2013 Fall Congressional Interns

CHCI welcomed its 2013 Fall Congressional Interns on August 24th. The class is composed of 24 diverse individuals, from 15 different states. They come from 23 different academic institutions, are pursuing 12 different majors, and 63% are the first generation to attend college.

Detailed Demographics: 2013 CHCI Fall Congressional Interns

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

2013 CHCI Fall Congressional Interns:

Sandy Arce            Michael Garcia            Malena Lopez-Sotelo            Jose Salguero
Ernesto Ausejo Adriana Garcia-Maximiliano Michelle Moreno-Silva Janet Sanchez
Elizabeth Calixtro  Baldemar Gonzalez Ariadna Mujica Caesar Sanchez
Juan Chavez Liliana Ibarra Anabel Perez Juan Santiago
Carlos de la Garza Jacobo Licona Desiree Rios Vanessa Smith
Daniel Fragoso Austin Llamas Christina Ruiz Fernando Solano

 

Sandy Arce, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Hayward, California 
School:
University of California-San Diego
Major:
International Studies
Placement:
Office of Rep. Eric Swalwell

Sandy Arce is a first generation Mexican-American born in Los Angeles, CA and raised by her father in Hayward, California. She is the first member of her family to attend college. After graduating, she plans to attend law school and work at a non-profit organization helping low income citizens gain access to legal assistance pertaining to immigration.

She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international studies at the University of California-San Diego. In her spare time, she dedicates herself to various on-campus organizations. She was elected president of the Multicultural Greek Council, volunteered for Alternative Breaks in New Orleans and the Philippines, and just recently finished her AmeriCorps-JusticeCorps 300 hours of service. Sandy has also worked as a volunteer alongside paralegals and lawyers in the San Diego Superior Court House as a Family Law facilitator, serving self-represented litigants who seek help in translating the legal process to Spanish. Due to Sandy’s dedication to volunteering, she received the Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Philanthropist of the Year award.

As a CHCI Intern, she looks forward to improving her knowledge of the legislative process and learning how she can help improve the country for the Latino community.

Back to top

Ernesto Ausejo, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Peachtree City, Georgia
School:
Kennesaw State University
Major:
Political Science
Placement:
 Office of Rep. Pete Gallego 

Ernesto Ausejo was born in Lima, Peru and moved to Georgia when he was nine years old. He is the oldest of three siblings.

Ernesto is a senior at Kennesaw State University majoring in political science with a concentration in legal studies, and plans on attending law school after graduating. He has a deep interest in politics after attending last fall’s Democratic National Convention with his university, where he was offered a job with the Democratic Party of Georgia. He also serves as vice chair of diversity and outreach for the Young Democrats of Georgia and will be joining the Georgia delegation at the Young Democrats of America Convention in San Antonio this summer.

As a CHCI Intern, Ernesto hopes to obtain a firm grasp on public policy and acquire a job as a congressional staffer once the internship ends, in order to continue developing the necessary skills needed to enact change in his community.

Back to top

Elizabeth Calixtro, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Woodburn, Oregon
School:
Willamette University
Major:
Political Science
Placement:
Office of Rep. Steven Horsford


Elizabeth Calixtro was born in Oregon and raised in Morelos, Mexico. As a first generation college student - and her own family’s migration - Elizabeth acquired a passion for immigration policy, education policy, and human rights advocacy.

Elizabeth is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a senior at Willamette University, where she serves as the first Latina student body president. She studied constitutional law, fundamental rights and politics for a semester at the University of Murcia in Spain and completed a junior summer institute program at the University of California Berkeley as a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow. Elizabeth has also conducted independent research and fieldwork on immigration policy, domestic violence, and indigenous territorial rights through different research grants at Willamette University.  She plans to continue this work by pursuing both a law degree and masters in public policy. Elizabeth has interned for various offices and organizations including the Oregon State Legislature, the Oregon Secretary of State, CAUSA Oregon, and PCUN Farmworkers Union.

Elizabeth is excited to participate in the CHCI Congressional Internship Program and learn about the ways in which Latino interests are addressed at the national level. She is particularly grateful for the opportunity to meet, work, and learn from other young leaders who share a passion for Latino advocacy.  

Back to top

Juan Chavez, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Las Vegas, Nevada
School:
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Major: Political Science
Placement:
Office of Rep. Steven Horsford

Juan Manuel Chavez is a first generation Mexican-American born in Los Angeles and raised in Las Vegas, along with his three siblings. After migrating from Jalisco, Mexico, Juan’s parents taught him the importance of hard work through their struggles as a lower-income Hispanic family raising a family of four.

