CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellow Israel Nery Experiences the Perks of D.C. Life

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Click here to read the other CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation blog posts in the series.

Israel Nery, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Law Graduate Fellow

Spring greetings, everybody! It’s hard to believe that spring has arrived, and our fellowship is less than two months away from concluding. CHCI Alumni were not kidding when they said that the nine-month fellowship was going to fly by. It feels like just yesterday I was getting settled in and excited about working in Washington, D.C.

For the second half of my placement, I have the privilege of working in the House Committee on Financial Services – Democratic Staff. The Ranking Member of the Committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, is also my representative back in my permanent residence in Los Angeles, so I’m relishing the opportunity to work for a renowned leader from my hometown. Most of my work deals with the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. I’ve had the opportunity to work on assignments and projects dealing particularly with the Dodd-Frank Act, increasing diversity among the Federal Reserve Board Directors, sovereign debt restructuring, and credit reporting reform. Having worked in finance in the past, I feel blessed to be working in a Committee that plays such a big role in addressing ongoing financial issues that exist today. It’s an exciting time to be working in the Committee, as issues such as the renewal of the Export-Import Bank Charter, oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and implementation of various Dodd-Frank provisions are at the forefront of debate in our Committee.  

Our Friday programming sessions have also been jam-packed with great speakers and events. For example, we had Maria Castañón Moats, partner and chief diversity officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers, give us a fantastic insight of her successful journey in the private sector. The workshops held at the American University Washington College of Law geared towards making us prepared to serve on nonprofit boards have been very helpful, providing us with a practical skillset to hit the ground running. What I have enjoyed the most from Friday programming though are the family history projects my fellow fellows have presented. Each one of us has a rich history in terms of where our families come from and the journey that has led each one of us to our nation’s capital today. Hearing about each fellow's family history and journey has fostered a deep-found admiration not just for them, but also for their families who have made numerous sacrifices to pave the way for them to be successful.

There have been memorable moments outside of work and CHCI programming since my last blog post. In particular, I’m a hardcore Los Angeles sports fan, and I was able to attend the White House’s celebratory event in early February honoring the L.A. Galaxy as the top team in Major League Soccer, and the L.A. Kings as the winners of hockey's most prestigious award, the Stanley Cup. As a true fan, watching these events on television growing up when other Los Angeles teams were being honored in the White House, I was in awe witnessing this celebratory moment in person. I’m blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to attend such events.

Thanks for taking time to read about my ongoing experiences here in Washington, D.C. I look forward to leaving a lasting positive impression at the Committee, tackling the new challenges that lie ahead after my fellowship concludes, and giving back to the future classes of CHCI Fellows and Interns.

Click here to read the other CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation blog posts in the series.

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A New Year as a CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Araceli Gutiérrez, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

Hello again everyone! It’s great to be back in D.C. after spending a wonderful holiday break with my family in Arvin, California. February marks my sixth month as a CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow in the office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. However, before I begin with what I’ve been working on in 2015, I’d like to share a few of my fellowship highlights towards the end of 2014 and the 113th Congress.

Back in November, I worked with Tri-Caucus members and the Latina Center for Reproductive Rights to coordinate a briefing, lobby day, and reception on the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA), HR 5294. This was an excellent follow-up to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s Health Summit where she highlighted the bill at the CHCI Public Policy Conference in October.

Also in mid-November I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 American Public Health Association (APHA) annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana with the support of the APHA Latino Caucus for Public Health. As a new member of the APHA Latino Caucus, I was able to participate in many of the meetings and events. This year’s APHA theme, Healthography: how where you live affects your health and well-being, was especially fitting for my upcoming CHCI public policy paper topic and Policy Hill Briefing. I will be examining the potential role of Promise Zones--an anti-poverty strategy under the Obama Administration--in mitigating adverse health outcomes. This will also be the focus for the upcoming panel discussion at the CHCI Hill Briefings that I will be moderating on the Hill this upcoming Spring 2015, so stay tuned!

