2013 CHCI Summer Congressional Interns

CHCI welcomed its 2013 summer interns on June 10. The class is composed of 36 diverse individuals, from 11 different states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. They come from 33 different academic institutions, are pursuing 25 different majors, and 58% are the first generation to attend college.

Detailed Demographics: 2013 CHCI Summer Congressional Interns

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

Genie Arcila

Priscila Avila

Areli Arteaga

Raquel Azcue

Erica Baca

Nicolas Barbero

Jessica Barron

Ramon Cabral

Alvaro Calle Laguna

Oscar Carvente

Brian Castro

Bianca Castillo

Alejandra Cuin

Oscar de los Santos

Brendali Diaz-Magana

Cecilia Espinoza


Kiara Felix

Yesenia Flores

Laura Galindo

Juan Gomez

Jacob Gonzalez

Baldemar Hernandez, Jr.

Michelle Hernandez

Daniel Herrera

Gerardo Lagunes-Hernandez

Margarita 'Maggie' Lopez

David Luna

Manuel Medina

Ana Moas


Scarlett Montenegro

Vanessa Nevarez

Alexis Nieves

Victoria Ochoa

Yahaira Perez

Tiffany Reid

Jaime Sanchez, Jr.

Miosotis Soto

Michael Suarez

Jacquelyne Vega

Cecilia Velasco

William Velazquez

Jacqueline Villagomez







Genie Arcila, Time Warner Inc. Intern
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
School: Emory University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Genie Arcila is a first-generation Mexican-American originally from Atlanta, GA, and the youngest of two children. She is a rising senior studying political science and French at Emory University.

At Emory, she has remained active on campus, participating in various organizations. She recently received the Presidential Service Award for completing over 130 service hours with Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity and various Atlanta organizations. Genie has also served as a Jumpstart Corps member where she worked closely with preschoolers in developing language and literacy skills. Currently, she works as a teacher at a local after school program.

Her experience working with children has peaked her interest in education policy. As a CHCI Intern, Genie hopes to strengthen her leadership skills and develop an understanding of the legislative process.

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Priscilla Avila, Darden Restaurants Intern
Hometown: McAllen, Texas
School: St Mary's University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Rubén Hinojosa

Priscilla was born in McAllen, TX, but moved to Mexico and lived there until she was 10 years old. She is the oldest of four children and the first member of her family to attend college. After completing her undergraduate studies, Priscilla plans to either attend law school or work on a master’s degree in international relations.

Priscilla Avila is a senior at St. Mary’s University, majoring in political science and international relations, with a minor in criminology. Since her freshman year, she has been an active member of the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and currently serves as treasurer. She is also a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and of the St. Mary’s Emissaries team.

Priscilla has volunteered during various political events such as the Gloria Rodriguez campaign for San Antonio City Council. She has participated in discussions related to the DREAM Act and attended several law conventions. Priscilla credits her previous community service as a major part of her formation, developing a passion toward politics, international affairs, and foreign policy.

As a CHCI Intern, Priscilla looks forward to learning and understanding public policy and the legislative process. She hopes to gain a better understanding of America’s political realm and how policies impact the Latino community. Priscilla feels extremely honored to be a part of the CHCI experience in Washington, D.C. She is eager to work hard and undertake each challenge that awaits her.

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Areli Arteaga, HEP CAMP Association Intern
Hometown:Parma, Idaho
School: University of Idaho
Major: Political Science
Placement: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education

Areli Arteaga, is the first member in her family to attend a university. She is a rising sophomore and studying at the University of Idaho. 

Areli was born and raised in the state of Idaho. She is currently interning with the Department of Education in the office of Migrant Education. 

As a HEP CAMP intern, Areli hopes to learn more about policies in Washington, D.C. and gain an understanding of the hidden sides of politics that is not taught in textbooks.

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Raquel Azcué, Comcast Foundation Intern
Hometown: Houston, Texas
School: Bryn Mawr College
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Pete Gallego

Raquel Azcué is a first generation Mexican-American and first generation college student. Raquel’s parents immigrated to the United States in a pursuit of a better life. She continues in this pursuit by enriching herself through education.

Raquel is a rising junior at Bryn Mawr College and is double majoring in Spanish and political science with a concentration in Latin American politics. As a double major, she has become well versed in global political issues and has expanded her knowledge of Spanish and Spanish speaking communities.

Raquel’s commitment to learning about diverse communities extends beyond the classroom. She has been a tutor for the after school program at Gotwals Elementary and has externed for an immigration defense attorney at Murphy Law Firm.

Currently, Raquel serves as the Spanish Department student representative, is co-president of the Bryn Mawr African and Caribbean Students Organization, and is an organizer for Mawrters for Immigrant Justice. With her personal and academic experience, she plans to pursue a Juris Doctorate to practice immigration law.  

As a CHCI Intern, Raquel seeks to accomplish a better understanding about constituent roles and how they can impact any policy directly affecting the Latino community regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or distance. She knows the experience she will gain as an intern will help her develop skills she can take back to her community.

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Erica Baca, Toyota Intern
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
School: University of New Mexico
Major: Education
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ben Ray Luján

Erica Baca was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM.  She is the oldest of four children. In 2010, Erica graduated from Sandia High School where she participated in student organizations such as Senate, Youth and Government, Class Houses, and Key Club. Erica is now a junior at the University of New Mexico (UNM), studying education and pre-law. Her overarching goal is to study child advocacy in law school at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Erica is president of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) Council 8057 at UNM, where she uses her position to promote community service and civil rights. She is also the New Mexico LULAC district director for youth. A big supporter of community service, Erica volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, Joy Junction (homeless services) and PB&J (child services). She also mentors and tutors children at a dual-language charter school named La Promesa Early Learning Center. Children are Erica’s greatest passion in life and she hopes to help as many children as possible.

As a CHCI Intern, Erica hopes to expand her knowledge of the legislative and governmental processes, particularly on legislation that directly affects the U.S. educational system. During her time in Washington, D.C., she looks forward to sharpening her leadership skills and working alongside other leaders.