While in high school, Juan enlisted in the U.S. Army through the Nevada Army National Guard. After graduation, he left for Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training to serve in the Army as an information technology specialist, a position that he still holds.  As a first generation college student, Juan is a junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, pursuing a degree in political science. After graduation, Juan hopes to attend law school with a focus in criminal justice and possibly practice law in the military.

As a CHCI Intern, Juan hopes to improve his professionalism, leadership and self-development. He seeks to gain insight into the legislative process and expand his understanding of policy making.

Back to top

Carlos de la Garza, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
San Antonio, Texas
School:
University of Texas at San Antonio
Major:
Public Administration
Placement:
Office of Rep. Lloyd Doggett

Carlos de la Garza is a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio, majoring in public administration with a double minor in business administration and non-profit management. His family taught him that in order to achieve his desires and goals, he must possess motivation and determination. As a result, Carlos works hard to enact change and help the Hispanic community.

As a student, he co-founded and became treasurer of the Public Administration Student Organization, which helps create activities and events for students with the objective of enhancing knowledge, broadening networking opportunities, and improving academics and professionalism. Carlos is also a member of the business professional fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi where he has had the opportunity to interact with individuals involved in the private sector and learned to look at public policy from a different perspective. In the spring 2013 semester, The University of Texas at San Antonio nominated him as the most outstanding undergraduate student of the College of Public Policy.

Carlos believes that the CHCI internship will be an indispensible experience and will benefit him not only professionally, but also personally.

Back to top

Daniel Fragoso, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Downey, California 
School:
California State University-Los Angeles
Major:
Business Administration
Placement:
Office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez 

Daniel Fragoso is a first generation college student whose parents came from small ranches in Durango, Mexico.  Due to financial reasons, both his parents had to leave school at an early age to help support their family. Growing up in Los Angeles, he would travel to Mexico every year, spending his days working at farms and witnessing the extreme poverty in which many people live.

Daniel is a senior at California State University of Los Angeles and has been involved with various clubs on campus including student government. Growing up with a hearing loss, he has only worked that much harder to accomplish his goals. He was named Cerritos College’s Man of the Year due to his outstanding service and leadership out of the 20,000 plus students.

As a CHCI Intern, Daniel plans to develop solid professional relationships that will help him achieve his future endeavors. 

Back to top

Michael Garcia, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Weehawken, New Jersey 
School:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Major:
Marketing
Placement:
Office of Rep. Albio Sires 

Michael Garcia is the youngest of two children born and raised in New Jersey, of Colombian-American parents.

He is the first from his family to attend college and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He is the president of the NJIT Educational Opportunity Program Student Council and serves as resident assistant and community service chair for the Caribbean Student Organization. In addition to his school activities, Michael has interned at Panasonic Corporation and holds a part time job to help him pay for college. Michael is always looking for a way to help others and hopes to start a non-profit organization that will help students apply, pay, and graduate from higher learning institutions.

Michael looks forward to his experience as a CHCI Intern and hopes to gain first-hand knowledge of the legislative process. During the internship, he intends to polish his leadership skills in order to become a positive role model in his community.

Back to top

Adriana Garcia-Maximiliano, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Peoria, Arizona
School:
Grand Canyon University
Major:
Marketing
Placement:
Office of Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Adriana Garcia-Maximiliano immigrated to the United States when she was eight years old, joining her parents in their search for a better life. As the first-generation college student, she hopes to inspire her younger sisters to follow in her footsteps.

Adriana is a student at Grand Canyon University, majoring in marketing with a minor in economics. In the past year, she was vice president of the Latino student union, the first Latino leadership group on campus, and remains an active member. Adriana was also part of DECA, a business focused student organization, where she received various awards, and was presented a medal at the International Career Development Conference.

As a recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, Adriana feels blessed to be a CHCI Intern. She knows the internship will teach her skills to navigate the political world and better understand how to change communities.

Back to top

Baldemar Gonzalez, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Erie, Pennsylvania
School:
Gannon University
Major:
Criminal Justice
Placement:
Office of Rep. Mike Kelly 

Baldemar Gonzalez was born in Bakersfield, California, to a Mexican family and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania.  At age 18, Baldemar lost his father and, as a result, took the responsibility of providing for his family, working full time and going to school.
 