In December, I had the opportunity to draft a bi-partisan letter led by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard and two members of Congress to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Francis S. Collins. The letter to Dr. Collins urged that children be appropriately included in all NIH clinical trials that have relevance to child health and development in order to better understand how diseases can develop and persist throughout an individual’s lifetime and ensure that children benefit from new scientific discoveries. The letter was co-signed by 50 Members of Congress and received a great deal of press. It was gratifying to be involved in this process from beginning to end.

Also, after a six month hold in the Senate, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2014 was passed and presented to President Obama for signature on December 12th. The reauthorization bill introduced by the Congresswoman in March of 2013 was successfully passed in the House with the support of 120 bipartisan co-sponsors. It ensures that the funding for this grant program, which improves the timeliness of newborn screening, counseling and other services related to heritable disorders, would continue into FY2019. It was so exciting to witness the successful passage of this bill into law, particularly because the Congresswoman, her staff, and so many members of Congress had worked so diligently to make it a reality.

This brings me to 2015 and the 114th Congress. On January 6th, I, along with my other CHCI Fellows, had the opportunity to attend the CHCI swearing-in ceremony for the CHC Members of the 114th Congress. It was so nice to see and speak with so many influential Latino leaders and supporters in attendance including PepsiCo Sponsor representative Lupe De La Cruz and CHCI Alumni Luis Campillo, both of whom are newly elected members of the CHCI Board of Directors and Advisory Council. It was quite a memorable and inspiring way to begin a New Year.

Throughout the Fellowship, I have continued to work closely, with the Congresswoman’s Health Policy Advisor, Debbie Jessup. It has been a real pleasure and privilege working with and learning about the legislative process and strategy from her. Two of the projects I am currently working on with Debbie include the re-introduction of Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Reauthorization Act and the introduction of a new health workforce bill. The STOP Act is an underage drinking bill aimed at reducing the prevalence of alcohol use among underage individuals, including college students. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health and did not pass in the 113th Congress, despite having 100 bipartisan cosponsors. We have already started looking ahead; working with advocacy groups on reintroducing the bill in the 114th Congress and are hopeful that it will pass with bi-partisan support. In addition, I am also taking the lead in the introduction of a new bill for the Congresswoman, which is extremely exciting for me! The bill would help alleviate the health care worker shortages that exist in medically underserved areas throughout the United States.

Both bills are set to be introduced before May 2015, so I’ll definitely be busy in the upcoming months, not to mention preparing for a busy appropriations season, during which I will be taking appropriations meetings and prepping the Congresswoman for LHHS hearings.

I would also like to congratulate Congresswoman Roybal-Allard on her recent assignment as a member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee and on her historic nomination as the Ranking Member of Homeland Security, making her the first Latina ever to serve as a ranking member or chair of an Appropriations Subcommittee. It has been a real privilege to work in Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s office.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I’ve been up to. Until next time!


2015 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellow Blog Series: Grant Barbosa

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Grant Barbosa, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

Hello again! It’s me, Grant, and I’m the lucky graduate fellow writing the first blog of 2015.  It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, but I have so many highlights to catch you up on. Before I get to that, I just want to note that I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday season and happy New Year celebration.  I’ll briefly cover my experiences since you last had a chance to read about my experiences before getting you up to speed on what’s next.

I’ve wrapped up my time at the American Public Health Association, and it has been a phenomenal experience. I have nothing but good things to say about the work that APHA does - it’s vital in improving our nation’s health.  I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to work with such talented individuals as Don and Nicole.  I worked on a variety of projects during my time here.  I've created one-pagers on how to do public health advocacy for APHA’s members, tracking funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration and helping plan an advocacy day around the Health Equity and Accountability Act.  

I was very lucky to be able to attend APHA’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans.  I cannot rave enough about this experience. New Orleans is an amazing city, and the Annual Meeting was exceptional.  I was able to meet and network with public health practitioners and academics, attend panels, and represent APHA’s National Public Health Week at the exposition within the conference. 

