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CHCI Congratulates the 2011-12 Fellows and 2012 Spring Interns

On Tuesday, April 24, CHCI held its Joint Fellows and Spring Interns Graduation Networking Reception in the Gold Room at the Rayburn House Office Building honoring its 2011-12 Public Policy and Graduate Fellows and its 2012 CHCI-Walmart Spring Interns. More than 100 people were in attendance. CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera and CHCI Chair Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez provided opening remarks, followed by insights from Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Joe Baca. Finally, Gil Valdes of New York Life gave sponsor remarks.

New York Life, the event sponsor, and all of the Public Policy and Graduate Fellowship Program and CHCI Interns sponsors continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to CHCI’s mission of developing the next generation of Latino leaders.  CHCI and the 2011-12 graduating fellows and interns are indebted to these companies for their financial and in-kind donations.

In her welcome remarks, CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera stated, “CHCI provides a life-altering experience for these talented young Latinos and a unique access to the American dream. We directly serve more than 1,700 students a year – helping to make their American dream possible and keeping the promise to the next generation.  These fellows and interns reflect the struggles and aspirations of our community and the nation; they come from states all across the country and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 25 percent of the fellows and 30 percent of the interns come from families whose household income is below $45,000.  Fifty-four percent of the fellows and 58 percent of the interns are the first generation to go to college.”

CHCI Spring Congressional Intern Stephanie Kamey offered a very heartfelt and emotional speech that recalled the group's collective experiences.  She noted that, over the past months, the interns and fellows have experienced tremendous personal and professional growth as they worked in congressional offices, federal agencies, nonprofits groups, and government-related organizations.  They explored the world of policymaking firsthand, and honed their leadership and career development skills through interaction with preeminent legislative role models. They participated in policy summits with members of Congress during the 2012 Public Policy Conference, and met many powerful national leaders, such as U.S. Secretary Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and President Barrack Obama—just to name a few.  In closing, she encouraged her classmates to continue to give back to the Latino community so that the next generation of Latino leaders would have opportunities for similar, life-changing experiences.

Congratulations to the 2011-12 Public Policy and Graduate Fellowship Classes and the CHCI 2012 Spring Interns.  CHCI wishes them the best in their future endeavors.