2009 Internship Blog - Entry 5

Thank you for your interest in the first ever 2009 Congressional Intern Blog contest.  Interns have the opportunity to respond to five questions posed by CHCI that draws from their experiences in Washington. The responses are posted on CHCI's Web site for all to see and readers can vote for a blog entry by clicking on the "Like" option.

The goal of this initiative is to highlight the CHCI internship experience, providing a glimpse of the participants thoughts, interactions and activities.

The winners will receive round trip airline tickets from Southwest Airlines, who just recently expanded their support of CHCI to become the official airline of the Congressional Internship Program.  With the expanded agreement, Southwest Airlines now provides travel to and from Washington, D.C., for all CHCI program participants.

The interns' fifth entries are below.  Please read and vote for your favorites.

Also, join us for the interns graduation ceremony Wednesday, July 29 at the Rayburn House Office Building Courtyard from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Joseph Patrick Garcia - Entry 5

Joseph Garcia
Pueblo, CO
Posted July 21, 2009



What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?


"The more I see the less I know ?" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This internship has taken me outside of my microcosm and has exposed me to some of the many different perspectives in the world. Coming to Washington, D.C., I thought I understood America. I thought everybody viewed America as I did. This assumption was significantly false. The American experience is different for everyone, even those with the same ethnicity. I feel privileged to have been introduced to a wide array of perspectives on immigration, education, race, gender, equality, and countless other issues. Even though I do not agree with many of the perspectives, I know I am a better person having been exposed to them.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. : Growth.

Edgar A. Nunez - Entry 5

Edgar A. Nunez
Queens, NY
Posted July 21, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

The most valuable lesson I learned during my internship is that there is always work to be done in the office regardless of the day or time.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

 

Maritza Perez - Entry 5

Maritza Perez
Elko, NV
Posted July 21, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?


People can't be confined to a single category. For instance, although all of the CHCI interns are Latino students, our life experiences are very diverse. Although it is much easier putting people in rigid boxes, the breadth and richness of all our experiences contribute to the progress of the Latino community.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Relationships.

David Justiniano - Entry 5

David Justiniano
Haddon Township, NJ
Posted July 22, 2009

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

Throughout the CHCI internship program, I learned three important lessons: the importance of policy-making, team-working, and networking. Being able to experience what I previously learned at school, the process that takes to make a policy, from the formulation and adoption stage to the implementation and evaluation one, has been something indescribable. Learning to work in teams has also been part of this great experience because we were not only able to discover different personalities, but also apply them to different task we had. And networking was another important lesson because it will not only help us to keep our experiences as wonderful memories, but also expand our network by building strong friendships.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Excellent!

Noel Mendoza - Entry 5

Noel Mendoza
Bell, CA
Posted July 22, 2009

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

The most valuable lesson I learned during my internship is the value of Hill experience. Knowing people, the politics and the procedures of the office is what counts. This experience has helped me translate knowledge into practice. No matter how many books you read, what school you attend and training you receive off the Hill, you really have no creditability when it comes to the Capitol Hill. And this is what my internship experience has given me-credibility. This intangible concept that is difficult to quantify is my ticket to this exclusive show.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Initiation.

Daisa Guilarte - Entry 5

Daisa Guilarte
Hyde Park, MA
Posted July 24, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?
The most valuable lesson for me has been that persistence does pay off.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Powerful.

 

Melissa Graham - Entry 5

Melissa Graham
Milwaukee, WI
Posted July 24, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?


I learned that political ideals or enthusiasm are awesome but you have to put a lot of work in behind the scenes. A lot of work! And it is totally worth it, too.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Eye-opening.

Kelly J. Murguia - Entry 5

Kelly Murguia
Kansas City, KS
Posted July 24, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

I have recognized that time is mostly intangible and fleeting. It is said to be one of the most valuable things an individual can spend. Time is of the essence, so prioritize, prepare and take pleasure in what you do.

I have learned that passion shines through in the strength of your presence, the caliber of your work and thoroughness of your thoughts. If you do something, do it well. Whether it be drafting constituent letters to networking at social events, applying yourself 110 percent will set you on the right track to a positive and successful future. Even when I felt uncomfortable, challenged or offended, I recognized why that was and learned even more about myself.

I would like to thank my family for the strength and encouragement they have provided me, not only in my time away from home, but throughout my life. I love you all!

Thank you CHCI Staff for your patience and guidance. Not a day goes by where we don't recognize the work you put in to this Institute.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. [R]evolution.

Veronica Gordon - Entry 5

Veronica Gordon
Miami Beach, FL
Posted July 25, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

The most valuable lesson I learned while in D.C. was how important it is to act like a sponge - absorb everything - in order to get the most out of life.

I came here with an open mind and open heart, ready to learn and better understand politics, what it means to be Latina, and myself. While in D.C., every experience I had, every person I met, and every new fact I learned, I tried to take in fully. I realized that the resources I was given through this internship had to be utilized and taken full advantage of. I wanted to make sure that I got everything I could out of my summer here.