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Nicholas Barbero, Hyundai Motor America Intern
Hometown: Anaheim, California
School: University of California-Irvine
Major: Psychology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez

Nick Barbero is a sophomore at the University of California-Irvine. He is working on a B.A. in psychology and social behavior.

Nick has a passion for mentoring and helping others develop their skills and interests. Because of this passion, Nick is currently a mentor in the ACCESS Social Ecology program at UC-Irvine. Nick has had the opportunity to create leadership workshops that benefit first-year students by informing them on how to integrate and get involved.

Nick has been a leader in the AWANA Children’s Club in his hometown of Anaheim, CA. AWANA creates programs, materials, and lesson plans specific to various age groups. He has taught and helped young children develop their basic skills such as teamwork and kindness through a variety of games, skits, and engaging material.

As a CHCI Intern, Nick is hoping to gain a deeper understanding of how America’s political system functions and learn how he could contribute in the future. Nick is also excited to meet and develop relationships with members of the CHCI internship class and meet members of Congress.

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Jessica Barron, HEP CAMP Association Intern
Hometown:Mulberry, Florida
School: University of South Florida
Major: Mass Communications 
Placement: Office of Sen. Mark Rubio (FL)

Jessica Barron is currently attending the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Jessica is majoring in Mass Communications with a minor in International Relations. Jessica wants to become a Broadcast Journalist just like Jorge Ramos. 

At her university, Jessica is the Vice President of M.E.T.A (Members Empowering True Awareness). She is a part of CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program).  She is also the Cultural Ambassador and a Council Member of the Tampa Hispanic Heritage Incorporation. 

Through this internship, Jessica hopes to learn skills that will help her in her broadcasting career. She also hopes to create meaningful contacts through this experience.
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Ramon Cabral, Time Warner Inc. Intern
Hometown: Bronx, New York
School: Fordham University
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. José Serrano

Ramon Cabral is a senior majoring in political science at Fordham University located in Bronx, NY. He attended Herbert H. Lehman High School also located in the Bronx. Ramon was born and raised in New York City. His parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic and he is a first generation Dominican-American student.

At Fordham University, Ramon participates in various organizations and has risen to become the president of El Grito de Lares, one of two Latino organizations on campus. He has also been involved in the Commuting Students Association, where he serves as the executive vice president. Ramon has volunteered for some time with the Dorothy Day Center for Service & Justice at Fordham University as a Bronx College Town mentor, guiding students from a nearby middle school about college life. His love for his Latino roots also made him join the Office of Multicultural Affairs as a diversity peer leader in order to help spread the acceptance and knowledge of all different backgrounds and cultures, especially Latinos. He also serves as the senior vice president for student affairs’ Student Advisory Council, where he meets to discuss any issues that pertain to student life on campus.

Professionally, Ramon has worked with a local New York Assemblywoman where he engaged in office management procedures and dealt with constituent work. He also updated and maintained a presence on social networks for the assemblywoman.

As a CHCI Intern, Ramon hopes to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to become a better leader in the Latino community. He also hopes to build resources and skills in order to help him pursue a career in public service.

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Alvaro Calle Laguna, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Reston, Virginia
School: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Major: Civil Engineering
Placement: The Office of Sen. Tom Udall

Alvaro Calle Laguna was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States at the age of 6 with his grandfather.  Alvaro and his family first lived in Massachusetts, and eventually settled in Virginia. Alvaro realized the difficulties and hardships his family went through to give him a better future, so he challenged himself in his academics as he was growing up. Graduating high school with honors and an International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alvaro was the first in his family to attend a university in the United States. Part of his university’s Dean’s List, Alvaro is a sophomore at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), located in Blacksburg, VA, majoring in civil engineering.

Aside from academics, Alvaro has an inclination for assisting his community through his volunteer work with the Lions Club International and his church. His volunteer work ranges from doing yard work to assisting the Spanish-speaking community as a translator in several health fairs. Thanks to the Lions Club, volunteer work, and his leadership roles in high school, Alvaro became a co-founder and current president of the Virginia Cyber Leo Club, which brings college students together to work on several service projects and to make a difference in the community.

As an undergraduate student, Alvaro has played a vital role in an engineering mentoring program and with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, helping students understand the importance of academic success.

As a CHCI Intern, Alvaro is looking forward to gaining more leadership skills and in increasing his understanding about the political process in order to keep assisting his Latino community as he has a passion for immigration reform. He is excited to work in the political environment, as he will gain skills necessary to be successful in his future career.

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Oscar Carvente, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
School: Stanford University
Major:  Mathematics
Placement: The Office of Rep. Donna Christensen

Oscar Carvente was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA to Mexican immigrant parents. He is currently a sophomore at Stanford University majoring in urban studies with a minor in education.

Oscar is active in the Latino community at Stanford primarily through Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and the community service group Los Hermanos de Stanford. While studying at Stanford, he has had the opportunity to volunteer and work closely with the Haas Center for Public Service. He has volunteered for tutoring groups to provide academic support to low income minority youth through the East Palo Alto Tutoring and Tennis (EPATT) and DreamCatchers organizations. Oscar also  interned at A Place Called Home to empower youth, and led an intensive college prep workshop for incoming freshmen in the surrounding community.  

Oscar attended poorly managed local public schools. From his experiences, he developed a passion for underprivileged communities to have access to a fair and equal education. He wants to research the best possible avenues to inform, guide, and aid students from his similar background and experience. He plans to return to his hometown, become a math teacher, and hopefully inspire Latino youth to pursue higher education and postsecondary studies.

Oscar understands education reform relies on public policy. Through the CHCI Internship, he hopes to better understand how Latino, minority or other underprivileged communities are affected by legislation and public policy. He hopes to meet people from other cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives.

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Brian Castro, Pfizer Inc. Intern
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
School: Iowa State University
Major: Nutritional Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Brian Castro was born and raised in Southside Chicago, IL. As a first generation Mexican-American, Castro was one of the first members of his family to pursue higher education. Currently, he is finishing his final year at Iowa State University studying nutrition and wellness with a double major in global resource systems with an emphasis in emerging global diseases.

Throughout high school, Brian challenged himself to obtain leadership positions while maintaining his academic status. As an active community member, he has participated in service and awareness events that shine light on social and international issues such as planning and hosting community hunger banquets. Each experience shaped his profound passion for global health and food scarcity.

