born and raised in Fresno, California; he is the son of immigrant parents from Mexico who came to this country in search for better lives.  He is the oldest of 2 siblings and the first in his family to go to college.  Francisco plans to transfer from his community college, Reedley College, to University of California and will be pursuing a double major in economics and political science.

Francisco has been involved in various clubs and organizations within his community.  At his community college, he was a member of the Gay and Straight Alliance which worked to promote acceptance and equal rights for the Gay community.  He also founded the first Political Science Club at his college which focused on promoting awareness of politics and government amongst the student body.  As president, he encouraged members to become more involved in their community and participate in government elections.

Outside of school, he was an active member of the California Youth Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which worked with other state organizations to try to make immigration reform a reality.  Currently, Francisco is the Vice President of the Central Valley Youth Association which focuses on community issues at a regional level.  Francisco is also interested in the film making industry and is currently planning a documentary of the immigrant life.

Francisco is honored to have been selected for the CHCI internship program for the Spring of 2011.  He wants to take advantage of this great opportunity and learn as much as possible.
  Francisco Garcia
Hometown: Dallas, Texas 
School: The University of Texas at Arlington
Major: Economics
Placement: The Office of Senator Barbara Boxer

Francisco García Suasnabar is a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington, pursuing a degree in economics with a minor in political science.  Born in Lima, Perú, he moved with his family to Dallas, Texas at the age of eight.  Francisco's endeavors and contributions include, but are not limited to, the fields of public affairs, political campaigns, education, civic engagement, and student activism.  This past semester, he interned at the District Office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) and served as a facilitator at the Congresswoman’s Youth Diversity Summit.  In the recent mid-term elections, he volunteered at Congresswoman Johnson’s campaign office and participated in voter outreach efforts, resulting in the member’s reelection.  Last fall, Francisco secured an internship with the office of the Dallas mayor, the Honorable Tom Leppert, and worked at Dallas City Hall where he regularly attended city council meetings as part of the mayor’s staff and researched various city projects.  This past summer, Francisco worked with the Hispanic College Fund (HCF) in carrying out the Hispanic Youth Symposium, a program that aims to mentor and prepare high school students for college.  Francisco is also active in student governance at The University of Texas at Arlington, serving as the Vice-President of the Liberal Arts Constituency Council, an organization that works to advance the interests of over 5,000 students.  In the past, he has joined student activists in lobbying for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, D.C.  After completing his undergraduate studies, Francisco hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in public policy or international development.

In the future, he would like to further his public service career as he adopts the challenges of Americans as his own.  This aspiration, however, is not possible without first getting the proper exposure and insight into the legislative process. Francisco believes that participating in CHCI’s Congressional Internship Program will provide him with an invaluable, transformative experience that can only further his competence and skill as a public servant. 
  Ariadna E. Ginez
Hometown: Lake Orion, Michigan
School: Michigan State University
Major: International Relations
Placement: The Office of Senator Carl Levin

Ariadna E. Ginez is a senior at Michigan State University double majoring in international relations and social relations and policy.  She was born and raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and moved to the US with her family when she was nine years old.  This experience has shaped Ariadna’s interests and inspired her to work for the Latino community, particularly in issues of education, border policy, immigrant political culture and identity.

Since arriving at college, Ariadna has gained a wealth of experience as she interned for now US Representative Hansen Clarke, worked for the Michigan Department of Information Technology, led the Students for Obama group and worked for her student government as the Governmental Affairs State Liaison.  She also completed the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement program last year and conducted research on possible policy solutions to the Mexican Drug War, which she has presented at several national conferences.

Recently, Ariadna was elected to the National Board of Directors of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc. which is an organization dedicated to the empowerment of women.  In this position, she is charged with creating policy which affects their national membership and the communities they serve.  After graduation, Ariadna will be teaching secondary social studies in Detroit, Michigan as a Teach For America Corps member.  She will simultaneously be pursuing a Master’s in education at the University of Michigan.

Ariadna is ecstatic at the opportunity of being a CHCI intern and working on Capitol Hill to develop new skills and form relationships with other people passionate about giving back to their community.  She hopes that this experience will help her become a stronger leader in her community and enable her to affect even more change.
  Hugo Jacobo
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois 
School: Northern Illinois University
Major: Political Science    
Placement: The Office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Hugo Jacobo is a second generation Mexican-American born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.  He is currently pursuing a degree in political science with a double minor in Latino and Latin American studies and Spanish at Northern Illinois University.  Hugo’s interest in public policy and social issues in the Latino community has led to his involvement in a variety of advocacy organizations and research programs.  In his freshman year, Hugo joined the multicultural professional fraternity, Omega Delta Inc., where he gained valuable leadership skills, a strong brotherhood network and later received the ‘Young Leader Award’.