Baldemar is currently a senior at Gannon University pursuing a major in criminal justice with minors in political science, corrections, and juvenile justice while serving as a Spanish and French tutor. Baldemar not only serves as president of Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Society, but he is also involved in various organizations including the Latino Student Committee, Foreign Languages Club, and Criminal Justice Club. He was selected for the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, which recognizes individual’s academic excellence, extracurricular activities, and service to the community.
 
Through the CHCI internship, he hopes to positively contribute to the Latino community and in the future work for the FBI.

Back to top

Liliana Ibarra, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Tampa, Florida
School: University of South Florida
Major:
Interdisciplinary Social Science
Placement:
 Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand 

Liliana Ibarra is the first person in her family to graduate high school and attend college.  She is currently a rising senior at the University of South Florida in Tampa, majoring in criminology and international studies.  As the daughter of migrant farm workers, Liliana endured school interruptions as well as the transition of moving from state to state. Despite the constant hardships, she remains committed to serve as a role model for her younger siblings.

Liliana is hardworking, passionate, and determined to help ensure more fundamental rights for everyone, especially people of color. She participated in the United States Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, where she developed a passion for learning more about public policy at the national level.

As a CHCI Intern, Liliana hopes to someday represent her community in Congress, and become a leader who can enact progressive changes in U.S. public policy. She hopes that her experience with CHCI makes her dream a reality.

Back to top

Jacobo Licona, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
El Paso, Texas
School:
University of Texas at Austin
Major:
Finance
Placement:
Office of Rep. Beto O'Rourke 

Jacobo Licona is a first generation Mexican-American, born in Rockville, Maryland and raised in El Paso, Texas. Jacobo currently studies at the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas at Austin, where he majors in finance with a minor in government. He aims to pursue a career in politics and public policy.

Jacobo’s interests in politics have led him to seek more knowledge about government and its operation. This led him to seek an internship with former U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes’ district office, where he advocated on behalf of the constituents by seeking help from federal agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Also, while interning at the Texas Capitol, he was the assistant communications director for State Representative Ryan Guillen during two special sessions.

As a CHCI Intern, Jacobo hopes to increase his knowledge of the legislative process, and gain leadership skills through his experience on Capitol Hill and in D.C. He hopes to use this knowledge to be a leader in government and public policy.

Back to top

Austin Llamas, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
New York, New York
School:
St. John's University
Major:
Law
Placement:
Office of Rep. Charles B. Rangel

Austin Llamas is a second generation Puerto Rican from Spanish Harlem’s “El Barrio” in New York. He is a junior at St. John’s University and has been on the dean’s list since his freshman year. While being a full-time student, Austin not only works part-time in the St. Johns Law School, but he is also president of the St. Johns Latin American Students Organization, LASO.   

In addition to becoming a successful lawyer, Austin hopes to start a program or scholarship that would help young Latino students like him attend college.  He is grateful for the CHCI internship opportunity and knows it will give him the tools to bring him closer to achieving his goals.

Back to top

Malena Lopez-Sotelo, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown: Rentz, Georgia
School: University of Georgia
Major: Religious Studies
Placement: Office of Rep. John Barrow

Malena Lopez-Sotelo was born in Inverness, Florida and raised in Georgia. Both her parents were born in Mexico and moved to the United States in search of a better life for Malena and her four younger siblings.

Malena is a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in religious studies. Through various scholarships, Malena has traveled to Morocco to study Arabic and to India for seven months to study Urdu. While studying in Morocco and living in India, she gained new perspectives on culture and governance. After graduating, Malena plans to enroll in a dual degree program of public policy and law. Growing up as a first generation student, she has overcome challenges that have made her stronger, and is constantly seeking to improve upon her skills.

As a CHCI Intern, she hopes to gain a better understanding of the federal government, develop leadership skills, and learn how to better work in the field of public policy for the betterment of the others.

Back to top

Michelle Moreno-Silva, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown: Pawtucket, Rhode Island
School: College of the Holy Cross
Major: Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. David N. Cicilline

Michelle Moreno-Silva was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia with her mother. Upon returning to the United States, Michelle enrolled in ESL classes to learn English.  As a junior at the College of the Holy Cross, Michelle is studying political science and pursing a peace and conflicts concentration. She serves on the executive board of the Latin American Student Organization and is a member of the College Democrats, where she helped campaign for Senator Elizabeth Warren. In Rhode Island, she also volunteers helping Spanish speakers learn to read and write.

She has served as a translator for the Department of Homeland Security, has written press releases for the Rhode Island State House as well as proclamations for the City of Worcester, Massachusetts and is a writing tutor at her college. Michelle has also interned for Senator Juan M. Pichardo, Mayor Joseph Petty, and Congressman Patrick Kennedy. Following her interests in immigration and human rights, Michelle has worked at the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island helping immigrants obtain their residency and naturalization status.