After his first year in college, Brian traveled to Uganda with a service learning team. The team taught agricultural management to school children and helped build a school garden. Since then, Castro has returned to Uganda as an intern to conduct a nutritional assessment of the school children. In the summer of 2012, he interned for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Panama as a project evaluator and field-translator. Brian was named the 2013 ISU Greek Week Service Man of the Year due to his domestic and international service.

Brian plans to utilize and implement the skills he has gained through his previous experiences, to get the most out of CHCI Congressional Internship Program. More than anything, he plans to learn about the legislative process and how the leaders of our nation work to influence public policy and tackle civil issues. Brian hopes to harness  these new skills to further improve health and food instability among all racial groups on a domestic and international level.

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Bianca Castillo, HEP CAMP Association Intern
Hometown:Chualar, California
School: California State University - Fresno
Major: Criminology
Placement: Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-34)

Bianca Castillo is the daughter of two humble farmworkers from Chualar, California. Bianca is a first-generation student who also works as a farmworker during her free time. 

Bianca is a student at the California State University – Fresno. She is studying criminology, option law enforcement.  Bianca is supportive, active and an advocate for the Latino communities. Bianca is involved with the CAMP program in her school as well as in the MSA program. The MSA program focuses on helping migrant students apply and succeed in college.

Bianca is aware of the necessity that her family and community undergoes. Therefore, Bianca is excited to take full advantage of the HEP CAMP internship. She plans on using the knowledge that she gains in order to improve her

Alejandra Cuin, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Brewster, Washington
School: Wellesley College
Major: Mathematics
Placement: The Office of the Treasurer

Alejandra Cuin-Miranda is a first generation Mexican-American and the eldest of three children. She is the first member of her family to attend college. She values her parent’s example, work ethic, and constant encouragement to be the best she can be. They have taught her to never let any obstacle deter her from attaining her goals.

Alejandra was born and raised in North Central Washington. She is a freshman at Wellesley College pursuing two B.S. degrees: mathematics and economics.  In high school, she earned the prestigious academic title of Salutatorian. Although the institution’s student body is more than half Latino, she was the first Latina to earn this recognition. She was also actively involved in various activities. She was the National Honor Society president, World Language Club vice-president and the Future Business Leaders of America president. She is a Quest Bridge scholar and also the proud recipient of the Buick Achiever’s Scholarship.

During her first year at Wellesley College, Alejandra was publicity chair for Habitat for Humanity, senator for Dower House dormitories, co-treasurer for the Latino organization named Mezcla, and she worked at the Davis Museum on campus. Additionally, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build houses in New Orleans.

She has been nominated as conference chair for Mezcla, to coordinate the Seven Sisters Latina Conference at Wellesley College. The main goal of the conference is to empower young Latinas who are generally the first person in their families to attend college. Attendees are informed about the obstacles Latinas have overcome to attend schools such as culture shock, classism and lack of institutional support.

As a CHCI Intern, Alejandra seeks to hone her leadership skills and gain a greater insight on the legislative process.

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Oscar de los Santos, Hyundai Motor America Intern
Hometown: Northridge, California
School: University of Southern California
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Tony Cardenas

Oscar De Los Santos was raised in North Hollywood, CA by immigrant parents from México. The last of five children, he is a rising junior at the University of Southern California majoring in political science and working to create a minor in hip hop studies. A first-generation college student, he was named a USC Topping Scholar in recognition of his community service and received the USC Unruh Institute of Politics’ André Pineda Political Leadership Award in 2013.

At the age of 14, inspired by the belief that politics should be powered by the people, Oscar volunteered for the 2008 Obama campaign. While in high school, Oscar interned for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s 2010 campaign for re-election. In 2011, he was an Organizing for America–California summer organizer where he first learned the importance of the involvement of youth and Latino communities in grassroots politics, and was selected as a winner of a nationwide competition to have lunch with President Obama. In 2012, he was a National Latino Vote intern at Obama for America headquarters in Chicago and was a field organizer for the Obama campaign in Broward County, FL. He served as an advisor to Mike Bonin’s successful Los Angeles City Council campaign in 2013.

Oscar is vice president of Sigma Delta Alpha Fraternity at USC, a member of the Queer and Ally Student Assembly, and works as a staff assistant at USC’s Department of Political Science. As a CHCI Intern, Oscar looks forward to learning more about the political process of policy making, the way coalitions are formed, and how lawmakers and staff interact with citizens. He will use the insight gained during his time in D.C. to help him achieve his dreams of empowering young people from marginalized communities to create change.

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Brendali Diaz-Magana, HEP CAMP Association Intern
Hometown: Chelan, Washington
School: Washington State University
Major: Accounting
Placement: U.S. Department of Education - White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Brendali Diaz-Magana is a first generation college student from Lake Chelan, Washington. As the first in her family to attend a four year university, Brendali is setting a positive example for both her older and younger siblings. 

She attends Washington State University where she participates in the residence hall government and has served as a secretary of her hall. She gained valuable administrative skills that will benefit her desired career. She also volunteered in the annual Cashe Conference and also helped start M.A.S., Movimiento Activista Social – a club that advocates for educational attainment for underrepresented or at-risk students.  Brendali received the highest honors award at the end of the year banquet for her contributions to the college assistant migrant program.  

The HEP CAMP summer internship program will open a door of possibilities for Brendali. She believes her involvement will help her gain an understanding of the political systems that set forth laws that affect her and her community.

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Cecilia Espinoza, United Health Foundation Intern
Hometown: El Mirage, Arizona
School: Grand Canyon University
Major: Nursing
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

Cecilia Espinoza was born in Jalisco, Mexico.  At an early age, her family moved to Le Grand, CA, and later to El Mirage, AZ. She is the first in her family to attend college, aspiring to work in the medical field after earning a B.S. in nursing from Grand Canyon University.

Cecilia enjoys helping her community. She has traveled to Mexico as part of a mission trip alongside medical professionals where she helped serve the community’s needs. Cecilia is an active member of the Latino Student Union at her school. She helped raise scholarship funds intended for club members. Currently, she volunteers at Hospice of the Valley where her duties include assisting staff members and providing the best care possible to patients and their families.