Also as an undergraduate, Hugo co-founded a student-led organization called Dream Action NIU in order to assist current and potential undocumented students at his university.  After its first year, the organization was able to fund four scholarships and significantly raise campus awareness of the obstacles undocumented immigrants face in the U.S.  He has proved to be an active student leader on campus as he has sat in various student advisory committees, including for the Political Science department and the Latino Resource Center, is currently a peer advisor for the Honors Program, and leads the Model Illinois Government club as vice-president. 

In 2009, Hugo had the opportunity to intern for a leading immigrant rights organization, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, where he gained valuable insight to non-profit management as well as legislative policy research.

As a CHCI intern, he hopes to grow as a leader and learn more about the legislative process. Upon graduating, Hugo plans to earn a Master’s degree in public policy and work for a think tank or a non-profit organization in order to further assist our marginalized communities.
  Anthony Leon
Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
School: Millersville University
Major: Government
Placement: The Office of Rep. Jose Serrano

Anthony Leon is a second generation Puerto Rican, originally from New York City.  He currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his family.  Anthony is a senior at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania.  He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and political affairs with a minor in sociology.  In 2006, Anthony was selected to represent his neighborhood as a committeeperson in Lancaster County’s Democratic Party.  In 2008, he was a volunteer for Pennsylvania for Obama, where he worked at getting votes for Barack Obama from the Central Pennsylvania region.

His experience with the local Obama campaign encouraged him to get involved in student government at his university.  In January of 2010, he successfully petitioned enough support to join the Millersville University Student Senate, serving as the only Latino student senator.  In the spring of 2010, he was the first Latino student ever to run for Student Senate Vice President.  Although he fell short of victory with 45% of the vote, he learned a great deal about running a campaign.  He has also held leadership positions in Millersville’s only Latino oriented organization, the Society on Latino Affairs and he has served as the Vice President of the Political Science Organization.  He has also been an active member in the College Democrats.

As a CHCI intern, Anthony is looking forward to working with other politically and socially engaged young Latinos from around the country.  He hopes to gain a better understanding of the behind the scenes work that is involved in our federal government that you don’t get to see on the news.

Torres G. Leyba
Hometown: Los Lunas, New Mexico
School: University of New Mexico – Valencia County Branch
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Senator Mark Udall

Torres G. Leyba is currently working towards a degree in political science at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus’ while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  Torres is finishing his second elected term as President of the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus’ Student Government.  Torres is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for Two-Year colleges.  He is a former president of his campus’ Chapter (Beta Zeta Zeta), and was twice elected as Secretary for the New Mexico Region of Phi Theta Kappa, where he represented all Phi Theta Kappa members across the state of New Mexico.

Thanks in large part to the support he has had from his mentors both inside and out of the classroom, Torres has been honored for his scholastic success in many ways.  Torres has been part of the Director’s List multiple times, and was November 2009’s Student of the Month.  Torres was honored with the 2010 Tibo and Betty Caperton Chavez Scholarship, and he has also represented his campus as a Conference Scholar at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ Annual Convention in San Diego, California.  Torres is currently his campus’ nominee for the Coca-Cola All-American Academic Team for the 2010-2011 academic year as well.

Along with his scholastic accomplishments, Torres proudly serves as a Presiding Judge for County’s Bureau of Elections, where he has volunteered his time and skills for the past 17 years.  He has been active in politics for nearly twenty years, and has staffed Campaigns and offices for local, state and federal candidates, including two New Mexico Governors and President William Jefferson Clinton.

As an intern for the CHCI, Torres wishes to bring the knowledge gained by this program back to his campus and his community, so that it may be shared with as many people as possible in order to bring about a greater desire for educated public advocacy of issues and honest, intelligent public service within his community.

  Nicole J. Martinez
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
School: University of Texas at El Paso
Major: Sociology  
Placement: The Office of Rep. Silvestre Reyes

Nicole J. Martinez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and is the first in her family to attend college.  She is currently a senior at The University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in sociology.  Throughout her undergraduate career she has been highly involved on campus, particularly in leadership roles within the New Student Orientation and Entering Student Program departments.  These experiences have provided her with the opportunity to represent UTEP at various conferences throughout the Southwest and serve as a Miner Ambassador.  Nicole is also a Houston Endowment scholar, having worked closely with the University Honors Program since the spring of 2007.  She earned her University Honors Program Certificate in spring of 2010 and has a continuing passion for working with UTEP students.  This passion has allowed her to participate in various classroom environments as both a Peer Mentor and Peer Leader.  She is a graduate of the Student Leadership Institute, which she later peer led and helped to initiate the first ever Student Enrichment Experience.  In the summer of 2009, she successfully completed the Law School Preparation Institute at UTEP.  Her achievements have been highlighted by her dedication to and involvement with a number of community outreach organizations and projects.

