2012 CHCI Summer Interns

CHCI welcome its 2012 summer interns on June 9.  The class is composed of 40 diverse individuals, from 20 different states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  They come from 30 different academic institutions, are pursuing 19 different majors, and 58% are the first generation to attend college.

Detailed Demographics: Download file 2012 CHCI Summer Congressional Interns

Each intern followed a unique path that led them to CHCI's internship program. Learn more these impressive individuals.

Jesus Albarran

Dianna Almanza

Natalie Borrego

Tamara Castillon

Guillermo Cortez

Edgar Cruz

Alina Fernandez

Ismael Gomez

Jasmine Gomez

Francisco Gomez-Mancillas

Gregory Gonzales

Francisco Gonzalez


Jannidy Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez-Ruiz

Mayra Gradilla

Joshua Guachichulca

Marina Hernandez

Angela Hernandez-Veloza

Cecilia Herrera

Eric Herrera

Jesus Lopez

Vanessa Lopez

Yvette Meza Vega


Cecilia Montesdeoca

Mariel Moquete

Salomon Moreno-Rosa

Ana Orozco

Tatiana Pino

Wesley Quevedo

Deborah Roman

Jeanette Salas Chavez

Marisol Samayoa

Isaac Solano

Cassandra Thompson


Esther Urena

Catherine Urgiles

Mario Vasquez

Jonathan Villanueva

Estefania Zaldumbide

National HEP-CAMP Association Interns

Brenda Espinosa

Kimberly Luna

Miguel Martinez

Marvin Rodriguez


Jesus Albarran
Hometown: Ontario, California
School: University of Chicago
Major: Sociology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Joe Baca

Jesus Albarran is a first generation Mexican American and the youngest son of four children to Mexican immigrants who migrated to the United States over twenty years ago in search of better life opportunities. He was born and raised in the Inland Empire region of Southern California and is currently a junior pursuing a sociology degree at the University of Chicago. Albarran is a member of several student organizations on his campus, including the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A.) and the University’s Coalition for Immigrant Rights (U.C.C.I.R.). He is primarily focused on developing collaborations with various campus and city-wide organizations and exposing University resources and the campus community to underserved communities in Chicago.

Additionally, Albarran was recently elected treasurer of M.E.Ch.A. and hopes to bring more Latino community members into the University community with innovative events and programs, while also helping to organize fundraisers and grant proposals that allow M.E.Ch.A. to host various events throughout the year.

More recently, Albarran has worked with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICCIR) through the University’s competitive Summer Links Internship Program as a candidate school intern to develop workshop materials for campaign trainings aimed at individuals of immigrant descent running for public office in Illinois.

As a CHCI intern, Albarran hopes to further develop his leadership skills, learn more about the public policy processes that enact progressive change, and the interactions between congressional members and their constituents to better serve the growing Latino community.

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Dianna Almanza, National Association of Broadcasters Intern
Hometown: Westminster, Colorado
School: Regis University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Mark Udall

Dianna E. Almanza is a first generation Mexican American born and raised in Denver, Colorado. Raised by her brave and courageous mother, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, she proudly feels the obligation and responsibility to honor her mother’s countless sacrifices and struggles by striving for social justice and equality. As the first person in her family to pursue higher education at a four-year university, Almanza is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in Politics with a concentration in International Relations, Visual Arts, and a double minor in Psychology and Sociology at Regis University.

As President of Mi Gente, an affinity club, Almanza has founded the new mission and vision, which seeks to promote the appreciation of other cultures and equality by embracing the Hispanic and Latino cultural traditions, customs and beliefs. As an active member in the Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee, she demonstrates commitment in advocating the importance of diversity in leadership positions. Through the rigorous RegisCorps Leadership Certificate Program, a transformative leadership experience in preparing individuals to dedicate their lives for the common good, she aims to grow as an individual and mature as a Latina leader. Her strong voice and her strong sense of self have led her into a number of leadership positions serving as Director of Major Events in the Office of Student Activities, as an intern for the local non-profit organization Compassion by the Book, and, most recently, as an Engaged Scholar-Activist in the Office of Service Learning.

As a CHCI Intern, Almanza seeks to challenge herself, wrestle with meaningful pursuits, and deepen her understanding of the human condition with the intention of being an agent of change in the political world.

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Natalie Borrego, Prudential Intern
Hometown: Miami, Florida
School: University of North Carolina
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Natalie Borrego was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a degree in Political Science and Global Studies with a minor in Chinese. Natalie is highly involved with the Hispanic community on campus. She currently serves as the Undergraduate Assistant for the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative where she focuses on planning programs for Hispanic Heritage Month and the annual Latina/o Alumni Reunion. She was an active part of the culmination of the first annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on campus that included over 32 programs on Latina/o related issues and continues to be an active part of the annual Hispanic Heritage Month programming. Through the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative she fosters collaborations amongst all Latina/o related organizations on campus, including the Carolina Hispanic Association and The Spanish House, to collectively organize educational, cultural, and service oriented programs.

Besides her involvement with the Hispanic community on campus, she is highly involved with the Campus Y, whose mission is the pursuit of social justice through promoting pluralism. At the Campus Y, she currently serves as the Co-Director of Evaluations where she works with 31 committees focusing on human rights and social justice issues. Since high school, she has actively been involved with Amnesty International. She recently served as the Co-Chair of Amnesty International working to protect the human rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her work with Amnesty International exhibits her passion for social justice both domestically and overseas.

As a CHCI intern, Natalie hopes to gain a better understanding of the duties of a Congress member. She hopes to further her leadership skills and knowledge of our nation’s political system.

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Tamara Castillon, AARP Intern
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
School: University of Arizona
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Raul Grijalva

Tamara Castillon is first generation in the United States. She was born in San Diego, California, but has lived in Arizona almost all her life. Raised by a single mother, she always knew education is the key to the future. Tamara is currently a senior at the University of Arizona pursuing her bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She aspires to become a lawyer, but her life goal is to become a federal judge.

Tamara has worked through her college years and has also had many leadership positions. She is currently employed at the University of Arizona in the Systems Control Department where she is the student leader in charge of other student employees. Additionally, Tamara has been the treasurer, the historian, and the assistant orientation advisor for her Sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha. At the University of Arizona, Tamara has achieved the Dean’s List of Outstanding Students multiple times. Aside from her studies, Tamara has participated in volunteer programs like Pima Partnership – Student Mentor where she tutored English as a second language to elementary school students. Additionally, she volunteered with Congressman Raul Grijalva’s campaign in the 2004, 2008, and 2010 elections. She has been a part of the University of Arizona vote’s campaign, a campus-wide effort to get every student registered to vote. Tamara devotes most of her time to giving back to the community. She volunteers at a local high school to promote higher education, participates in monthly park clean ups in low income areas, and volunteers at Primavera, a homeless shelter.

As a CHCI Intern, Tamara hopes to gain insight on the legislative process and to strengthen her professional and leadership skills.

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Guillermo Cortez, Comcast Intern
Hometown: San Francisco, California
School: Tufts University
Major: Development Studies
Placement: The Office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Guillermo Cortez was raised and born in San Francisco, California. A son from two immigrant parents, his mother and father have instilled in him the important value that education carries. The eldest of two, Guillermo is the first in his family to attend a university. Currently, he is a rising junior at Tufts University double majoring in Child Development and Spanish. In addition, he is working toward a licensure in early childhood education through the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development.

As a participant in First Graduate— a ten year program that provides resources, tutoring, and mentoring to First Generation College bound students—he has witnessed the importance of providing the necessary support to disadvantaged youth. Now as a college student, he continues to actively participate in the program by peer mentoring the younger students, speaking on panels about his high school and college experience, and volunteer at events that the First Graduate organizes.
At his university, Guillermo has worked as a tutor at a local elementary school through the Tufts Literacy Corps. Working alongside with the teachers and director of the after school program, Guillermo has helped improve the academic skills of his tutees. Overall, the experience as a tutor has shown him the disadvantages the youth in urban schools face daily. As a result, Guillermo has sought to pursue a career in Education Policy in order to create equity in urban schools.