CHCI’s program staff has provided us with amazing opportunities to grow our capabilities and meet some very interesting people.  I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion with Dr. Michael Casserly, the Executive Director of the Council on Great City Schools with the fall interns, public policy fellows and graduate fellows. It was a great opportunity to dialogue with him on the challenges facing urban schools as well as the recent announcement.  We also are receiving a comprehensive training about serving on a nonprofit board, which has been both informative and entertaining.

Finally, as we head into the new year, I will be starting my new placement in the office of Representative Xavier Becerra. I’ll be working directly with his chief of staff on health care policy issues, which is an amazing opportunity to gain substantive experience and mentorship! It’s a departure from the government relations work I’ve been doing at the American Public Health Association, but I’m ready for this new challenge!

CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellow Blog Series: Israel Nery

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Israel Nery, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Law Graduate Fellow

Season’s greetings! It’s been over three months since I began the CHCI Law Graduate Fellowship, and it has been a phenomenal experience so far. From working with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), to CHCI’s Friday programming, this fellowship has provided me with a platform to grow my professional and leadership skills exponentially.

During my time at MALDEF, I’ve had the privilege of working primarily on their employment policy docket. One of the ongoing issues we are currently trying to tackle is the Latina/o underrepresentation in the federal work force. It is my responsibility to analyze current hiring policies and procure documents needed to make recommendations to alleviate this ongoing issue. I am also in the process of drafting a commentary on Executive Order (EO) 13665, a proposed rule that would prohibit federal contractors from maintaining pay secrecy policies. I have had the opportunity to serve as MALDEF’s representative on the Employment Task Force, which is under the umbrella of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. I am very thankful and privileged to be working with such an amazing organization that does so much to improve the lives for the Latina/o community.    

CHCI’s weekly programming has also been very exciting. At the beginning of November, we had the honor of sitting with Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools. The main topic of conversation with Mr. Casserly was the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. It was a very fruitful conversation, as we were able to discuss how this program was going to tackle the issue of improving education and economic prospects for young minority males.  This past week we also had the opportunity to partake in the first of four workshops geared towards making us prepared to serve on Non-Profit Boards. The event was held at the American University Washington College of Law. This first workshop laid the foundation needed to educate us about the legal intricacies of Non-Profits, along with modern day challenges they are facing. We all are looking forward to what the next three workshops have to offer!

CHCI has also provided us with other great opportunities. We recently attended Rep. Ed Pastor’s retirement reception. My cohort and I were in awe of the fact that we were surrounded by many renowned leaders from Congress. I should also note that the 37th Annual CHCI Awards Gala back in the beginning of October was amazing. Up to that point, I had never had the opportunity to be present in person to watch the President of the United States speak live. President Obama made remarks at the Gala, and I was just star-struck. These are just a couple of the many events that CHCI has been able to make us a part of, and for that we are thankful, it has enriched our experience here in Washington D.C.

Thanks for taking time to read about my experience in our nation’s capital. I look forward to keeping y’all updated in regards to my progress, and my next placement come January. Until then, happy holidays!

CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows Reflect on the 2014 CHCI Annual Awards Gala

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Share in the excitement and personal growth of the 2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellows, who will be blogging monthly about their Washington, D.C. experiences. Follow the blog to get the latest updates on what it's like to work on Capitol Hill, live in Washington, D.C., network with Latino leaders, and more.

Grant Barbosa, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

The CHCI 37th Annual Awards Gala was great! I really appreciated getting the opportunity to meet so many alumni, supporters, and friends of CHCI. I was struck most seeing people receive awards for their achievements in Arts & Entertainment, Civil Rights, and Higher Education. As I watched so many accomplished Latinos being honored, including a CHCI alumni, I realized I have another target to strive for. Not that I wasn't already hoping to one day accomplish major things, but now I want to be back at the Gala on the stage receiving my own Medallion of Excellence.  