One of Nicole’s professional goals is to build a career that focuses on global health and international affairs once she has completed her law degree.  She has a great interest in learning foreign languages after studying Persian and hopes to travel to broaden her cultural experiences.

As a CHCI intern, Nicole looks forward to the amazing opportunities she will have while working on Capitol Hill.  She encourages others, especially other UTEP students, to pursue incredible opportunities such as the CHCI internship.
  Tatiana Medina
Hometown: Wesley Chapel, Florida
School: Hillsborough Community College
Major: Business Administration
Placement: The Office of Rep. Steny Hoyer

Tatiana Medina was born and raised in the small town of Yopal, Casanare in Colombia.  She immigrated with her family to the United States at the early age of ten.  As the oldest of her siblings and as the first one to attended college in the US, she strives to be the best possible example for her younger brother and sister.  Tatiana is currently enrolled in Hillsborough Community College, with an outstanding Grade Point Average, where she is finishing her AA degree in business administration.  In the fall of 2011, she will be transferring to Florida International University where she plans to major in international business and minor in international relations.

At Hillsborough Community College, she has participated in Student Government for two consecutive years.  Her active participation as a senator of Student Government allowed her to represent the students from her college at a variety of conferences around the state and the country.  Tatiana not only participated in Student Government, she is also a member Phi Theta Kappa, The National Society of Collegiate scholars and the Honors Institute of Hillsborough Community College.  Her active involvement at Hillsborough Community College earned her a position as a Student Ambassador of her campus.  Some of her duties as a Student Ambassador are to give campus tours and to guide prospective and current students to a successful college experience.  Tatiana was also part of group of students from the Honors Institute that created and funded a scholarship for two deserving high school seniors in the community. 

In addition to the extracurricular activities, Tatiana is a full time student who works part-time as a prep reading tutor at the Academic Success Center of Hillsborough Community College.  She has a passion for achievement and excellence.  This is why education is extremely important to Tatiana and it is the reason why she enjoys helping other students succeed in college.  As a CHCI intern, Tatiana looks forward to gain an insight into the legislative process and to demonstrate that as an immigrant she can still be a strong asset to this nation. 
  Carol Mendez
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada 
School: Community College of Southern Nevada
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Linda Sanchez

Carol Mendez was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is a first generation American of Mexican ancestry.  Throughout her first two years of college, Carol worked a full time job while attending night classes at the College of Southern Nevada.  She will soon be transferring to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to begin her junior year.  Carol will pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in economics.  In 2010, she began an internship for the office of United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid where she has served the Hispanic community.

Inspired by her father to remain in school and to pay attention to history, Carol grew passionate and aware of the inequalities that underrepresented groups encounter on a daily basis.  Upon the completion of her undergraduate work, Carol will pursue a Juris Doctorate degree in conjunction with a master’s degree in American history. As a civil rights attorney, she hopes to become a role model for students that come from underprivileged backgrounds and to address the disastrous consequences that arise from stereotypes.
  Adrian Morales
Hometown: San Francisco, California
School: Santa Clara University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi

Adrian Morales was born and raised in San Francisco, California.  He attended St. Ignatius College Prep for high school and is currently a Senior at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.  Adrian is a political science major with a triple minor in history; philosophy; and Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern studies.  In addition, at Santa Clara University, he is also a proud member of his school’s Speech and Debate Team, which is an activity he has participated in since high school.  Adrian also served two terms as a Student Body Senator on the Student Senate of Santa Clara University’s Associated Student Government.

Adrian hopes to learn more about how governments work while participating in the CHCI Internship because in his future career plans, he wants to go into government work ideally with the State Department or another diplomacy related field.    
  Mariella Paulino
Hometown: Bronx, New York
School: New York University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra

Mariella Paulino was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City.  Shortly after arriving at the age of seven, she contracted meningitis which left her deaf.  Returning to elementary school after a cochlear implant surgery, teachers found her situation hopeless and held little hope for her future.  Now, fifteen years later, Mariella is double major in history and politics at New York University and an avid disability activist.  Over the past four years, Mariella has been working with various organizations as spokesperson for the rights of individuals with disabilities and has founded various programs for elementary school and high school students to come together with school administrations.  The goal of these programs is to address the needs of individuals with special needs so that they too can have an equal access to educational opportunities.  She has also continuously sought to serve her community, interning with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Bar Association. 