By interning with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Guillermo hopes to discover the intersection between policy and child development. This internship will support him to understand the workings of the legislative process and provide him an insight into a future career in education policy.

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Edgar Cruz, David Bohnett Foundation Intern
Hometown: Addison, Texas
School: Loyola University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Donna Christensen

Edgar Cruz is a first generation Mexican American born and raised in Dallas, TX. He is a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies in hopes of becoming the first Latino President. He graduated at Jesuit College Prep of Dallas with the class of 2010 and was accepted to Loyola with the BVM half tuition scholarship.

Cruz is a former Resident Assistant at Loyola. He is also a member of THE MEN’S PROJECT, which helps men redefine masculinity and combat violence against women and the LGTBQ community. Cruz is also a part of The Empowerment Pipeline Program, which seeks to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by empowering underrepresented high school youth and to direct their own paths towards higher education. Cruz will be helping conduct workshops on personal identity development, college readiness, and community building.
Cruz will also be helping with the initiation of The National Men of Color Initiative on Loyola’s campus, which helps to increase the retention and graduation rates of men of color while simultaneously integrating them into Loyola by building relationships with mentors. Cruz also volunteers with the Youth Umbrella Organization in Evanston, IL, mentoring and tutoring students in grade school through high school. Cruz was a recipient of the 2012 Damen Award, which seeks to honor undergraduate students and student organizations who have committed themselves to Jesuit ideals by being a true source of inspiration and leadership to the Loyola community throughout the year.

Cruz has also participated in the National Hispanic Institute high school programs that focus on Latino leadership development that includes Latino identity development as well as community service integral to their leadership development.

As a CHCI Intern, Cruz hopes to gain the tools to better navigate through his professional development as well personal development. He also hopes to gain some exposure and experience in the Congressional and Political environment in hopes of becoming the first Latino President.

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Alina Fernandez
Hometown: Scranton, Pennsylvania
School: Seton Hall University
Major: International Relations
Placement: The Office of Sen. Charles Schumer

Alina Ivette Fernandez is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a rising junior at Seton Hall University, where she is pursuing a double major in International Relations and Diplomacy and Latin American and Latino Studies. She also has a minor in Spanish and is in the award winning Seton Hall University Honors Program. Alina is a graduate of West Scranton High School in her hometown, Scranton, PA. In addition to her studies, Alina is an ambassador for the Gates Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Joseph A. Unanue Institute and the John C. Whitehead School of International Relations and Diplomacy. On campus, Alina is a violinist in the orchestra, a mentor for the Diplomacy School and the Honors Program, the Assistant Managing Editor of The Stillman Exchange and the treasurer and president-elect for the Gamma Chapter of Corazones Unidos Siempre, Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Incorporated.
Alina is also involved in several community service initiatives both in her hometown and in her adopted home, South Orange, NJ. Recently, Alina has participated in a neighborhood cleanup with the Redstone Townhomes Neighborhood Block Association and volunteered with the South Orange Animal Shelter. She has also volunteered with the Migrant Education Program of Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit and the HIV/AIDS Outreach Division of the United Neighborhood Center of Scranton, PA. In addition to these programs Alina has also participated in various charitable walks including Relay for Life and Heal to Heel.

As a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Intern, Alina hopes to use the experience to augment her studies and provide her with valuable knowledge about the inner-workings of United States’ legislature.

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Ismael Gomez, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Ellerbe, North Carolina
School: Appalachian State University
Major: Mathematics
Placement: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Management and Budget

Ismael G. Gomez is a rising senior at Appalachian State University which is located in Boone, NC. He is pursuing a degree in secondary mathematics education with minors in Spanish and Leadership Studies. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and was raised in Ellerbe, NC by Ismael and Maria Gomez. In May 2013, Ismael will be a first-generation college graduate.

Throughout his college career, Ismael has been extremely involved in numerous organizations. He is a founding father, a brother, and social chairman of the Beta Nu Chapter of the International Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta, which was started in fall 2009. In addition, he is the current president of The Coordinating Council of Clubs for the 2012-2013 academic year. Last summer, Ismael was an orientation leader for Appalachian State University. He was in charge of welcoming and introducing all entering students and their families to Appalachian State University through a two day orientation. He has also been involved in the Student Government Association, Appalachian State’s Student Conduct Board, and the Emerging Leaders Program.

For the past two years, Ismael has been elected by the Appalachian State’s student body to serve as a representative on the Homecoming Court. As well, he is a part of two honor societies, Order of Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa. In Spring 2011, Ismael was awarded the Appalachian State University’s Leaders of Distinction Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership in two or more university funded organizations.

As a CHCI Intern, Ismael hopes to gain insight into the world of politics and public interest. Ismael hopes this experience will be a stepping stone to pursue a career in higher education student affairs and university policies.

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Jasmine Gomez, Darden Intern
Hometown: Kissimmee, Florida
School: University of Florida
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Kristen Gillibrand

Jasmine Gomez was born in Chicago, IL and raised in St. Cloud, FL. A first-generation student at the University of Florida, she is a Pre-Law, Political Science major with two minors—General Theater and Communication Studies—and a certificate in Political Campaigning, and averages around a 3.7 GPA. To ensure that being a lawyer was her true goal she worked as a legal intern the past two summers at the Osceola Sheriff’s Office where she assisted the attorney by reading and summarizing court cases that dealt directly with how police would perform daily activities.

In addition to preparing for law school, Jasmine is involved in an array of extracurricular activities. She is the Vice-President to the Union de Estudiantes Puertorriquenos Activos, a club that informs individuals of Puerto Rican culture and helps build a community for these students. Also, she is a member of the UF Democrats and the upcoming Hispanic Caucus chair, where she learns of all of the new policies that arise in the Democratic Party, as well as takes action to ensure that policies are enacted. With the UF Democrats she has traveled to both Chicago, IL and Washington, D.C. to attend the College Democrat Winter Conference, where she learned about fundraising, recruiting, and more. She volunteered with Organizing for America, the re-election committee for President Barack Obama, in which she canvassed, phonebanked, and registered voters. Moreover, she is a member of Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity. Through this she was able to hear many lawyers speak about their careers, and she was also able to participate in Mock trial, where she learned about the trial law procedures.

Through CHCI she hopes to learn more about the policies and workings of the federal government and to enhance her leadership and communication skills.

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Francisco Gomez-Mancillas, Best Buy Intern
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
School: University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Major: International Business
Placement: The Office of Rep. Sander Levin

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Francisco Javier Gomez-Mancillas is a first generation college student attending the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Francisco is a Pre-Law undergraduate pursuing a double major in International Business and Finance – Investments Option, with a minor in Economics. After graduating he plans to attend law school to study Corporate Law. Francisco will be the first to graduate from a four year college and pursue a Legal career in his family. Francisco studied French for six years before graduating high school and is fluent in Spanish and English.

Growing up, Francisco saw the financial struggles immigrant parents face on a daily basis and understood that he needed to find other financial resources if he was to continue his education after high school. During his freshman year, Francisco and a friend started their own online business. With the success of the business, through numerous scholarships, and the financial help he received through his university, Francisco has managed to cover all his educational costs without burdening his parents with any financial responsibilities.

In the summer of 2011, Francisco fulfilled a life-long dream of his—to study abroad in England. Francisco was accepted to participate in the University of Nebraska –Lincoln’s most recognized study abroad program, Oxford at a Glance, which allowed him to attend the prestigious Oxford University in England. Currently Francisco is involved in intramural sports as well as several student organizations including UNL’s FBLA-PBL, MASA, and Pre-Law clubs.

As a CHCI intern, Francisco hopes to gain first-hand experience of how Congress works and what politics are doing to solve Latino issues. He hopes to take advantage of the networking opportunities available through the internship and gain knowledgeable information to assist him in pursuing a career in politics to make a difference in the Latino Community.