Araceli Gutierrez, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

I had a great time at the CHCI 37th Annual Awards Gala. It was a night of networking, reconnecting with old friends, and making new ones. Joining the CHCI fellows and interns on the same stage where President Obama spoke reminded me of how I couldn't have been standing there without the support and encouragement of my family. It was truly an honor to join so many incredible people from across the country to celebrate our rich Latino Heritage. It was a night I'll never forget.

Israel Nery, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Law Graduate Fellow

It was an honor to be part of the CHCI 37th Annual Awards Gala. I'm not going to lie, it was a bit surreal being around so many renowned leaders from the public, for-profit, and non-profit sector. As a PepsiCo Law Graduate Fellow, it was a big honor to meet Albert Carey, Chief Executive Officer for PepsiCo Americas Beverages, and the rest of the PepsiCo leadership team. I relished the opportunity to learn about each of their respective journeys that have led to them to attain such prestigious positions at PepsiCo. I also expressed my gratitude for their generous donations that have contributed to the growth of the CHCI fellowship program.

As for the Gala itself, the pinnacle was when President Obama spoke to the audience. This marked the first time I had been present at a venue where the President of the United States was speaking, hopefully it won't be the last. It was also gratifying to listen to the awardees of the Gala. Individuals like José Díaz-Ballart, Eliseo Medina, and Juliet V. Garcia have made extraordinary contributions for the betterment of the Latina/o population. Events such as the CHCI Gala, provide great opportunities to recognize these individual's contributions, and achievements. Overall, I'm so thankful to have been chosen as a Graduate Fellow, be given the chance to be part of the 37th Annual CHCI Awards Gala, and be around such elite company.

Rafael Hurtado Jr., PepsiCo Foundation Pre-Law Public Policy Fellow

Gala was an amazing experience which I was fortunate enough to share with the other Fellows. I got to meet and interact with representatives from PepsiCo, as well as the sponsors of other Fellows. It’s great to meet folks who are genuinely invested in us and our communities.


Sarah Diaz, PepsiCo Foundation Health Public Policy Fellow

Gala was a whirlwind experience filled with inspiring people and unforgettable moments. Listening to José Díaz-Balart was definitely a highlight since he was a part of my household growing up when he was primarily on the Spanish-speaking networks. As a Latina in the professional world, just starting my career, it was amazing to hear from other professional Latinas' experiences and to think that someday I too may have an impact in my community as they have had in theirs. Overall it was a uniquely empowering event which I am grateful to have had the privilege of attending.

CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellow Blog Series: Araceli Gutiérrez

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Araceli Gutiérrez, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

Hello everyone! It has been a little over two months now since I began working as a CHCI Graduate Health Fellow and what a great learning experience so far. I’d like to share some of the interesting things I’ve been working on in the office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, as well as a few highlights from our CHCI programming sessions.

As a CHCI Health Fellow, it’s been a pleasure learning about the Congresswoman’s district and getting to know all of the welcoming and knowledgeable staff members in her office. Over the past two months, I’ve worked closely with the Congresswoman’s Health Policy Advisor, Debbie Jessup, who has been a great mentor and a valuable wealth of knowledge and experience. I have enjoyed learning from and working with her on health-related issues and topics.

While Congress was in session, I’ve had the opportunity to perform background research, analyze and follow a variety of bills presented to the floor as well as watch votes. I have attended Whip meetings and have made vote recommendations that are aligned with the Congresswoman’s values and ideologies. I’ve also had the opportunity to serve as a representative of the office at various briefings and meetings. I’ve been able to work with staff in other Congressional offices to promote, circulate, and garner support on some of the Congresswoman’s health-related letters and bills. Currently, I am working on drafting remarks for the Congresswoman for an upcoming speaking engagement on health disparities, an issue I am very passionate about.