A first-generation college student, Mariella hopes to immerse herself more fully in the realm of politics and policy making so as to gain a better understanding of its working within not only the hearing disabled but also Latino community.  After graduating from NYU, she plans to attend law school, where she hopes to gain even more insight into the complexity of law as it becomes shaped by our elected officials.

To her, the CHCI internship is an amazing opportunity that will enable her to expand her knowledge of this incredible process.  She is excited and looks forward to bringing her very best to DC this coming spring.
  Daniel Quinones
Hometown: Caguas, Puerto Rico
School: University of Puerto Rico – Humacao
Major: International Business
Placement: The Office of Rep. Joe Baca

Daniel Quiñones was born in San Juan but raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico where he attended kindergarten through high school.  Before graduating from high school, Daniel knew that his academic formation and professional future was going to be around business which helped him to decide international business as his major-emphasis area.  He’s pursuing a bachelor degree in international business with a minor in accounting from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao.

He began college in August 2008 where he met a classmate who had recently participated in an exchange program in the USA.  Daniel became motivated and he found himself in the appropriate moment of his academic and personal journey to immerse himself in such a new experience for him. Daniel had the opportunity to attend Marshall University in West Virginia for one year.  He got to know people from a wide range of countries around the world and learn different things from them and their culture. He also got to build strong friendships as well.

Among his volunteer experience includes work with a Puerto Rican civic women non-profit association called “Destellos de la Moda” with their annual fashion show, which is one of the most important runway events on the island.  He had the opportunity to organize the event and its press coverage.

Those favorable times in his personal and academic career have provided him with the trust and confidence to apply to CHCI’s Congressional Internship to employ his leadership skills and get to work in the District of Columbia that has been his dream for so long.
  Esveide Santiago
Hometown: Maricopa, Arizona
School: Arizona State University
Major: Psychology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

Esveide Santiago is the proud daughter of two Mexican immigrant parents and the youngest of six in her family.  She was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and at the age of two her family immigrated to Arizona, where she has lived her whole life.  Growing up in Chandler, Arizona, she attended Chandler High School and then continued her education at Mesa Community College.  After completing her pre-requisites, she then attended Arizona State University where she is currently a senior pursuing her degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish.

As an undergraduate at Arizona State University, Esveide has managed to be involved on campus, but also stay focused on her academics.  She has been a ‘Los Diablos’ scholar for the past three years, a member Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. and also interned for a with a family therapy center, Instituto de la Familia Dr. Pedro Herrero in Alicante, Spain and with Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc.  While she continues to be engaged in various activities, she is determined to continue her education and become involved with her psychology degree in the Latino community.

With the acceptance into the CHCI program, she is excited to learn and witness the process of the public policy and take the most she can from the experience.  She values the importance of opportunities as the one CHCI offers many Latinos to help us become more knowledgeable.  With graduation being around the corner for her, she plans to continue striving for the best and continuing her education.

Juan Villagomez
Hometown: Houston, Texas
School: University of Houston – University Park
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez

Juan Fernando Villagomez was born in Houston, Texas to parents originally from Mexico.  His parents have instilled within him a hard work ethic, and a sense of pride in his heritage. Juan is a political science major and Spanish minor at the University of Houston.  He chose political science as his major, because he has always had an interest in politics and government.  Juan recalls the moment his interest in politics grew: he was with his father and grandfather while they discussed the situation of Latin American politics and he was astounded by their knowledge. 

Juan has been involved in several political and community outreach programs. Since high school to the present, he has tutored students, ranging from elementary level to college level, in language arts and essay writing.  A year ago, Juan assisted in the campaign of Roberto Cardenas for County Court 12 in Harris County where he learned a great deal about grassroots campaigning and organization.  The same year, he also attended an informal judicial internship in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, where he sat in on several cases and saw the judicial process starting from probable cause court, all the way to trial and sentencing.  This was an awe inspiring time for Juan because he learned so much about the process and also how the judiciary intersects so much with the legislative branch of government.  This past semester, he was an intern in the office of Texas State Representative, Carol Alvarado, where he learned a great deal of how legislative offices work.  Juan did preliminary research on subjects of several bills that the State Representative will potentially use during the next congressional session.

From the CHCI internship, Juan hopes to gain a much more detailed sense and idea of how the legislative process works and intersects with all other areas of the government.  His main interest in government is the legislative and judicial areas. Upon graduating from the University of Houston, Juan plans to attend law school and later on, use his legal experience to run for legislative office or a judicial bench.