Cecilia is eager to gain leadership skills as a CHCI Intern, hoping to understand more about the country’s legislative process. Cecilia is excited to work with and join other young leaders from the nation in making a positive difference in the Latino community.

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Kiara Felix, GE Hispanic Forum Intern
Hometown: Coachella, California
School: University of La Verne
Major: Anthropology and Business Administration
Placement:The Office of Rep. Raul Ruiz

Kiara was raised in Coachella, CA and participates with community projects and events. She participated with Leaders of Tomorrow as an outreach coordinator to advocate and promote critical issues relating to public health, political advocacy, and student concerns; worked with Feeding America, as part of an internship with Health Career Connections; and educated low-income families about the importance of a nutritional lifestyle in the Coachella Valley. In addition, she volunteered with the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino and worked under the direction of experienced attorneys and paralegals.

Kiara Felix currently studies anthropology with a minor in business administration at the University of La Verne. She is the first in her family to pursue a college education. Kiara served as the senator of diversity for California State University, Stanislaus campus during her sophomore year. She is an advocate for social and political causes. She enjoys serving the community and encourages students to represent their own cultures on campus.

As a CHCI Intern, Kiara looks forward to acquiring leadership skills necessary to better represent her Hispanic community. She believes that knowledge is power and she is motivated to embrace the new challenging experiences with CHCI.

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Yesenia Flores, Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation Intern
Hometown: Houston, Texas
School: George Washington University
Major: Biology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Filemon Vela

Yesenia Flores was born and raised in Houston, TX. She is the oldest of three children born to Mexican parents. In high school, Yesenia served as the president of the academic decathlon as well as the battalion commander of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Yesenia has continued to provide community service in her hometown by directing the St. Jerome’s Summer Breeze Summer Camp at her church.

Yesenia is the first in her family to pursue a college education. She is currently an undergraduate student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where she is pursuing a double major in biology and political science.

During her college career, she helped begin and currently serves as the president of the first League of United Latino American Citizens Young Adult Council in the Washington area. She also remains active within her university community by conducting research for the Political Science Department. Yesenia was the networking chair of the largest Latino organization on her campus named O.L.A.S., and is a nominee for the G.W. President’s council for Diversity and Inclusion at her university this upcoming school year. During her free time, she works as a private tutor and mentor for high school students.

Yesenia looks forward to taking part in the CHCI Congressional Internship Program. She hopes to strengthen her leadership and communication skills to better serve the Hispanic community. 

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Laura Galindo, HEP CAMP Association Intern
Hometown: The Dalles
School: Oregon State University
Major: Political Science
Placement: Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)

Laura Galindo is a Mexican-American raised in The Dalles, Oregon. She just completed her freshman year at Oregon State University and is a proud first-generation student.

Her immediate family conssist of a hardworking single mother and two younger siblings. She has set a good example for her siblings by getting her entire undergraduate college career paid for by scholarship and federal funding. 

She feels grateful for this opportunity in Washington, D.C. and is excited to learn more about politics since she wants to pursue a career in political science and become an immigration lawyer in the future.

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Juan Gomez, National Association of Broadcasters Intern
Hometown: Kearny, New Jersey
School: Montclair State University
Major: Psychology & Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Albio Sires

Juan Gomez is a third year student at Montclair State University, where he is majoring in both political science and psychology with a minor in public administration. He lives in Kearny, NJ and is a first generation American of Spanish and Costa Rican descent.

Working closely with SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) at a national and state level, Juan has helped develop the organization in New Jersey. He serves as the state contact, creating new programming for state chapters, training students in advocacy and leadership skills, and helping advisors with their chapters. Juan also serves on the executive board of the Montclair State chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Juan feels honored to be a CHCI Intern, and excited to understand more about the legislative process at a closer level. He hopes to learn new skills, specifically in public policy, that he can bring back to his own community.

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Jacob Gonzalez, David Bohnett Foundation Intern
Hometown: Laveen, Arizona
School: Stanford University
Major: Language
The Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

Jacob Andrew Gonzalez Villa is the eldest of four sons, born to first generation Mexican-Americans, and raised in South Phoenix.

Jacob is a first-generation college student, a rising Stanford junior, and a B.A. candidate in classics with honors in education. After college, Jacob hopes to live abroad in Latin America for some time, working with humanitarian organizations before he attends law school. Ultimately, he intends to return to Phoenix and involve himself in his city’s politics.

Jacob serves as a volunteer for the Stanford student group Barrio Assistance, a tutoring and mentoring organization that targets at-risk Hispanic youths in East Palo Alto. He was also the former community service director for Los Hermanos de Stanford, a fraternal organization dedicated to cultural awareness and volunteer efforts aimed both at Stanford and the surrounding community. Jacob is employed as a community liaison for Stanford’s El Centro Chicano. He supports staff members at the community center in order to provide academic, cultural, and mental health services for Stanford’s diverse and robust Hispanic community.

As a CHCI Intern, he hopes to gain a more accurate understanding of Congress and its structure.

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Michelle Hernandez, Shell Intern
Hometown: Jackson Heights, New York
School: Brown University
Major: Environmental Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Chuck Schumer

Michelle Diane Hernandez was born and raised in Queens, NY. She is the eldest of two children, born to a Colombian mother and Dominican father. Raised in a culturally diverse family along with her urban upbringing, Michelle’s interests include social justice, minority outreach, and empowerment.

Michelle is the first person in her family to attend college. She is completing her sophomore year at Brown University where she majors in environmental and urban studies. Off campus, Michelle volunteers as a minority peer counselor friend at the Third World Center at Brown University, a center dedicated to the advancement of students of color and their allies through social, academic, cultural, and organizational support. Michelle is also a proud member of the Zeta Theta chapter of the Alpha Chi Omega fraternity. She has also volunteered as a mentor for the First Generation College Student group.

As a CHCI Intern, Michelle hopes to gain a deeper understanding of America’s governing institutions. She looks forward to working and meeting with those who directly influence legislation, as well as being exposed to the legislative process. Michelle intends to take full advantage of her time as an intern and attain valuable skills she can apply toward her future studies and career.