One of the biggest highlights of my fellowship experience to date occurred during the CHCI Public Policy Conference, where I had the pleasure of introducing Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. As Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Health Task Force this year, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard took the lead in presenting the Tri-Caucus strategy to address health disparities. As the Co-Chair of the CHCI Health Summit titled “Advancing Health Equity in Latino Communities,” the Congresswoman highlighted her Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA), HR 5294 as well as the efforts of other agencies and industry leaders, addressing and reducing health disparities. To this end, I am currently working with Tri-Caucus members and the Latina Center for Reproductive Rights to coordinate an upcoming briefing, lobby day, and reception on the HEAA bill in mid-November. I am looking forward to it! 

In addition to my work on the Hill, I’ve also attended CHCI's weekly programming sessions, which have exposed me to some of the most influential and interesting leaders and organizations in Washington, D.C. Our discussions with Chris Lu, deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor and Mark Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center, were especially memorable and insightful. Deputy Secretary Lu, was very candid in sharing his experience and career trajectory, from a former classmate of President Obama at Harvard Law School to his current position at the Department of Labor. Dr. Lopez provided a fascinating glimpse of the Hispanic millennial population, their values and political ideologies, and also presented the Pew Hispanic Center’s findings at the CHCI Public Policy conference.

In addition to working with and learning from the other CHCI Graduate and Public Policy Fellows, I have also had more opportunities to meet and work with some of the CHCI Fall Interns. They are an energetic and impressive group of Latino leaders that will be returning back to school this month. I look forward to hearing about the great things they accomplish in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I have been up to in Washington, D.C. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my placement—preparing for congressional hearings and learning more about the congressional reauthorization and appropriations process. Until next time!

CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellow Blog Series: Grant Barbosa

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Grant Barbosa, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

Hello again! I’m excited to be blogging month. While we’re only maybe a month and a half into the fellowship (side note: wow!), I’ve had the opportunity to do a great deal of substantive work and learn a significant amount through my work at the American Public Health Association (APHA) as well as CHCI’s Friday programming. 

At APHA, I have worked on a great deal of issue areas and topics in a variety of settings. I’m currently in the process of drafting guides for APHA’s membership in order for them to better understand the acceptable bounds of personal advocacy as well as how to reach out to a congressional staffer. I also had the chance to utilize my legal background and review amicus briefs that the APHA’s outside counsel was working on as well as briefs that organizations had asked the APHA to join. I imagine one of the organizations was a bit surprised when we forwarded a slew of substantive edits, but a few were actually incorporated into the brief that was filed with the Supreme Court! I also wrote the state level and international policy briefs in the monthly legislative updates that APHA sends to its members.

I’ve served as APHA’s representative in a variety of settings. I’ve met with administration officials from agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget. I’ve observed meetings for the advisory board of the National Institutes for Health’s National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, which advises the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, an academic advisory committee that supports the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA in developing nutrition policy for the dietary guidelines for Americans. On Capitol Hill, I’ve been to briefings on opioid abuse as well as crime prevention and youth development. Finally, I’ve participated in strategy meetings for coalitions of public health focused nonprofits, which will serve as an interesting counterpoint to my experiences on the Hill this spring.

In addition to the work that I am doing for APHA, I’ve also attended CHCI's weekly programming. The greatest experiences in programming have been our meetings with people in a variety of positions in government and nonprofit organizations. The meetings with Mildred Otero, the education counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Maria Teresa Kumar, the CEO and president of Voto Latino, were especially impactful. Mildred was very frank in discussing her experiences on and off Capitol Hill, offering us a great deal of advice and insight. With Maria, we discussed major policy issues, such as increasing Latino voter turnout. These interactions with people who previously were in similar positions as the current fellows (either in fellowships or recently out of graduate programs) show what type of trajectory that we may be going on, but also allowed us to engage in the types of discussions reminiscent of those that took place in the salons of the French Enlightenment. Sorry for being aggressively nerdy with that last line, but if you have made it this far, thanks for reading.

Until next time!

CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Graduate Fellows Arrive in Washington, D.C.