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Gregory Gonzales, Hyundai Intern
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
School: Saint Mary's University
Major: Communications
Placement: The Office of Rep. Charles Gonzalez

Gregory Gonzales is a San Antonio native, born and raised. Attending St. Mary’s University as a sophomore majoring in Communications, he has been an active participant in the community in and around San Antonio. Greg chose to attend St. Mary’s for its recognition as the second leading university in the nation committed to service and social mobility. It is through this duty to serve that Greg has continued his extensive volunteerism through college.

As an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America, Greg has led many projects and volunteer efforts to raise awareness about homelessness, poverty, and wounded veterans’ needs in the San Antonio community. As the president of the Young Oblates Association, he led monthly gatherings to feed the homeless in San Antonio. In addition, he spends his Saturday mornings to volunteer at the Haven for Hope organization to work towards ending homelessness. Greg also spent time building relationships with head injury patients through the Alamo Head Injury Association, and also helped return soldiers back to the states.

Upon graduating from college, Greg plans to move to Chicago to pursue his studies in Communication. The CHCI internship will allow Greg to learn from some of the best communicators in the country and provide a foundation for him to become a more successful speech writer and speaker.

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Francisco Gonzalez, Best Buy Intern
Laredo, Texas
School: Texas A&M International University
Major: Criminal Justice
Placement: The Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar

Francisco Gonzalez is a first generation college student born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and raised in Laredo, Texas. Gonzalez is a senior at Texas A&M International University currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. Prior to transferring to TAMIU, Gonzalez completed an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice at Laredo Community College where he attained a placement on the dean’s list for two consecutive semesters. He accomplished this while working 12-hour shifts at a full time job and attending college on a full time basis.

Gonzalez was elected to participate in a semester study abroad program of Texas A&M International University at Roehampton University in London, England. He was awarded the International Education Fee scholarship and the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez scholarship. He has a passion for laws and legislations. One of his career goals is to promote the well being of his community by being actively involved in different community service programs and projects. He has volunteer in the Uno a Uno Program with the Serving Children and Adolescents in Need organization and the local Salvation Army.

As a CHCI intern, Gonzalez wants to acquire the necessary skills and to develop relationships that would enable him to build a career in his community in the field of social justice or social welfare.

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Jannidy Gonzalez, GE Hispanic Forum Intern
Hometown: Statesville, North Carolina
School: Western Carolina University
Major: Business Administration
Placement: The Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar

Jannidy Gonzalez Alanis attends Western Carolina University. She was born in Querétaro de Arteaga, Mexico and has lived in Statesville, North Carolina. Gonzalez is a candidate for a degree in Business Administration and Law. She is a member of Western Carolina University’s Honors College and served as the Student Services Senator for the Student Government Association where she helped address student concerns. Under this position she was also a member of the Information Technology Council of Western Carolina University (WCU) where she helped address major technological strategies concerning policies, standards, and maintenance of the information technologies at the school.

She volunteered as a tour guide at the Jackson County Green Energy Park where she was responsible for the assistance, information and contemporary interpretation of the renewable energies provided by the facilities whose mission is to offer environmental protection, educational opportunities and increased development within the Jackson County community. Gonzalez was voted the vice president of the Latino Appreciation Student Organization on campus.

She continues to participate in the Campus Kitchen Garden Club of Western which is a student supported organic plot that donates and strives to provide fresh crops to local communities to combat hunger. Jannidy Gonzalez Alanis envisions her future with actions and as a CHCI intern; she hopes to gain skills to enhance her studies, and to improve the lives of those around her.

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Adrian Gonzalez-Ruiz, GE Hispanic Forum Intern
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
School: Marquette University
Major: Economics
Placement: U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Financial Management, Customer Services Liason Division

Adrian Gonzalez Ruiz is a first generation Mexican American who has born in Bakersfield, California and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a first generation college student, Adrian is pursuing a degree in economics as well as a degree in international business at Marquette University.

As a Harry G. John scholar and Ignatius and Magis scholar at Marquette, Adrian has had the opportunity to join forces with fellow classmates in establishing a student led organization. He is a proud founding member of Native American Student Association, where the Association thrives to promote and share with the Marquette community the Native American culture and to educate fellow classmates with the history and struggle of Native Americans. In 2011, Gonzalez Ruiz was a member of EMMAUS, a student led organization that advised and counseled inner city high school students with the college application process. In EMMAUS, Adrian held monthly meetings with other classmates, while sharing his experiences as a first generation college student and his journey in the strenuous college application process with fellow high school friends. Adrian is also involved in the newly formed Youth Empowered in Struggle (YES) organization at Marquette where Adrian joined forces with fellow classmates to promote immigrant and worker rights. In addition, Adrian has held a part time job throughout his first two years of college as a concierge at the Astor Hotel, as well as being a referee and now supervisor of intramural soccer at Marquette. He is also a member of the Marquette Soccer Club, where he plays competitively with other college soccer clubs around Marquette.

As a CHCI Intern, Adrian is eager to take advantage of his opportunity and experiences on Capitol Hill in order to grow as a person and be closer to his dreams. Upon graduation, he is planning on joining the Peace Corps.

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Mayra Gradilla, Cisneros Family Endowment Intern
Hometown: Pico Rivera, California
School: Pomona College
Major: Psychology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Grace Napolitano

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Pico Rivera, California, Mayra A. Gradilla is a first generation Mexican- American college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Pomona College. A rising junior, Gradilla was elected to Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, as a sophomore.

At Pomona, Gradilla is involved with several organizations. She has participated in and will serve as Treasurer of Empowered Latinos in Action, an organization that aims to assist the Latino community. She is also a member of the Associated Students of Pomona College Residence Hall Committee, a committee tasked with representing the student body in maintaining and improving the quality of residential life at the college. Gradilla also dances with the Bollywood Dance Team, a group that performs in festivals and shows at the Claremont Colleges. Next year, she will also be a Chicana/o Latina/o Student Affairs Sponsor for first-year students. As a CHCI intern, Gradilla hopes to gain valuable work experience and further develop leadership skills that will allow her to continue to pursue her interests in empowering the greater Latino community. She is also looking forward to living, working, and maximizing her time and opportunities in Washington, D.C.

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Joshua Guachichulca, Dario O. Marquez, Jr. Intern
Hometown: New York, New York
School: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Major: Criminal Justice
Placement: The Office of Rep. Jose Serrano

Joshua Guachichulca is pursuing his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Joshua’s amount of perseverance and determination has had a tremendously profound impact on his family, friends and colleagues. Joshua has participated in The Science and Technology Entry Program, The Police Academy, APHIS U.S.D.A internship, Breakthrough, Outward Bound and several Pre-Law boot camps. Joshua was awarded an outstanding academic improvement trophy, and at the age of five, his artwork was displayed in the Metropolitan Transit Museum of Art.

Joshua has shown his ability to memorize lines, while putting on a good performance by taking on lead roles in two plays in Theatre’s Honor’s Repertory’s Lysistrata and The Woman. He has been certificated for participation and attendance for his involvement in each program previously mentioned. Joshua hopes to pursue a career in the legal profession with the skills he acquired at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He currently volunteers for an array of programs and is an active member at church.

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Marina Hernandez, Comcast Intern
Hometown: Logan, Utah
School: Utah State University
Major: Law and Constitutional Studies
Placement: The Office of Sen. Charles Schumer

Marina Hernandez is a first generation Mexican American born in Idaho Falls, Idaho and raised in Logan, Utah. She is currently a junior at Utah State University double majoring in Law and Constitutional Studies and Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.

Marina’s involvement in her community includes interning for Planned Parenthood as a campus coordinator of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood. Her goal for participating in VOX is to educate students on her campus about their reproductive health and rights as well as provide them with recourses and accurate information. She has helped organize the “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” petition on her campus during the Title X controversy in order to ensure the continuation of federal funding for Planned Parenthood. She has also helped with the “Birth Control Matters” petition, which requires that insurance provide birth control to women without a co-pay.

Marina has volunteered at a local high school and middle school mentoring and assisting minority students with homework as well as motivating them to pursue a higher education. Being the first in her family to pursue a higher education, Marina was unaware of what steps to take in order to attend college and further her education. This is why she is so passionate about interacting with youth. She hopes to be able to answer their questions and ease the transition from high school to college.