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Baldemar Hernandez Jr., Marathon Oil Intern
Hometown: Mission, Texas
School: University of Texas-Pan American
Major: Electrical Engineering
Placement: The Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar

Baldemar Hernandez Jr. was born in Mission, TX, and is the oldest of three children. Coming from a family of migrant workers, Baldemar was raised between Texas and Tennessee. He graduated high school with the GEAR UP Program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). GEAR UP informs students about the importance of achieving a higher education. As a first generation senior college student, Baldemar is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Texas Pan-American.

Baldemar is involved in various clubs and organizations. He is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta chapter and has recently joined the Engineering Honor Society. During the fall semester, he will be a Founding Member for Tau Beta Pi, the oldest Engineering Honor Society and second oldest collegiate honor society in the United States. He previously worked for Tex-Prep, which is a program designed to expose middle and high school students to engineering.

Baldemar is serving his second year as program director of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  In this position, during Hispanic, Engineering, Science, and Technology Week (HESTEC), he and other officers educated over 1,000 elementary to high school students about the importance of the STEM majors and how to become the next great Hispanic leaders/innovators in those fields.

Last summer, Baldemar participated in the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Internship Program and met several Hispanic executives and government leaders. He was placed in Philadelphia, PA, and was an electrical engineering intern for the Advanced Electrical Power Systems Branch of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The internship gave him the opportunity to learn the roles of an engineer and how to effectively save millions of dollars while executing small scale projects.  Baldemar is interested in renewable energy and would like to develop a program for providing clean, safe and affordable energy for the people of the United States.

As a CHCI Intern, he hopes to learn more about politics, the legislation system, and how each impacts the STEM field. He is looking forward to researching methods to boost awareness and Hispanic participation in the STEM field. In addition, he would like to learn effective communication tools, leadership skills, and networking opportunities to bring back those skills to help his community.

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Daniel Herrera, GE Hispanic Forum Intern
Hometown: Davie, Florida
School: Florida State University
Major: Entrepreneurship
Placement: The Office of Sen. Michael Bennet

Born and raised in Davie, FL, Daniel Luis Herrera is a first generation Cuban-American. By way of the Freedom Flights, his parents emigrated from Cuba to the United States in search of the American dream. His family’s support, educational background, and professional success in this country have inspired Daniel to leave a lasting and positive impact on this world.

Presently, Daniel is a senior at Florida State University (FSU), where he is pursuing a double major in entrepreneurship and management. With high aspirations within industry and the private sector, much of his extracurricular experience mirrors his admiration of business. For instance, Daniel was the Vice-president of the Young Entrepreneur Society and he started a successful, on-campus tutoring service with his fellow classmates.

Leadership and civic engagement are also important personal characteristics for Daniel. During his senior year, he was elected as the President of the Oscar Arias Sanchez Hispanic Honor Society, which is a scholastic and leadership society that promotes participation in other campus honor societies.

As a CHCI Intern, Daniel hopes to gain a greater understanding about the intricacies of the legislative process at the federal level. With the growing relationship between the private and public sectors, the firsthand, experience in goverment will serve as an invaluable opportunity for Daniel. He also hopes to become more of an impactful leader with the hope of serving and representing the Latino and Hispanic communities to the best of his ability.

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Gerardo Lagunes-Hernandez, Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation Intern
Hometown: San Diego, California
School: Harvard College
Major: Humanities
Placement: The Office of Rep. Juan Vargas

Gerardo Lagunes-Hernandez was born in Veracruz, Mexico and moved to the United States at an early age. Gerardo is a junior at Harvard University majoring in classic and ethnic studies.

Gerardo is involved in a variety of Latino organizations at Harvard. He served as an editor for La Vida at Harvard, a yearly publication geared toward Latinos that encourages them to experience Boston’s Latino life. Additionally, he is a coordinator for Mission Hill After School Program, where he has developed a passion for education and public service–a field he wishes to enter when he graduates.

As a CHCI Intern, he hopes to learn more about available channels for political impact in America. During the CHCI experience, he hopes to become better equipped to serve his community as a professional and as a citizen. He looks forward to working and learning with fellow Latinos who are dedicated to the improvement of our community.

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Margarita ‘Maggie’ López, Hyundai Motor America Intern
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
School: Vassar College
Major: Sociology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra

Maggie López is a senior at Vassar College located in Poughkeepsie, NY. At Vassar, she is majoring in sociology with a concentration in Latin American and Latina/o studies. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA to Central-American immigrant parents, Maggie is the youngest of three sisters. In her charter high school, where she was Valedictorian of her class, she held various leadership positions in multiple organizations including student council and the school newspaper.

Throughout her last three years in college, Maggie has been a part of multiple student organizations including Poder Latino and Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ Aztlán (MEChA), holding leadership roles in both. She has also worked as a research assistant for the past two years in the Sociology and Latino Studies departments. Outside of college, Maggie interned for Optimum Media Direction, a multinational media communication corporation, for two summers in a row. While studying abroad in Spain last year, Maggie did an independent research project comparing the experience of Latino immigrants in the United States and Spain in the context of public policies.

As a CHCI Intern, working under Rep. Xavier Becerra, Maggie hopes to gain insight and knowledge concerning the legislative process. She also wishes to continue to grow as a leader, to serve her local community and the Latino community at large.

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David Luna, Toyota Intern
Hometown: Cliffside Park, New Jersey
School: Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Major:  Political Science
Placement: The Office of Sen. Robert Menendez

Born in Brooklyn, NY, David is a political science major at Hobart and William Smith Colleges located in Geneva, NY. Passionate about increasing civic participation, especially among Latinos, he is co-president of HWS Votes. In this role, he and his partners registered and provided absentee ballots to over 800 of his peers for the 2012 election. Using the momentum this generated on campus and in the wider community, David also initiated and organized a U.S. Congressional Debate, the first to take place at the colleges.

David enjoys nothing more than getting to know new people and working closely together to achieve a shared goal.  As opinions editor for his college newspaper, The Herald, he writes a regular column and mentors his peers. David has also been a resident assistant for the past two years, initiating educational programming and taking pride in the close-knit community he has fostered among his residents. Recently, David had the honor of connecting with ten other college leaders chosen from New York as a finalist for the public service and leadership oriented Truman Scholarship.