I learned that not only in a summer internship on the Hill, but in other experiences in life, one must absorb everything, learn from it, and take it with them on their next endeavor. I know that my experiences this summer have helped me better understand myself and will assist me in making educated decisions about my future.

Thank you, CHCI.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Thought-provoking.

Cynthia N. Cortez - Entry 5

Cynthia N. Cortez
Highland Park, CA
Posted July 25, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

Before coming to D.C., I had exponentially gained passion to expose as many different paths as possible towards empowerment for my community. However, as I reflected on the institutions that were painfully slowing down the prosperity of Latinos, I had developed a strong disdain for the government. I truly felt little was being done to help Latinos facing challenging socioeconomic situations being that government is a powerful player in maintaining societal inequalities. Nonetheless, I knew I had to challenge these beliefs because theorizing about change without a practical way to create it can only take me so far.

The first thing that was blatant in CHCI was how the Latino community needs representatives in as many aspects of society as possible. Yet, that didn't rest easy on me because I would wonder how much the community would be compromised as the leaders who gain more responsibility also became subjected to more regulation on the type of change they could administer. It wasn't until I sat down with one of the legislative assistant who made me see that we HAVE to play by the rules of in institutions in order to redistribute power. At one point, I saw this type of strategy as ‘selling out' the community because we would rarely achieve what I would call progressive legislation. But, when I noted how much struggle and compromised occurred on The Hill to fight for legislation that would help the Latino community and how many different groups were advocating as passionately for their camps, my perception changed.

It took me a while to flush out what I had believed versus what I was seeing but I'm leaving D.C. understanding that compromising with the other side doesn't mean that I am backing down from the change I want to see. In order to make significant strides, I have to fully know how to listen to someone else's position and find a way to negotiate our differences so that both parties reach a satisfactory compromise. And that means baby steps. I now see that my job is to become as skilled as possible in the art of persuasion in order to articulate why such large changes need to take place. I need to do maintain my vision even when my emotions become flustered with irritation when people just don't seem to understand my goals. Why? Because that's how this still-not-quite-as-aware-of-its-unequal-and-unfair-reality world works.

I have no idea how long it would have taken me to see that without this experience.


Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Maturity.

Jasmine Rosa - Entry 5

Jasmine Rosa
Port Charlotte, FL
Posted July 25, 2009

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

The most valuable lesson that I learned is the concept of I win, we win. This is an important concept because we as Latinos need to understand that when one Latino succeeds this has a domino effect and will inspire others to do the same and know they can succeed also. I believe CHCI embodies this concept really well because its mission is to help the future Latino leaders of this country because they know by helping us that we will all win at the end. A great example is when a child accomplishes something the parent gets all proud as if they did it, but in the end we all win.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Motivational.

Cristobal Salinas, Jr. - Entry 5

Cristobal Salinas, Jr.
Schuyler, NE
Posted July 25, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?


One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned during my internship in D.C. is that everything is possible. Everyday in D.C. has unexpected times with new challenges, ideas and new experiences. I have been challenged in many levels at the office, in the city, and at the dormitory from the other interns. I have learned new ideas on how to become a better leader, how to over come obstacles and challenges, and how to be a responsible citizen. I have been exposed to new experiences; working on the Senate side, meeting Ambassadors from all over the world, riding in the elevators with Senators, meeting friends with different points of views, eating Ethiopian food, riding the D.C. Metro, among many other experiences. During my stay in D.C., I have learned many valuable lessons that I will take with me wherever I go. I am leaving Washington, D.C. with a good sense of what I want do, with 23 new friends from across the nation, and with an eager anticipation of what is to come.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Beautiful.

Melessa C. Rodriguez - Entry 5

Melessa C. Rodriguez
San Antonio, TX
Posted July 25, 2009


What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?


This summer has been a whirlwind of experiences for me. I've learned to embrace change and to accept opportunities when they present themselves. Whether it was through a passionate discussion with other interns, or a task I was given in my office, there was a lesson waiting to be found.

In terms of my internship experience I have gained here in D.C., the one philosophy that applies is really quiet simple: Democracy is not a spectator sport. There is a role for everything and every action that occurs in the realm of politics and government, and not one component should be left out of the equation.

As for my personal growth, I now understand the power of remaining focused on my goals and staying true to who I am in the process.

Overall, I think the most valuable lesson I've learned is to trust my instincts and to allow my passions to guide my future.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word. Empowering.

Adriana Cortes - Entry 5

Adriana Cortes
Anaheim, CA
Posted July 27, 2009

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your internship?

The most valuable lesson I have learned during this internship is to be confident about getting out of my comfort zone, because that space and time could be used to grow, develop and gain insight. Another lesson I learned is that Latin@s have to be fearless about failure and success. We have to reach our potential and the only way of doing that is by taking a risks.

Please summarize your internship experience in one word: Insightful.


eResources