As a CHCI intern, Marina looks forward to exploring career choices and developing leadership and communication skills which she will be able to apply to her future education and career. She hopes to go home with new knowledge about government and become a motivation for other young Latinos to become involved in their communities and in government.

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Angela Hernandez-Veloza, David Bohnett Foundation Intern
Hometown: Munford, Alabama
School: University of Alabama
Major: Telecommunications and Film
Placement: The Office of Rep. Steny Hoyer

Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, Angela moved to Alabama when she was twelve years old. She became the first Hispanic person in her high school to be salutatorian of her class, the daily announcements’ broadcaster, and president of Student Government. She also served as Secretary at the state level, where she helped plan the annual state conference.

Angela is the first in her family to attend college in the United States. She is a student at the University of Alabama majoring in telecommunications with a minor in international relations. She was the recipient of the Smith Scholarship, which covered all college expenses at the university including tuition, room and board, and other miscellaneous expenses.

In addition, Angela has participated in many programs both in college and at the community level. She was chosen as the Student Government Association Director of Diversity and the liaison to the Cultural and Diversity Committees of the Honors College Assembly; she acted as a Junior Resident Assistant for the 2011 Hispanic College Fund’s Dallas Hispanic Youth Institute; she was selected to attend the 2011 Hispanic Environmental Council Institute in New Mexico; and she raised $4,000 to travel on two community service trips to the island of Jamaica, and Brooklyn, New York. Angela also interned at USDA in Lake Tahoe, California and served as an interpreter for the Tuscaloosa County School System. During Christmas, she spent her time volunteering for the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association in Memphis and also volunteered in Greensboro, Alabama, for tornado relief rebuilding.

Angela hopes to learn how a non-profit organization works through CHCI’s example, as well as gain a family through the other interns, the CHCI staff and the Congressman’s office, and to further her understanding of policy-making.

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Cecilia Herrera, Hyundai Intern
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
School: University of California - Los Angeles
Major: International Studies
Placement: The Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra

Cecilia Herrera was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA by Salvadoran immigrant parents. Like many Salvadorans, her parents left their home country due to the violent Civil War of the 1980s. Her parents’ experiences and work-ethic helped mold her into the ambitious individual she is today and led her to be the first in her family to pursue a higher education.

In the fall of 2012, Cecilia will begin her final year as an undergraduate at UCLA. She will be graduating in June 2013 as an International Development Studies major with a Public Policy and Labor/Workplace Studies double minor. She was recently inducted into the Gamma Sigma Alpha Academic Honor Society.

Her passion for her culture and community is reflected in the organizations she is involved in. She was recently elected President for the UCLA chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., the first Latina academic sorority in the nation. In addition, this past year she was the UCLA Statewide Representative for la Unión Salvadoreña de Estudiantes Universitarios (USEU). She visited El Salvador for the first time with UCLA’s Habitat for Humanity Global Village Program in December 2011. This experience influenced her to be the coordinator for a trip to Peru with the same program this upcoming December.

Through UCLA’s External Vice President’s Office, Cecilia was a part of the University of California Student Association 10th Annual Student Lobby Conference in Sacramento, CA. In addition, she also was a part of the United States Student Association 46th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Both conferences seek to develop student leadership and offer opportunities for students to network around a variety of higher education issues.

As a CHCI Intern, Cecilia hopes to continue developing as a leader and strengthen her knowledge of public policy.

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Eric Herrera, General Motors Intern
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
School: Purdue University
Major: Political Science
Placement: U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Financial Management

Eric Herrera was born in Miami, FL, but raised in Indianapolis, IN by his parents. Herrera is a rising senior at Purdue University, where he is majoring in Political Science and earning his minors in Global Studies, History and Spanish. At Purdue University, Herrera is a member of the Spanish Club, College of Liberal Arts Honors Program, and the vice president of the Spanish Honors Society. During his sophomore year at Purdue, Eric studied abroad for 6 months in Madrid, Spain at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Prior to his senior year, Herrera was a volunteer coordinator for the Melina Kennedy for Mayor of Indianapolis campaign where he recruited and supported volunteers through outreach and training within different voting precincts. He also developed, managed, and tracked strategic canvassing and phone banking efforts using the Indiana Democratic Party’s Voter Activation Network database. He was a research assistant for the project “Language Brokering with Latino Parent-Adolescent Dyads,” where he evaluated and translated communicational documents from English to Spanish and Spanish to English and interviewed, transcribed, and analyzed interview themes. He also interned for the Margo Katherine Wilke Undergraduate Research Internship where he worked under the Humanities Integration Technology (HIT) project. Under this project, he analyzed problems with contemporary databases, such as overload of useless information and lack of textual evidence, and he also discerned reliable databases used by researchers in each humanity discipline.

Upon graduating from college, Herrera plans to attend law school where he would like to concentrate on constitutional law. In the future, Herrera would like to either become a corporate attorney or work for the U.S Department of the Treasury.

As a CHCI intern, Herrera looks forward to gaining valuable insights and a hybrid of hard work, political experience, and educational enhancement.

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Jesus Lopez
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
School: Arizona State University
Major: Human Rights Studies
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

Jesus Lopez was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a first generation Mexican-American and one of the first in his family to attend college. He is a rising senior at Arizona State University and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

He is a proud brother of Tau Psi Omega Fraternity, Inc., a community service and academic based multicultural fraternity. Within his fraternity he has served as the Community Service Chair and El Concilio Representative. In the spring of 2012, he was initiated into the Order of Omega, an undergraduate Greek Society that recognizes fraternity men and women who have attained a high standard of leadership in inter-fraternity activities. Jesus is also involved in the Community Service Coalition where he has served as co-treasurer and was recently elected as Volunteer Director for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Jesus is very active when it comes to giving back to his community. He has completed over 250 service hours during his undergraduate career. In spring 2011, he worked with St. Vincent de Paul as the Community Outreach/Resource Specialist Intern. There, he engaged families to ensure stability and informed them of the programs offered at St. Vincent de Paul and taught an English class. He is also a valedictorian club mentor with the Be A Leader Foundation where he mentors 8th graders to prepare them for college through monthly workshops in academic planning, decision-making, leadership and civic involvement.

As a CHCI Intern, Jesus wants to further develop his leadership skills and grow both as a professional and as a person. He wants to learn more about the legislative process and public policy, and how to help the Latino community become more involved in all levels of government.

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Vanessa Lopez, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: McAllen, Texas
School: Carnegie Mellon University
Major: Civil Engineering
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ruben Hinojosa

Vanessa Lynn Lopez is a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Architecture. She is the daughter of proud parents Robert and Guadalupe Lopez and was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. Lopez has long been interested in engineering especially because her father studied electrical engineering. Both of her parents have always stressed the importance of an education and encourage her to push through obstacles.

Vanessa plays an active role in the community. She is part of the Carnegie Mellon Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). She is the Public Relations Chair on the executive board, spreading the Carnegie Mellon SHPE name. SHPE provides students with many networking opportunities such as tech talks and mixers with business professionals and corporations. Vanessa is also the Public Relations Chair for the Spanish and Latin Student Association (SALSA), a group that promotes and embraces the Hispanic culture. Both Hispanic-based groups, SHPE and SALSA, attempt to raise awareness of the culture of the small Hispanic population present. As a civil engineering student, Vanessa is a member of Carnegie Mellon’s American Society of Engineers (ASCE) organization as well.

Participating in these groups has inspired Vanessa to get involved with the greater community. Within the past year, she has worked with the Jerome Bettis “The Bus Stops Here” Foundation, tutoring and mentoring middle school students who are less-fortunate in Pittsburgh. The program taught the students basic computer programs and how to assemble a computer, an opportunity most of them never experienced. She also volunteered with Circulo Juvenil, a group which provided small children from Pittsburgh a place to practice their Spanish and learn more about their Hispanic roots in various activities. In addition, this past semester she worked as a teaching assistant for the introductory class for Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. Her job included setting up and working labs with the students, exhibiting and teaching fundamentals in mechanical engineering. Lastly, with the Mechanical Engineering department at Carnegie Mellon, Vanessa traveled to Kimo, Peru to help build the foundations of much-needed facilities for a growing orphanage. After a long, hard day of work, Vanessa spent time with the orphans, getting to know them and inspiring them to always strive for more.