From the moment David took an AP History course his junior year in high school, he knew he wanted to study and be involved in politics, governmental affairs, and international development.  David believes a career in public service is a path that can enable him to further develop these passions and allow him to give back to his community. His participation in the CHCI’s Internship Program will provide a new experience, one that he hopes will open his eyes to the vast opportunities and pathways available for progress. With a better understanding of our nation’s politics, David will be better equipped to formulate policy on issues like education, international relations, and civic engagement. 

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Manuel Medina, Darden Restaurants Intern
Hometown: Cicero, Illinois
School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Major: Finance
Placement: The Office of Sen. Robert Menendez

Manuel Medina was born and raised in Chicago, IL. As a teenager, his family moved to Mexico where he attended high school. He is a first generation college student and a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), majoring in finance with a double minor in international business and economics.

Manuel is heavily involved within UIC, participating on the board of many student organizations and serving as the treasurer of the Finance and Investment Group.  He also serves as a student senator and an active member with The Confederation of Latin American Students, an organization that strives to retain Latinos in college. Within every organization, Manuel seeks to represent Latinos in the best way possible through a commitment to dedication and leadership.

By participating in the CHCI Congressional Internship Program, Manuel expects to gain firsthand experience about the legislative process. He hopes the acquired knowledge and increased leadership skills will benefit his career path to service Latinos in the realm of public policy.   

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Ana Moas, David Bohnett Foundation Intern
Hometown: Miami, Florida
School: University of Miami
Major: Economics
Placement: The Office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ana Moas is a Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, FL, who just completed her second year as a psychology and economics double major at the University of Miami.

Ana has a passion for community service, and has been heavily involved in volunteer work since high school. Currently, she serves as co-chair for the campus’ chapter of Camp Kesem, a national non-profit organization that provides free summer camps for the children of those battling cancer. She is also a proud member of the student government and on the executive board for her school’s chapter of Psi Chi International Honor Society.

This summer Ana hopes to have valuable growth experience as a CHCI Intern. She is looking forward to gaining professional and interpersonal skills as well as meeting peers from across the country, while gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of the legislative process and the federal government as a whole.

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Scarlett Montenegro, Comcast Foundation Intern
Hometown: Miami, Florida
School: Mount Holyoke College
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Joe Garcia

Scarlett Lucia Montenegro was born and raised in Miami, FL to Nicaraguan parents. After her father’s passing, Scarlett made a commitment to help her mother achieve her American dream. To honor her mother’s wish, Scarlett became the first member of her family to attend college.

Scarlett is currently a Posse Foundation Scholar, a Women of Tomorrow Scholar, and a senior at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits, and trains incredible young leaders from urban public high schools and sends them in “posses” to top colleges and universities across the country. She is majoring in politics with a Nexus minor in law and public policy in the hopes of someday attending law school and becoming a voice for the Latino community.

Scarlett demonstrated leadership by organizing an empowering Dress for Success inspired fashion show. With the help of the Mount Holyoke College Career Center and Alumnae Association, Scarlett collected professional attire donations and put on a student-modeled fashion show where she showed the do's and don'ts of interview attire. At the end of the show, Scarlett donated all the clothing to the Dress for Success non-profit of Western Massachusetts in order to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women.

Scarlett has interned for the non-profit Catalyst Miami and represented her college as an intern and fellow for the Massachusetts Justice Project. Scarlett has been recently awarded the Mount Holyoke College Laurel Fellowship and admitted into the Washington Semester Fall 2013 program to study public interest in regards to justice and law.

As a CHCI Intern, Scarlett hopes to gain new skills and experiences on Capitol Hill that will help her continue being a Latina leader in her community.  She looks forward to learning about the legislative process and hopes to contribute to public policies that will improve the lives of Latinos and low-income people who reside in the United States.

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Vanessa Nevarez, Comcast Foundation Intern
Hometown: San Francisco, California
School: San Francisco State University
Major: Radio/TV/Film
Placement: The Democratic Caucus Leadership office, Rep. Xavier Becerra

Vanessa Nevarez is a first generation Mexican-American and the first in her family to attend college. She was raised in San Ysidro, a small border town located in the city of San Diego, CA, adjoined to Tijuana, Mexico. In this setting, she witnessed the desperation of undocumented immigrants crossing the freeways and mountainous range, looking for a better opportunity. She grew up with classmates and neighbors who lived secretly and fearful of being deported.

At the age of 18, Vanessa worked as teacher assistant at a juvenile correctional institution for the Juvenile Court Community Schools. She pioneered a pilot GED program at the institution, showcasing her leadership skills by helping detainees and undocumented immigrants earn their GED. She observed how education can turn a misguided youth into an empowered student.

Vanessa attended Southwestern College and became editor-in-chief of the national award-winning newspaper The Southwestern College Sun. She reported on immigration, her college governance, and politics. Her hard work and perseverance led her to earn many awards and recognitions with organizations at the college, state, and national level such as the Associated Collegiate Press, Society of Professional Journalist, MANA a national Latina organization, National Association of Hispanic Journalist (NAHJ) and California Chicano News Media Association.

Vanessa currently resides in San Francisco, CA. She attends San Francisco State University (SFSU) where she pursues a major in broadcast journalism with a minor in international relations. At SFSU, Vanessa founded the first student chapter of the NAHJ. She worked with professionals of the local media to actively help young Hispanic student journalists learn how to be young professionals, network, and build their resume. After graduation, she dreams of pursuing her passion of journalism and international relations. She would like to become an international correspondent reporting on foreign affairs and immigration. Her policy interests are on immigration, food, sexual health, and public education.

With help from CHCI and her invaluable experience as an intern, she hopes to learn more about policy creation in Washington, D.C., and its effects internationally and domestically. Besides gaining professional development, she hopes to utilize what she learns at CHCI toward becoming a better leader to serve Latinos, and all citizens.