Eduardo Gonzalez

2014-15 CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Fellows

Grant Barbosa, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

Greetings and salutations everyone! I'm Grant Barbosa, one of the CHCI PepsiCo Health Graduate Fellows. I hail from the great state of Illinois and have just graduated from law school. In law school, I worked extensively on policy relating to public health, health care, and food access.  My placement for the first half of the CHCI Fellowship is with the American Public Health Association.

Orientation week was a blast! We had the opportunity to meet with several people with amazing experiences in a variety of government positions, including Maria Meier and Alejandra Castillo. Additionally, we received significant guidance on what to expect during our time in D.C. as well as support from previous fellows on what the experience provided them. Orientation also included an experiential component, featuring a high ropes training course that Araceli, another PepsiCo Health Graduate fellow, and I partnered to conquer.

I look forward to sharing updates throughout the year, but, more importantly, to use this opportunity to help influence health policy for the better! Ciao!

Araceli Gutierrez, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow

As a CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Graduate Fellow, I am excited to have arrived in Washington, D.C. Having recently graduated with my masters of science from the Harvard School of Public Health, I am certain this fellowship will provide me with the opportunity to develop my leadership and advocacy skills in generating innovative approaches to improve the level of access, quality of health care and social policies impacting Latino communities. I look forward to beginning my congressional office placement in the office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal Allard.

During the first week of CHCI orientation, I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful group of accomplished, committed and inspiring CHCI staff, alumni, and fellows. I look forward to working with and learning from them during the course of the fellowship and beyond!

Israel Nery, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Law Graduate Fellow

My name is Israel Nery. It's a great honor to have been selected as the CHC-PepsiCo Law Graduate Fellow. I just recently graduated from the University of Illinois with my juris doctor. For the first half of my fellowship I will be placed with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization.

We just concluded orientation week, and it's been a transformative experience so far. Being introduced to Latino leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sector has been an eye opening experience and testament of the improvement of Latino representation in these sectors. In essence, it has made me realize that I also can eventually earn one of these coveted positions with hard work. Getting acquainted with my cohort of fellows has also been amazing. Every fellow has done something amazing in their respective hometown, and being surrounded with great minds, and passionate people will only help cultivate the purpose that has driven me to pursue this fellowship and work in D.C. 

I'm excited with the challenges that will be presented during my fellowship. I know that in the future, I will look back to this fellowship, and credit it with propelling me to great success. 

CHCI Public Policy Conference

Ulises Gonzalez

One of the most impressive aspects of the CHCI Public Policy Conference is the opportunity to meet and network with many professionals and prominent leaders across the United States. Listening to President Obama's speech was a highlight of the conference. He emphasized about the importance of developing the next generation of Latino Leaders and explained that many Latina/os have been appointed to government positions during his first tenure as president. Great news and motivation to the next generation of Latina/o leaders.

Attending the CHCI conference allowed me to learn from many politicians including US Representatives and Senators. Listening to various speakers and panelist allowed me hear about the issues that policy makers face at ground zero of policy making. After the conference, I realized that stakeholders have a powerful and direct influence in policy-making process. As constituents, we have the power to influence public opinion, which is a driving factor in political decisions. The Latino community needs to get more involved in our political system to influence policy! The Latino community needs to come together in health care and immigration reform.


Andrew Lomeli

Perhaps my favorite aspect of CHCI's Public Policy Conference and Gala was being surrounded by successful Latinos eager to offer their encouragement. Everywhere one turns, there was someone with a smile and enthusiasm toward his or her work. Though "work" is probably not the best word; for these individuals, it is truly a matter of passion. On a very personal level, listening to the only Latino U.S. senator, Robert Menendez, was especially inspiring. He brought valuable perspective to the current immigration debate in front of people who have such a large vested interest in the topic. The ardor with which he spoke demonstrated just how passionate our communities must be toward the issues that impact us. He also serves as a reminder that all can accomplish what they set their mind to, so long as they invest the appropriate effort and enthusiasm. I would recommend that people attending the conference maintain an open mind toward the material to which they will be exposed. Also, be sure to seize every opportunity presented and do not second-guess yourself.