As a CHCI intern, Vanessa hopes to grasp a better understanding of the legislative process. She realizes that engineering involves much deliberation and policy-making before something can enacted. Vanessa also hopes that this internship experience will open more doors and networking opportunities, as well as enhance leadership skills necessary in today’s society, especially in the Hispanic community.

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Yvette Meza Vega, Darden Intern
Hometown: Santa Ana, California
School: University of California - Los Angeles
Major: Pyschology
Placement: The Office of Loretta Sanchez

Yvette Meza is a first generation college student born in Anaheim, CA and raised in Santa Ana, CA. She is the oldest of four in her family and the first in her family to attend a university. Her motivation does not derive just from her passion for education reform and social justice but also from her mother’s continual support.

Yvette has shown commitment to education reform and social justice through various research projects, volunteer work, and professional work experience. Throughout her entire graduate career her experience in tutoring students at various elementary schools in Los Angeles ignites her passion with education. She has participated in a huge research project called UCLA Middle School Diversity that examines how diversity affects a student’s education experiences in Southern California. Yvette has also helped the founder of Breakaway Education start the program at Animo Jackie Robinson High School in Los Angeles, which strives to empower high school students to become strong leaders in their communities by identifying and creating entrepreneurial solutions for social issues. Her passion and dedication to education issues continue to be apparent with her involvement with UCLA’s official volunteer organization in which she completed over 100 hours of training to be a camp counselor and raised $375 to offer camp at low cost to under-served students. This particular camp was designed to reduce the dropout rate of incoming high school students by creating outcome-based activities that will encourage students to continue their education.

In addition, Yvette’s professional work with Dr. Jerome Rabow has given her the opportunity to continue developing her passion for social justice. She is in the process of spearheading a documentary that emphasizes the rights of the LBGT community. She, along with other colleagues, assisted Dr. Rabow with the 6th edition of Voices of Pain, Voices of Hope and a new book that documents the inequities women continue to face in America, both of which will be submitted for publication. Yvette is also a proud sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated, an academic organization that underlines the empowerment of the universal woman while upholding scholarly excellence, cultural and political awareness, and community activism.

As an intern for CHCI, Yvette hopes to broaden her knowledge with the legislative process and continue to further her professional experience and commitment to education reform through public policy. More importantly, this internship opportunity with CHCI means taking a bigger step toward helping her Latino/a community as well as all communities of color.

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Cecilia Montesdeoca
Hometown: Normal, Illinois
School: Illinois State University
Major: Anthropology
Placement: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions - HELP

Cecilia Montesdeoca is of Mexican ancestry. She was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Cecilia attended Heartland Community College, obtaining an Associate in the Arts in spring of 2010. During that summer she traveled to Peru where she committed eight months to volunteer with the non-profit organization Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF) where she later served as a Project Coordinator for the administration team. Upon returning home she transferred to Illinois State University in the spring of 2011. She is currently a senior at Illinois State University majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Community Health Education. She will graduate in the spring of 2013 with the intention of pursing a Master’s degree in Public Health and Medical Anthropology.

During Cecilia’s time at Illinois State she has become actively involved in a variety of activities. She was awarded an Honors research project scholarship in 2011-2012, which allowed her to work closely with faculty members in the Health Science Department. Her proposed project was to create a health education plan for a childcare center to benefit those in Peru at the organization where she volunteered. She was awarded another Honors research project for her proposal regarding organizational development in non-governmental disaster relief organizations, however respectfully declined the offer due to her CHCI internship opportunity. Cecilia also serves as an undergraduate teacher’s assistant in the Anthropology Department; a role which she finds challenging, advantageous, and beneficial in maintaining strong academic relationships within the department.

Cecilia is also a member of Eta Sigma Gamma-omega chapter, National Honorary for Health Educators, where she serves as the Global Health Chairperson. She also holds a position on the executive board of Alpha Psi Lambda-lambda chapter, the nation’ s first and largest coded Latino fraternity. In 2012 she served as the Community Service Chairperson scoordinating all community service events and will take on the role of Internal Vice President in 2012-2013. She is also a proud member of Lambda Alpha (national anthropologist honorary) and Phi Theta Kappa (national honor society for community colleges).

Cecilia’s chosen profession as a health education specialist / medical anthropologist will enable her to fulfill all of her desires to help others who are of underrepresented groups, continuously expand her knowledge base and skills, and to travel the world. Professionally, she intends to work with organizations abroad, both governmental and non-governmental in assessing community health needs as well as to create, implement, and evaluate relevant health programs.

As a CHCI intern Cecilia will attain both the academic preparation and field practice experience necessary to be a successful employee in the field of public health as well as a more informed Hispanic citizen. This internship will provide her with valuable knowledge regarding public policy and will foster her leadership skills to become a stronger advocate in her community.

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Mariel Moquete, Comcast Intern
Hometown: Union City, New Jersey
School: Rutgers University
Major: Mathematics
Placement: The Office of Sen. Robert Menendez

Mariel Moquete was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At the age of three, she, along with her family, moved to Union City, New Jersey, where she was exposed to a majority-Hispanic community that faces adverse social issues. She is a first generation student attending Rutgers University where she pursues a degree in mathematics with a minor in sociology.

Mariel has developed a sense of awareness for educating young minorities because she strongly believes that if the importance of education is implemented at a young age communities like Union City will improve in the long run. With this keenness to inspire young Latinos Mariel became involved in tutoring the local middle school students in her hometown. She wants to inspire and relate the importance of education to young people living in disadvantaged communities all over the world, which was one of the reasons why she chose to study abroad in Ghana. While studying in the University of Ghana, Mariel volunteered at a local orphanage. She not only made an effort to teach young orphans the basics of English and mathematics, but she also became their peer advisor, exposing them to life outside of the small orphanage to a world overseas in the United States.

As a student at Rutgers University, Mariel is involved in the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), which helps to spread awareness of Latin American culture that so often is misrepresented and overshadowed. LASO invites all students to engage in educational debates and forums that promote the presence of Latino students at Rutgers. She is also a member of the Math Association of America where students relay their interest in mathematics to other students because mathematics is a subject that most individuals shy away from.

Through the CHCI internship Mariel will be directly exposed to, for the first time, our country's legislature and the development of public policies that impact the Latino communities in New Jersey. This unique experience will provide her with the foundation necessary to pursue a career in Public Policy and International Relations. Mariel hopes to use these tools to better represent her culture and her community in our future government.

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Salomon Moreno-Rosa, Prudential Intern
Hometown: Amherst, Massachusetts
School: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Urban Studies
Placement: U. S. Department of Interior, National Park Services, Office of Cutural Resources Diversity Division

Salomon Moreno-Rosa is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies. He has partaken in substantive independent research concerning education policy and will be graduating with honors distinctions. He is also a member of the Cipactli Honors Society.

Raised in Amherst, MA in a single parent household with strong older brothers as role models, Salomon is a first-generation college student. During his time at Penn he has volunteered at a number of middle and high schools across West Philadelphia, serving as a tutor and advisor for seniors as they begin the college admissions process. In the fall of 2011 he spent a semester studying in Cape Town, South Africa where he interned at a nonprofit human rights organization devoted to fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants in South Africa. Spring 2012 saw Salomon in Washington DC interning at the US Department of Education where he worked for the Office of the Deputy Secretary. During his time there, he authored several of Secretary Arne Duncan’s individualized state talking points, which were essential for his speeches as he traveled across the country. As a CHCI intern, Salomon intends to utilize all of the resources Congress and greater Washington have to offer while gaining insight into the legislative process.

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Ana Orozco, Cisneros Family Endowment Intern
Hometown: Wasco, California
School: California State University - Stanislaus
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Joe Baca

Ana Orozco was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when she was five years old. She is a first-generation college student attending California State University, Stanislaus. She is currently a junior majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. Orozco is also an Honor student and has achieved the dean’s list every semester. Orozco plans to attend law school and specialize in immigration law.