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Alexis Nieves, Dario Marquez Intern
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
School: Wheaton College
Major: International Studies
Placement: The Office of Rep. Nydia Velazquez

Alexis Nieves was born and raised in a diverse working-class community in Brooklyn, NY. He is a Posse Scholar currently attending Wheaton College in Norton, MA, with a double major in international relations and Hispanic studies. In high school, Alexis interned with New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, where he was first exposed to the world of policy and legislation. While in the office of Assemblyman Ortiz, he was not only introduced to basic organizational skills, but also found a passion for helping those in underserved communities. Focusing on issues of social and economic justice, he later interned at a non-profit law firm called Brooklyn Legal Service Corporation A where he researched policy briefs, wrote reports on local issues, and had the opportunity to sit in on court hearings concerning housing and bankruptcy. His commitment to public service stems from a desire to better understand the experiences and struggles of the people in his community.

Alexis has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, which allowed him to study abroad in Córdoba, Spain, where he volunteered with the Association for Social Defense of Children and Adolescents, participating in educational and cultural activities with young teens from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Alexis has been recently selected as one of 20 undergraduates nationwide to receive the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Service Fellowship, which will allow him to participate in one domestic and one overseas internship during the remainder of his undergraduate and graduate studies. His hope is to participate in foreign policy making that honors the aspirations and sacrifices of those in his community. Upon the completion of a master’s degree, he is committed to spend at least three years as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State. 

Alexis feels extremely honored to part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Internship Program and humbled by the opportunity to be surrounded by such a strong network of individuals who share some of the same aspirations and goals. He views CHCI as an opportunity to continue developing the necessary skills that will allow him to be a prominent voice in his community. At this juncture of his college career, he remains steadfast in his pursuit to continue serving marginalized communities and looks forward to absorbing the knowledge needed to influence policy and move the legislative process on Capitol Hill.

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Victoria Ochoa
Hometown: College Station, Texas
School: St. Edwards University
Major: Political Science
Placement:The Office of Rep. Rubén Hinojosa

Victoria Ochoa was born in McAllen, TX. She is currently majoring in political science at St. Edward’s University in Austin. Upon graduation, she intends to pursue graduate studies in public policy.

As a recipient of St. Edward’s Holy Cross Scholarship, Victoria aims to maximize her undergraduate experience. As part of her campus life, she served as the service director for St. Edward’s Student Government Association. Her position required her to lead and organize the school’s largest community service tradition known as The Big Event.  Victoria also participated in the National Hispanic Institute’s Collegiate Leadership Network where she received the Highest Honor for her business proposal.  This past spring, Victoria interned with State Representative Marisa Marquez at the Texas Capitol, gaining insight about state issues and the legislative process. She also volunteered at an inner city high school in New York, helping to familiarize students with the college admissions process. For her efforts, Victoria received The Emerging Leader Excellence Award from St. Edward’s University and was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

As a CHCI Intern, Victoria hopes to gain the experience needed to influence educational issues—particularly those that impacting her local community.

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Yahaira Perez, Time Warner Cable Intern
Hometown: Horizon City, Texas
School: University of Texas at El Paso
Major: Biochemsitry
Placement: The Office of Rep. Joaquin Castro

Yahaira Perez was born and raised in El Paso, TX, where she’s a sophomore at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). Yahaira is pursuing a career in biological sciences and plans to attend medical school. She is also double majoring in forensic science and hopes to keep law enforcement as a career possibility.

Yahaira has a variety of interests and is involved in various academic and athletic activities. While in high school, she conducted building searches as a member of the criminal justice team and participated in the medical magnet program. An active leader in her community, Yahaira volunteers at her local church and at Lancaster Elementary. She hopes to help young students succeed academically and wants to set an example for Hispanics.

Yahaira hopes to further develop her leadership skills and inspire Latinos in her community to do the same. 

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Tiffany Reid, Pfizer Inc. Intern
Hometown: Gaithersburg, Maryland
School: St. John's University
Major: Allied Health
Placement: The Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Tiffany Reid was born in Washington, D.C. to an Afro-Panamanian father and a Hawaiian-Filipino mother. In high school, she was a member of multiple honor societies, including the National Society of High School Scholars.

Tiffany is the first in her family to pursue a college education. She is currently an undergraduate student at St. John's University in New York where she is pursuing a degree in the Physician Assistant Program. During her college career, she has been very involved with campus life, working as a peer leader. She is also a proud member of several student organizations such as the Delta Kappa chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Latin American Student Organization. Tiffany also represents her undergraduate program as the president of the Physician Assistant Association.

Tiffany is honored to be a part of the CHCI Congressional Internship Program. She is excited to engage in the challenges brought by life on Capitol Hill, and is taking this opportunity to gain as much experience as possible while putting her current leadership skills to the test.

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Jaime Sanchez Jr., Mass Mutual Intern
Hometown: Fresno, California
School: University of Chicago
Major: Political Science
Placement: The Office of Rep. Jim Costa

Jaime Sanchez Jr. is a second-generation Mexican-American from the vibrant community of Fresno, CA. As the oldest of four boys, he has set an example for his brothers by becoming the first in his family to attend college. In December of 2011, Jaime was awarded a full-ride Questbridge National College Match Scholarship to the University of Chicago where he is now a junior majoring in history as well as comparative race and ethnic studies. He is continually inspired by the hard work ethic that his parents have instilled in him, and strives to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to him.

Keeping true to his work ethic, Jaime is consistently active on campus. As part of a prestigious institution with a severe lack of diversity, Jaime serves as a staunch advocate for minority student interests as a board member for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. His work experience ranges from local Chicago political offices to his current position at the University’s Office of Civic Engagement. Jaime is an inaugural member of the Institute of Politics Student Advisory Council, founded by David Axelrod, where he serves as the chair for student civic engagement. Most recently, Jaime has been named a Mellon-Mays Fellow of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which aims to increase the diversity of the academy at elite institutions of higher learning through supporting the pursuit of PhDs by students of color.

The CHCI Summer Internship Program opens new doors of opportunity for the students who have the honor to participate. In addition to gaining a hands-on understanding of the congressional political system, Jaime knows that he must one day open those same doors for the next generation of Latino Leaders.