As a CHCI Intern, Michelle is eager to learn as much as possible and continue her professional development. She is excited to become an active member on Capitol Hill and acquire skills to help promote Latino activism.

Back to top

Ariadna Mujica, UPS Intern
Hometown:
Miami, Florida
School:
Florida International University
Major:
International Studies
Placement:
Office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee 

Born in Havana, Cuba, Ariadna immigrated to the U.S. with her family, seeking freedom from political oppression. Since coming to the U.S., the government provided her family with a sense of well-being. This feeling of gratitude has been a driving factor in Ariadna’s life, motivating her to get involved in making positive contributions within politics and the Latino community.

Ariadna is a student at Florida International University in Miami, FL majoring in international relations with a minor in political science and religious studies. She is also pursuing a Latin American Studies certificate. At FIU, she is a member of Model United Nations and an active member of the Student Government Association. She has also volunteered in a program that aims to mentor middle school children and is committed to studies in youth cultural leadership.

As a CHCI Intern, she hopes to get a better grasp of how Congress operates and how laws affect the country and the community.

Back to top

Anabel Perez, Walmart Intern
Hometown:
Bronx, New York
School:
Baruch College
Major:
Accounting
Placement:
Office of Rep. Charles B. Rangel

When she was twelve-years-old, Anabel Perez moved to the United States with her mother from the Dominican Republic. Anabel graduated from high school as valedictorian of her class, and is currently a junior in The Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. She is majoring in accounting with a minor in political science and believes that being successful academically will create an opportunity to give back to her community.

Anabel’s heritage has greatly influenced what she is studying and her future goals.  As a bilingual accountant, she wants to help the Hispanic community with their financial needs and empowering them to better understand and act upon financial decisions.

As a CHCI Intern, Anabel hopes to exercise her leadership and interpersonal skills. This Congressional Internship will allow her to get a better perspective in politics and gain the essential skills needed for success.

Back to top

Desiree Rios, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
Duncanville, Texas
School:
University of Texas at Austin
Major:
Ethnic Studies
Placement:
Office of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Desiree Rios was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She is currently a senior at The University of Texas at Austin where she is active in social justice. She was born to two young parents, and raised by a mother who instilled in her the values of strength, compassion, and resilience.

After completing her undergraduate studies, Desiree plans on attending law school, with aspirations of becoming a judge. Her career goals are influenced by a passion for juvenile justice and the welfare of children. Desiree volunteers as an advocate for transitioning youth for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Travis County. She is also an educational outreach intern with Latinitas, Inc., an organization that empowers young Latinas through media technology. She extensively volunteers to better the lives of others and to gain a better understanding of the needs in her community.  

As a CHCI Intern, Desiree hopes to acquire the experience and knowledge necessary to enact change in the world.

Back to top

Christina Ruiz, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
Boulder, Colorado
School:
University of Colorado at Denver
Major:
Criminal Justice
Placement:
Office of Sen. Michael Bennet

Christina Maria Ruiz is a first generation Mexican-American, and the first in her family to graduate from high school and pursue a higher education. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Christina is a student at the University of Colorado Denver where she is pursuing a major in criminal justice and a double minor in communications and sociology.

As a sister of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Christina held the position of fundraising chairperson for two semesters, promoting sisterhood, community service and higher education to Latinas in the surrounding communities. Growing up in a single-parent household, Christina witnessed first-hand the struggles of a single immigrant mother living in America. Through hard work and sacrifice, Christina’s mother made sure to teach her daughters the importance of a good education.

As a CHCI Intern, Christina hopes to garner the necessary knowledge to break down the barriers that hinder Latino participation in politics, and learn how she can contribute to the nation. She also hopes to refine her public speaking and writing skills in order to better serve as an educated representative for the Latino community.

Back to top

Jose Salguero, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
Astoria, New York
School:
City University of New York, City College
Major:
Political Science
Placement:
Office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Jose Salguero was born and raised in Guatemala. Due to his experiences with poverty and violence, Jose was forced to grow up quickly and understand the reality of the world around him. At the age of 10, after the death of his grandfather during a Mayoral election in Guatemala, Jose relocated to the U.S. with his mother and brother, settling in Astoria, New York. 

Jose graduated with honors from Aviation High school and is currently a student at City College of New York pursuing a double major in political science and international relations. Jose is a member of the Roosevelt Institute for policy change, acting as a research assistant for state and national student authored policies.