Orozco is a member of several clubs and organizations on campus. She is a proud member of the national sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, and currently holds the position of Alumnae Relations chair. She has also devoted time to her local church through the Catholic Student Association club. As the community service chair for the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Azatlan club, Orozco has demonstrated her passion for diversity within her community. Furthermore, the great interest that Orozco has in law school encouraged her to become the founder and president of the Pre-Law Society on her campus. She also gives back to her community by volunteering at the St. Thomas retirement center, We C.A.R.E. homeless shelter, the Autism Walk, and Relay for Life. Orozcos’ great leadership skills helped her achieve the job as a Resident Advisor for the CSU Stanislaus dorms. As a resident advisor, Orozco has learned the importance of being a role model for the youth. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, reading, and listening to her favorite music artist, Enrique Iglesias.

As a CHCI intern, Orozco is enthusiastic to attain a better understanding of public policy. She plans to use this knowledge in support of her Hispanic community.

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Tatiana Pino, Comcast Intern
Hometown: Palmetto Bay, Florida
School: Florida State University
Major: International Studies
Placement: The Office of Sen. Marco Rubio

Tatiana Pino is a second-generation Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, FL. She is a third year undergraduate student at the Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida. Tatiana is majoring in International Affairs and is double minoring in Economics and Psychology.

In addition to being in the top three percent of her undergraduate class, Tatiana holds two leadership positions in two different honor societies at FSU, respectively. She is the Academic Chair of the Oscar Arias Sanchez Hispanic Honor Society and the Executive Vice-President of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at FSU. Tatiana was also admitted into FSU’s Honors Legal Scholars Program, which makes her eligible for automatic admission into FSU’s prestigious College of Law if she scores above a 162 on the LSAT. Tatiana has contributed 222 hours of community service to the FSU and Tallahassee communities since Fall 2010, mostly through being a note-taker for several of her classes, through which she helped disabled students fulfill their academic potential in the classroom.

Tatiana’s previous work experience includes interning in Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s office in Miami last summer. This experience gave her a glimpse into the legal mechanisms of federal immigration law, among other things. For example, in the Congresswoman’s office she assisted the Congressional Aides with expediting the legal statuses of foreign refuges seeking political asylum in the United States.

As a CHCI Intern, Tatiana hopes to gain a deeper awareness of the immediate political, social, and economic challenges faced by the Latino community at the federal level. She also hopes to gain a greater appreciation for the policy-making process, including the obstacles that politicians frequently face when attempting to pass legislation. Tatiana is looking forward to attending law school upon graduation and eventually managing her own private law firm in a major city.

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Wesley Quevedo, Shell intern
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
School: Pomona College
Major: Environmental Analysis
Placement: The Office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Wesley Quevedo, a first-generation college student at Pomona College, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. As the older of two sons, he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis with a focus on community. Insightful, he approaches his education and career in an interdisciplinary manner.

Quevedo served his sophomore year as a member of the Environmental Quality Committee and President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability at his school. He looks forward to continuing his involvement with these committees as well as pursuing involvement with the Committee on Campus Climate and Diversity and Pomona for Environmental Justice and Responsibility. His commitment to sustainability and community has encouraged him to hold two annual shoe donations for the non-profit organization Soles 4 Souls.

Last summer, Quevedo served as a physical and occupational therapist assistant at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago through the United Health Foundation – CHCI Scholar - Intern partnership.

As a CHCI Intern, he hopes to learn more about the legislative process and about issues pertaining to public policy.

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Deborah Roman, Dario O. Marquez, Jr. Intern
Hometown: Arecibo, Puerto Rico
School: Inter-American University of Puerto Rico - Arecibo
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Doris Matsui

Déborah Román was born and raised in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Currently, she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences with a minor in Criminal Justice at Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

Déborah Román has strived to positively impact her community trough advocacy for human rights. She has been actively involved with Amnesty International, Interuniversity’s Chapter, where she has work to implement a social consciousness movement and develop dynamic citizens in her campus and community. Following her passion for social betterment, Déborah has served multiple terms as president of J.A.R.A.D. (Jóvenes al Reto Anti Droga) where along with using the peer system to help decrease the consumption of illegal drugs and mind-altering substances, she has shaped compelling campaigns for issues such as domestic violence, drunk driving and health care.

An honor student, Déborah is part of the Inter-American Honors Program, and was the recipient of a Dean of Students Affairs Scholarship in 2010. She is also a yearly member of the Inter-American University Chancellor’s List Award. As a student, she was elected by her campus officials to be its representative to the institution’s University Council, and has had the honor of working on several research projects through her alliance with the Honor’s Program.

While not directly involved with her education, Déborah has experienced great growth by participating in activities such as Relay for Life, working with Iniciativa Comunitaria, a community-based organization that deals with helping homeless persons, people who are overcoming drug addictions and other social causes, and being part of Teatro Ciclorama, the Inter-American University at Arecibo’s theater group.

As a CHCI Intern, Déborah aspires to gain more knowledge to be able to make a positive impact on her community, and prove her leadership and commitment to public service.

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Jeannette Salas Chavez
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
School: University of Nevada - Reno
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Harry Reid

Jeannette Salas, a junior at the University of Nevada, Reno, is majoring in Political Science and Spanish. She is involved with the Latino Student Advisory Board and was Vice President of the organization in the 2010-2011 academic year. She has volunteered at the local level in events such as College Shadowing Day, NAKland’s 3rd Annual Community Fair, and teaching English to Spanish speaking students and adults. In the spring of 2011, she was accepted into the Ambassadors program at the university as a sophomore. During her junior year, she spent a year abroad in Madrid, Spain and has since then been inspired to return.

Born and raised in southern California until the age of 14, she moved to the state of Nevada. Jeannette graduated in the top 10th percentile of her graduating class and was recognized by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a young prominent Latina and awarded the Certificate of Achievement in 2008 and 2009 as a high school student.

As a recipient for the 2012 summer internship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, she aspires to learn not only leadership skills but also the inner workings of the government system through a Hispanic perspective.

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Marisol Samayoa, News Corporation Intern
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
School: California State University - Long Beach
Major: Journalism
Placement: The Office of Lucille Roybal-Allard 

Marisol Samayoa grew up with a younger sister in Los Angeles, California to parents of Salvadorian and Guatemalan descent. Marisol became involved in social and educational activism with Inner City Struggle for all four years at Woodrow Wilson High School. As a youth leader she presented solutions to the lack of funding for East Los Angeles high schools before the president of the LAUSD Board of Education, encouraged her community to vote in local elections, and helped work toward the establishment of Estaban E. Torres High School; the first high school in East L.A. in 85 years. She was also a part of numerous service clubs on her campus, editor of her high school newspaper, and an honor roll student.

Marisol is a first-generation college student who recently completed her first year at California State University, Long Beach where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. She is a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority where personal growth, friendship, and philanthropy are values shared by her and the Sorority. Marisol has worked as a media relations assistant for the Long Beach State Athletics Department and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

As a CHCI intern, Marisol is thrilled to work with her local congresswoman and to not only see first-hand what it is like to represent your hometown on a federal level, but how ideas formulate into decisions that impact people across the nation. She hopes that her experience in Capitol Hill will strengthen her ability to work under pressure and her leadership skills as they will be instrumental to her career as a journalist.                                                                                                                   

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Isaac Solano
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
School: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Michael Bennet

Isaac Solano is a rising senior majoring in Political Science with a minor Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was born in Denver, Colorado and raised by his grandparents Stella and Bill Chacon. He is an active student leader on campus who recently ran for senior class president.

 In the summer of 2011 Isaac founded The College Boot Camp whose purpose is to motivate high-need, inner-city middle school students to apply to college. The camp exposes them to college students from similar backgrounds and scholarship foundations and teaches them the fundamentals of the admissions process, the financial aid process, and other processes students go through when applying to colleges. This summer, Isaac’s program will be taught in two different middle schools in Denver.