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Miosotis Soto, Dario Marquez Intern
Hometown: Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
School: University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus
Major: Marketing
Placement: The Office of Sen. Chuck Schumer

Miosotis Soto was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Through the course of her life, she has developed an interest in helping others within her community through education and self-motivation. Art has always been a big part of Miosotis life. While attending the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, she learned to play the piano and to sing, while also polishing some of her natural painting skills. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in human resources with an emphasis on politics.

During her freshman year at the University of Puerto Rico, Miosotis was elected vice president of community service for The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In addition, she participated in several groups such as the Community Impact Group of the UPR, Peer Council Group, AIESEC Puerto Rico, and is an active member of the Student Council. She serves as the public relations secretary in the General Student Council. She has received multiple honors and awards such as Deans List, Honor Student of PSAE, and is ranked in the 15th percentile of the business school. 

As a CHCI Intern, Miosotis aspires to gain knowledge and firsthand experiences that will equip and prepare her to work as a future political figure. She desires to make a positive impact on her community as well as to demonstrate her commitment, leadership, and interest to public service. Her goal is open doors of opportunity and be a role model to younger generations of Latinos.

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 Michael Suarez, HEP CAMP Association Intern

Hometown: Mission, Texas
School: Michigan State Unviersity
Major: Communications
Placement: Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)

Michael A. Suarez is a rising sophomore at Michigan State University through the College Assistance Migrant Program. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Latino studies.

He is from Mission, Texas where they have one mission: be successful. He hopes to reach his own personal goals. Michael’s long term goal is to have his own talk show to raise awareness for society about issues affecting the Latino community. 

Michael is thankful for the opportunity to be in Washington, D.C. He looks forward to developing as a leader, networking with fellow Latinos and returning to Mission, Texas with new skills to accomplish his mission.

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Jacquelyne Vega, UPS Intern
Hometown: San Luis, Arizona
School: University of Arizona
Major: Linguistics
Placement:The Office of Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Jacquelyne’s family migrated from Mexico to the United States in pursuit of a better future when she was only two years old. With the support of her family and teachers, Jacquelyne graduated top of her class at San Luis High School.

Jacquelyne is currently a senior at The University of Arizona, pursuing a double major in linguistics as well as translation & interpretation. She completed a study abroad program at the Instituto de Empresas Universidad in Segovia, Spain, where she was able to immerse herself in a different culture and grow immensely as an individual. Off campus, Jacquelyne’s has interned at the Office of the Arizona Attorney General. Among her duties, she assisted attorneys with the transcription and translation of various jail calls, undercover operation recordings, and suspect interviews. She had the opportunity to interact with the attorneys and accompany them to court proceedings.

 Currently, Jacquelyne works as a minority student recruiter for the University of Arizona’s Office of Admissions. In this role, she has the opportunity to promote higher education amongst minority high school students as well as guide them through the university application process.  Aside from academics, Jacquelyne serves in her church’s worship group as a guitar player and participates in different community service projects organized by her church.

As a CHCI Intern, Jacquelyne hopes to gain a better understanding of policy making and the legislative process. Jacquelyne also hopes to be an inspiration to other young Hispanic students and promote Hispanic involvement in government and policy making.                                                                                                                

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Cecilia Velasco, UPS Intern
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
School: University of New Mexico
Major: Psychology
Placement: The Office of Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham

Cecilia Velasco was born and raised in Santa Clarita, CA.  She is the proud daughter of two hard-working Mexican immigrants who came to this country in search of new and better opportunities.  Cecilia’s parents did not attend college, but emphasized the importance of an education and its value.  This crucial lesson has driven her to attend college and become a first generation college student. 

Cecilia is currently a senior at the University of New Mexico (UNM).  She is pursuing a B.A. in psychology and family studies, as well as a minor in social welfare. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a M.A in higher education and public policy.    

During her time at UNM, Cecilia has been involved in different organizations such as Kappa Omicron Nu, the Honors Society for Family Studies Majors, Movimiento Estudantil Chicana/o de Aztlan Chapter, and New Mexico Dreamers in Action.  She has lobbied in support of the DREAM Act and to raise awareness for a similar nondiscriminatory legislation in New Mexico. She has helped organize graduate school workshops for undergraduate students and has planned and coordinated college visits for local high school students.  Each experience has contributed to Cecilia’s strong interest and passion for civic engagement, policy, mentorship, and activism.

Cecilia feels honored and grateful for the amazing opportunity to participate in CHCI Congressional Internship Program.  She hopes to gain knowledge and a deeper understanding of policy development and the political process. As a CHCI Intern, Cecilia looks forward to acquiring new skills that will equip her to better serve the UNM campus and her community.   

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William Velazquez, Hyundai Motor America Intern
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
School: Dartmouth College
Major: History & Portuguese
Placement: The Office of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

William Velazquez is a first generation Spanish-Nicaraguan American. He was born in Los Angeles, CA but moved to Spain at the age of one before returning to the United States at the age of eight. He currently attends Dartmouth College and is junior majoring in history and Portuguese.

William is interested in politics, business, and foreign policy. During his freshman year, he took part of a study abroad program in Salvador, Brazil, where he became fluent in Portuguese. William is an active leader of the Por Latinoamérica Club at Dartmouth, which is a student-run organization that meets weekly to discuss Latin American issues.  William’s prior internships at the NALEO Educational Fund and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce have educated him in regards to lobbying work and policymaking.

As a CHCI Intern, William wishes to learn more about the political process while establishing a strong network on Capitol Hill. William’s goal is to discover how Latinos impact American politics and influence the government’s policymaking.

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Jacqueline Villagomez, Comcast Foundation Intern
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
School: DePaul University
Major: Accounting
Placement: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Secretary

Jacqueline is the youngest of four. Her parents were originally born in Mexico, but moved to Chicago shortly after getting married. In high school, she became involved in the student council and later got elected president by the student body.

Jacqueline is currently a freshman at DePaul University, pursuing a major in accounting and triple minors in international business, French, and Spanish. As a college student, Jacqueline serves as the secretary for M.A.H.A. (Midwest Association of Hispanic Accountants), an organization that aids students with their professional careers.

Through CHCI‘s Congressional Internship Program, Jacqueline hopes to build her public speaking, networking, and communication skills. She feels deeply grateful for this opportunity and seeks to create meaningful relationships with fellow interns and the CHCI staff.

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