As a CHCI Intern, he hopes to polish his leadership skills and gain valuable work experience in the field of public policy.

Back to top

Janet Sanchez, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
Scottbluff, Nebraska
School:
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Major:
Business Administration
Placement:
Office of Sen. Mark Udall

Janet Sanchez was born in Colorado but grew up in Mexico until the first grade when her parents relocated to Nebraska. She is the oldest of three siblings and learned early on how hard her parents had to work in order to provide for the family. This encouraged Janet to do more for herself and her family.

Janet is a senior at the University of Nebraska studying business administration, and is the first person in her family to attend college. In 2012, she traveled to Brazil as part of a global engagement project.  Janet hopes to attend law school and study criminal and immigration law. She has worked as an assistant at the Nebraska State Bar Association for the past two years, which solidified her passion for law.

During her time as a CHCI Intern, Janet hopes to experience and get more insight into the political process. Janet hopes to be part of the driving force in this country and demonstrate that Latinos are integral to the development of this nation.  

 

Back to top

Caesar Sanchez, UPS Intern
Hometown:
Chicago, Illinois
School:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Major:
Mathematics
Placement:
Office of Rep. Bill Foster

Caesar Sanchez is a Chicago, IL native whose family originates from Mexico. He was raised by his grandparents, and spent his summers in Mexico. This experience caused Caesar to forge a strong connection between himself and his family’s hometown of Zaragoza, Coahuila, Mexico.

Caesar is fully aware of the disparities that exist in Chicago Public Schools, which prompted him to pursue a career in education. Caesar is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is majoring in mathematics. He intends to teach at a predominantly Latino high school and hopes to provide his students with resources and expose them to opportunities, like the ones that helped him along the way.

With the skills and knowledge that he gains from being a CHCI Intern, Caesar hopes to make the necessary changes to improve the education system. 

Back to top

Juan Santiago, UPS Intern
Hometown:
Madera, California
School:
California State University-Fresno
Major:
Political Science
Placement:
Office of Rep. Jim Costa

Juan Santiago was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, tracing his ancestry to the Zapotec Indian people. Juan’s family migrated as farm workers to the United States when he was 11 years old.

Juan is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at California State University-Fresno in political science and international political economy. He works as a business administrator for a private electrical contractor in Madera, California. Recently, Juan graduated from the 2011-2013 Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship, where he worked closely with eight other fellows from different ethnic backgrounds to share their community organizing experiences and increase interracial collaboration in the Valley.

As a CHCI Intern, Juan expects to deepen his learning about the U.S. government and politics. In the future, he hopes to become a political science professor at his hometown community college.

Back to top

Vanessa Smith, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
Redwood City, California
School:
San Diego State University
Major:
Political Science
Placement:
Office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Vanessa Alexandra Smith is a first generation Nicaraguan-American and the only child to a single mother. She was born and raised in the Bay Area of California and is the first member of her family to attend college. As a result of seeing strong Latina women in her family suffer through gender violence and discrimination, she has dedicated herself to the study human rights and foreign policy.

Vanessa is a senior at San Diego State University pursuing a double major in political science and Spanish. She has mentored students at an inner-city elementary school, and volunteered during President Obama’s reelection campaign with Aztecs for Obama.

As a CHCI Intern, Vanessa looks forward to learning about legislation, public policy, and the issues that surround women in minority communities. Her goal is to gain a new perspective on the role of women in politics.

Back to top

Fernando Solano, Ford Foundation Intern
Hometown:
Santa Fe, New Mexico
School:
University of New Mexico
Major:
Political Science
Placement:
Office of Rep. Kyrsten Sinema

Fernando Solano is currently a senior at the University of New Mexico double majoring in political science and Spanish. He was born in Chicago and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fernando’s parents are Mexican-born and immigrated to the United States in search of better opportunities for their family. Since establishing themselves in the U.S., they have become naturalized American citizens and have entrusted Fernando with strong family values and the knowledge that nothing comes free in life, it needs to be earned.

As a first generation Mexican-American, Fernando will be the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is the community service chair for Phi Delta Theta, a position that has granted him with invaluable leadership experience and a desire to help local communities. Fernando has also interned at the New Mexico’s legislature where he gained a greater understanding of how laws are implemented at the local level.

As a CHCI Intern, Fernando hopes to gain valuable leadership experience and a greater understanding of how the legislative process works on the national level. This will help him reach his goal of becoming a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Department of State and represent his country abroad.

Back to top


eResources