Isaac has also interned for the Denver Public Schools Foundation where he was responsible for conducting community outreach and managing the alumni profiles on the foundation’s website. After he graduates from Wisconsin, Isaac plans to enroll in graduate school to study Elementary Education and Curriculum Development. He hopes to run for public office in Denver. It is no secret that his dream is to be mayor of his city.

As a CHCI Intern, Isaac looks forward to making the most out of his time in Washington DC by networking and absorbing as much as he can from the experience that will be provided. He has a particular interest in education, as well as urban development, and looks forward to working with his state senator, Michael Bennet.

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Cassandra Thompson, Merck Intern
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
School: University of New Mexico - Albuquerque
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ben Rey Lujan

Cassandra Thompson was born and raised in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Currently, she is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Political Science and History at the University of New Mexico.

Cassandra is an active member of the undergraduate student government at the University of New Mexico with special interest in lobbying for the University at the State Legislature. Cassandra spent time interning with Senator Cisco McSorley learning about issues not only facing New Mexico but also the issues facing the Hispanic population in the state. During her time at the State Legislature her interest in public policy flourished, leading to hopes of a career in public service in the future.

Cassandra’s goal is to team up with other students at the University of New Mexico to work towards closing the educational achievement gap not only at the university but all across the state of New Mexico. She also hopes to work with high schools and the university to inform high school students of the opportunities of higher education. As a CHCI intern, Cassandra aspires to gain a stronger knowledge of U.S. government and to use her experience to support a foundation for a future career in public policy and service.

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Esther Urena, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Corona, New York
School: Carnegie Mellon University
Major: Civil Engineering
Placement: The Office of Sen. Robert Menendez

Esther Ureña was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Corona, Queens, New York. A first generation college student, she is a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a second degree in Engineering and Public Policy.

After interning at STV, Inc. during high school, Esther was determined to become a Civil Engineer, aspiring to one day be able to work on the development of infrastructure in third-world countries. After beginning her college career, she became increasingly interested in the field of public policy especially as it related to engineering. She is confident that her engineering background will provide her with a different view on policy matters that allow for the making of unique yet effective solutions to real world dilemmas and technical issues.

Esther is currently the Vice-President of her university’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and is working to expand the normal scope of what CMU engineering students can do. She is fulfilling her goal of using her engineering background to benefit less fortunate countries by going on a service trip to the Philippines in the summer of 2012. There, Esther and her classmates will provide less fortunate children with better shelter and work with them on engineering projects to teach them about the STEM fields. She has also been devoted to giving back to her community by volunteering as a counselor, helping rebuild and refurbish a children’s center, and serving as a catechist at her local Church.

As a CHCI Intern, Esther hopes to learn as much as she can about the political side of real-world problems and to have as large of a role as possible in solving these issues. She hopes such knowledge in adjunct with her engineering background can prepare her for a career in public policy in the future.

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Catherine Urgiles, General Motors Intern
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
School: University of Michigan
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Nydia Velasquez

Catherine Urgiles is a first generation Ecuadorian-American born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently a junior attending the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and is majoring in Political Science and Sociology with plans to attend law school in the future.

On campus, Urgiles is involved in several student organizations including Latino Students Organization (LSO), MESA/Trotter Affiliate Program (MAP), and Assisting Latinos to Maximize Achievement (ALMA). She also works as a resident advisor in a residence hall and as an office assistant at the Center for Campus Involvement. Her experiences have allowed her to share valuable resources with other students, including an underclassman mentee.

The issue of immigration is very important to Urgiles and personal family experiences have influenced her to become active in creating change. While president of Latino Students Organization, Urgiles led a team of students to create and build a gallery, which sought to display the perspectives of undocumented immigrants in the United States. This multi-media gallery was divided into three sections: Struggles at Home, Journey to the U.S., and Life in the U.S. They had pre-recorded audio interviews set up for visitors to hear the emotional stories of undocumented immigrants. In addition, visitors were challenged to think about myths that are currently held about undocumented immigrants in the United States. After her involvement with this project, Urgiles joined eRACism and the Coalition for Tuition Equality to fight for affirmative action as well as in-state tuition at the University of Michigan for undocumented students living in the state of Michigan.

As a CHCI intern, Urgiles hopes to gain first-hand experience with the legislative process in the United States and understand how this can help her achieve her goals of increasing Latino high school graduation rates as well as college enrollment rates. Urgiles also hopes to use new skills from this experience to help supply the immigrant community with necessary resources to succeed.                                                                                                          

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Mario Vasquez
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
School: Stanford University
Major: Entrepreneurship
Placement: The Office of Rep. Silvestre Reyes

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas to Gloria Isela Vazquez, Mario Stephen Vazquez is a first generation Mexican-American and the first in his family to attend college in the United States.

Mario is a rising senior at Stanford University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology, and Society, and is scheduled to graduate in June 2013. After college, Mario hopes to work for a couple of years before eventually returning to the classroom and pursuing a degree in Law with the hopes of starting his own law firm. He also hopes to assist underserved communities and possibly run for office.

Since enrolling at Stanford in September of 2009, Mario has been actively involved with the Latino community on his campus. Whether it be serving as President of Los Hermanos de Stanford, an organization that provides scholarships for high achieving high school seniors, working as a psychology teacher and residential assistant to students from East Palo Alto, CA, or helping dictate the direction of Stanford’s Latino community center by serving on its advisory board, Mario has shown that his passion lies in providing opportunities to others.

Mario’s main passions stem from his personal experiences, and it is because of his desire to make change in these areas that he is excited to be a part of the 2012 Summer CHCI class. Through this opportunity, he hopes to gain an understanding of how the U.S. government functions, how the needs of a particular district are echoed on a national level, and ultimately how one can make change in a certain area when there are numerous issues that need to be addressed.

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Jonathan Villanueva, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: San Pedro, California
School: University of California - Santa Cruz
Major: Bio Molecular Engineering
Placement: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs

Jonathan Villanueva grew up in San Pedro, CA.  He comes from a diverse background with family from Nicaragua, Spain, and Mexico.  He attended San Pedro high school and graduated on the honor’s list. 

During high school, Jonathan was very active in community service.  He spent his time volunteering at his temple on Sundays to help teach children about Judaism.  Jonathan also volunteered for, and eventually became an employee at, his local Boys and Girls club where he worked to be a positive influence on the youth that frequented the club. He also volunteered at the local Cabrillo Marine Aquarium where he maintained the aquatic nursery and gave occasional tour guides.  In addition, Jonathan spent his summer before college working at a summer camp called Camp Newman in 2010.  Afterwards, he began his freshman year at UC Santa Cruz with the intention of earning a degree in Biology; however, he soon changed his degree to Bio-Molecular Engineering because of his interest in the techniques of engineers and how to apply them to biological sciences. 

Through this internship, Jonathan is really looking forward to learning how the government makes decisions on issues concerning biotechnology, medicine, and other scientific-related fields.  He also looks forward to enhancing his leadership skills and making connections for the future with other interns and professionals.

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Estefania Zaldumbide
Hometown: Kennesaw, Georgia
School: University of Georgia
Major: International Studies
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

Estefania Zaldumbide is a senior at The University of Georgia, where she will graduate in December with dual degree in International Relations and English Literature. She was born in Quito, Ecuador, but was raised in Kennesaw, Georgia. Embracing both her Ecuadorian and her American cultures has been influential in shaping her values of family, respect, duty, responsibility, unity, and freedom. These values, along with the devastating September 11 attacks, have instilled in her a desire to work toward protecting this nation and the international community by pursuing a career in national security.

Last fall, Estefania was accepted to study abroad in England at Keble College in The University of Oxford. Currently, she is a Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Fellow for the Center for International Trade and Security where she will contribute to the Center’s efforts in promoting weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation through strategic trade controls. This program has propelled her national security interests toward nonproliferation. She plans to attend graduate school for a master’s in domestic and international security policy with a focus in nonproliferation and to later pursue a law degree.

Among her academic accomplishments, Estefania is a Zell Miller Scholar, a Goizuetta Foundation Scholar, a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, and a National Society of Collegiate Scholar. In 2011, she was a recipient of the university’s E.X.C.E.L. Award for excellence in education and leadership. In her community, Estefania has served as a translator for families whose first language is not English. Internationally, she participates in her church’s Niños de la Calle del Ecuador mission that collects and delivers clothes, shoes, and toiletries to poor children who live on Ecuador’s streets and dumpsites.

As a CHCI Intern, Estefania she wishes to strengthen leadership skills and expand her education and experiences as a civil servant for the federal government in hopes of contributing to the nation’s continued prosperity.

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National HEP-CAMP Association Interns
Brenda Espinoza, National HEP-CAMP Association Intern
Ukiah, California
Business Administration, Mendocino College
Placement: The Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra

Brenda Espinosa is a first-generation Mexican-American born in Ukiah, CA and raised in the rural Anderson Valley, CA. She is the younger of two sisters and the daughter of a winemaking supervisor and a teacher’s assistant who arrived to the United States over 20 years ago. She wants to fulfill their dream of finishing college that was denied to them in Mexico. She is a rising sophomore at Mendocino Community College, where she majors in Business Administration.

Brenda graduated valedictorian of Anderson Valley High School in 2011 as the youngest in her class at the age of 16. She was named a National Hispanic Scholar in 2011 and was the recipient of several scholarships from her community, including the Robert Anderson Foundation 4-Year Scholarship. At Mendocino College, she has been placed on the semester Highest Honors List (4.000) during both semesters she has attended the institution. Apart from her academics, Brenda has also been involved with her community.

Brenda just finished volunteering with the Willits Kids Club and the NCO/VITA Program. At the Willits Kids Club, Brenda helped K-2 children with homework during the week, read books to them, taught newly-arrived Mexican students English, and aided outdoor/indoor activities on “Fun Fridays.” With the NCO/VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program), Brenda was certified as a Basic Tax Preparer with the IRS and helped low-income residents in her community file their taxes for free. For her assistance, she received a certificate from the United States Congress, the California Assembly, and the NCO/VITA Program. In addition, after having finished CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) during her freshman year, Brenda will become a CAMP Mentor for future students at Mendocino College and help them advance in college.

As a recipient of the 2012 summer internship with the National HEP-CAMP Association, Brenda aspires to learn not only leadership skills but also programs through which she can reach out to other Hispanic students in her hometown and help them succeed.

Kimberly Luna, National HEP-CAMP Association Intern
Saint Anthony, Idaho
Political Science, Boise State University
Placement: The Office on Rep. Ruben Hinojosa

Kimberly Luna was born and raised in Saint Anthony, Idaho. Kimberly comes from a migrant farm working family. Seeing her parents hard work has driven Kimberly to push for a higher education. Kimberly is of Mexican ancestry and a first – generation college student attending Boise State University. She is a rising sophomore majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish.

Kimberly recently completed her first year in college, and was on the Dean's List both semesters with High Honors. She was a recipient of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). CAMP has helped Kimberly transition to college with financial support, tutors, and academic advising.  She became an active member of three organizations that are very active on campus:  Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (MEChA), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Organización de Estudiantes Latino – Americanos (OELA). Apart from her academics and on-campus activities, Kimberly has also been involved in her community.

Kimberly has volunteered with Catholic Charities of Idaho, where she helped U.S. Permanent Residents fill out their U.S. Citizenship application, while utilizing her English and Spanish skills. The issues of immigration and education are very important to Kimberly and personal family experiences have influenced her to become active around her community.  Kimberly has also done some electoral organizing by volunteering with the Idaho Hispanic Caucus Institute for Research & Education working with its Latino Vote Project – to ensure that her family, friends, and other young Latinos are registered to vote and voting.

As a National HEP-CAMP Association intern in the Office of Congressman Hinojosa, Kimberly aspires to gain a better perspective of the federal government. She wants to use this knowledge and skills to contribute to Idaho’s Latino community and the nation. She hopes that her experience on Capitol Hill will strengthen her leadership skills and prepare her for a career in public policy.

Miguel Martinez, National HEP-CAMP Association Intern
Mulberry, Florida
Nursing, University of South Florida
Placement: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education

Miguel Martinez is a first generation Mexican American and the oldest son of seven children to Mexican immigrants who migrated to the United States over twenty years ago in search of better life opportunities. He was born and raised in Florida and is currently a sophomore pursuing a Nursing degree at the University of South Florida. Miguel is a member of several student organizations on his campus, including the Members Empowering True Awareness (M.E.T.A), Bull Service Break, Emerging Leadership Institute and CAMP/HEP Internship. He is primarily focused on developing collaborations with various campus and city-wide organizations and exposing University resources and the campus community to underserved communities within the Hispanic and Farm working Community.

As President of Members Empowering True Awareness, Miguel wants to work with other organizations to promote the difficult issues that Farmworkers confront in hope of building coalitions to offer assistance to the Farm working community and Youth. He knows that youth within the Farm working community lack motivation to obtain an education and hopes to encourage youth to pursue an education as president of this organization.

Taking apart of the Bull service Break, Miguel got the opportunity to serve his community during his spring break. He went on a trip to Mobile, Alabama where he collaborated with the South Alabama Care Unit to help people suffering from aids. Along with nine other Miguel got to sit into a men’s group where everyone offers support for another person going through life problems due to their aids condition. He also helped numerous clients from the Care Unit to ensure that they had the resources they needed for their everyday living and helping out the client in anything they could no longer accomplish due to their health state.

As part of the Emerging Leaders Institute Alumni, Miguel got the opportunity to learn what makes a true leader and how impactful that leader could be within their community. It was an intimate and unique experience for all the participants of this Organization because they got listen to each other’s inner thoughts and feeling about different controversial issue. With this they came to understand what the challenges and issues a leader might confront and what they could do in the best interest of everyone

This summer, Miguel got the opportunity of his life time to take part in the HEP-CAMP Internship. He is interning in the Office of Migrant Education within the U.S Department of Education where he gotten familiar with his own CAMP program from back home. The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) is designed to offer assistance to students who are migratory or seasonal workers with the completion of the first year in college.

Miguel hopes to enter his competitive Nursing program at his University and eventually be able to work with Cancer Patients. After losing one of his loved ones, he hopes to help those who are also in the similar situation when he lost his loved one. He understands that it is difficult, but he does not let anything stand in his way.

Marvin Francisco Rodriguez, National HEP-CAMP Association Intern
Greenport, New York
Computer Science, SUNY at Oneonta
Placement: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Born and raised in Palencia, Guatemala, Marvin moved to New York when he was nine years old. A son from two immigrant parents, his mother and father have instilled in him the important value that education carries. The eldest of two, Marvin is the first in his family to attend a university. Currently, he is a rising sophomore at State University of New York at Oneonta majoring in Computer Science. Marvin is a member of several student organizations on his campus, including Vice President of Student Opportunities and Leadership (SOAL) and Advocate of the Diversity Peer Education (DPEP). He attributes his tenacity to his parents, who made many sacrifices to secure a better life for their family. He believes it is it’s not always about triumph, but the sacrifices and the journey life takes you through.

Rodriguez has attained a placement on the dean’s list for two consecutive semesters. In addition received the State University Supplemental Tuition Award (SUSTA) and was among the 180 students who received a Susan Sutton Smith Student Award for Academic Excellence. The Alumni Association Fund for Academic Excellence recognizes students who have earned a 3.9 or better.

In addition, Marvin has participated in many programs both in college and at the community level. Marvin has volunteered at Greenport High School by assisting minority students with homework as well as motivating them to pursue a higher education. In College Marvin Has participated in events to promote diversity.

Rodriguez also has a passion for learning. One of his goals is to promote higher education. He believes adolescents can contribute to an ever-changing world. He encourages adolescents to seek new experiences and opportunities. Marvin believes they can excel academically and be successful in a lifelong journey of obstacles.

As an intern, Rodriguez wants to attain the necessary skills and to develop relationships that would enable him to help his community.