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CHCI Fellows, Alumni Make Their Mark

For more than 20 years, CHCI's fellowship program has opened the doors of opportunity for aspiring young Latinos to secure exciting and important positions in Washington, D.C.  The class of 2008-2009 is no different with several fellows landing jobs working in Congress, and several others certain to secure employment soon.

CHCI Fellows Secure Positions Working in Congress

Ebenezer Concepción
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Ebenezer Concepcion graduated from Saint Peter's College with a BA in Spanish and Latin American and Latino studies.

During the summer of 2001, Ebenezer conducted scientific research on the monitoring of glucose levels of over 400 diabetic patients at the Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey. He completed a report, which he ultimately presented in various competitions, garnering various honors and awards. He achieved first place in his division at the regional Hudson County Science Fair.

Ebenezer secured employment with the Library of Congress, Hispanic Division 

Veronica Duron
Veronica Duron
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Veronica Duron graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in history and sociology.

Her professional experiences include: project associate for Tindall and Foster, P.C. Attorneys at Law, peer advisor for the University of Texas at Austin, and a intern for Representative Paul Moreno (D) at the Texas State Capitol, 79th Legislative Session, just to name a few.

Veronica secured employment with the Office of Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz (TX-27).

Tonantzin Mitre
National Association of Realtors Housing Fellow
Graduate & Young Professional Fellow: 2008-2009

Tonantzin Mitre established a rapport with colleagues early on while at her placement in the Office of Senator Robert Menendez (NJ). She proved herself to be hard-working, diligent, and dependable. While her academic background includes extensive research on affordable housing initiatives, Tonantzin was able to diversify her portfolio to include other important issues such as public education, autism, and early childhood education.

Recently, Tonantzin secured a job working in the Office of Senator Robert Menendez (NJ).

Daniel Montes

Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Daniel Montes received a double major of Ethnic Studies and Chicano studies at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

Daniel Montes recieved two placements during his fellowship. His first placement was in the Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34). As a legislative fellow, Danny researched health care policies and statistics about the Latino community and their impact on the 2008 election cycle. He also attended briefings and hearings on a wide range of policy issues from immigration to education to health care disparities.

While placed in the Office of the United States Student Association, the oldest and largest student led organization in the country, Daniel monitored and tracked policy issues that directly affect students. This fellowship experienced  sustained Daniel's passion for education. Daniel secured a permanent position with the United States Student Association as Trainings Director.

Denise Nolasco
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Denise Nolasco earned her Bachelor's degree from the City University of New York, Baruch College. She majored in political science and double minored in economics and Black and Hispanic Studies.

Denise secured employment with the Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO




Lorenzo Olvera
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

As a CHCI Fellow, Lorenzo was placed in the Office of Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31). It was there he learned how to handle issues relating to education, science and technology, space, post offices, election reform, campaign finance and minority health disparities.

"My ability to meet staff expectations was made easier because I had all the resources available to succeed. I had 23 Fellows to bounce my ideas around, an entire organization with numerous resources, and a large network of alumni that had experienced the exact circumstances I found myself in."

After weeks of continuing to produce exemplary work, Lorenzo received a permanent position within the Congressman's leadership office. "Due to my participation in the fellowship I now have the distinct privilege of stating that I work for the Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, Xavier Becerra (CA-31), as a Member Outreach Assistant," said Olvera.

Stephen Perez
Graduate & Young Professional Fellow: 2008-2009
Edward A. Roybal Public Health Fellow

His first placement was at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Stephen worked on several issues during his placement at HRSA, including health workforce diversity, chronic care models for disease management, and HIV/AIDS.

Stephen second placement was in the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Stephen recently secured employment with INOVA Hospital as a Nurse Practitioner in the Juniper Program, HIV Services

Belen Plasencia
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Belen Plasencia worked tirelessly while placed in the Office of Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16). As a native Texan she took pride in working on causes and issues which directly impacted her former place of residence. As a CHCI Fellow, Belen quickly learned the power of networking while researching job possibilities on Capitol Hill.

In March 2009, Belen was offered a full-time Mid-Atlantic Finance position with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).



Evelyn Rodriguez
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Evelyn Rodriguez always had a passion to work in government. As a CHCI Fellow, Evelyn was placed in the Office of Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-4).

"The depth of knowledge I've gained from working in my placement in addition to my involvement in an assortment of legislative endeavors, and the access to Members of Congress, all together has contributed to an amazingly invaluable and memorable experience," said Rodriguez.

Recently Evelyn secured a permanent position within Congressman Gutierrez' office and credits her success to the Fellowship's leadership development sessions.

"Besides the skills I developed from working in my placement, the Friday programming sessions also provided all the fellows useful tools to enhance our lives both personally and professionally," she said.

Maria Urbina
Public Policy Fellow: 2008-2009

Placed in the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Maria Urbina took advantage of her placement's open door policy and its resources.  She credits her success to the Institute.

"I know that my opportunities have been bolstered by the program structure of CHCI. I know that I have had the support -- financial, emotional and professional -- from this program that will propel me to continue my success on Capitol Hill," said Urbina.

Maria recently secured a permanent position as a staffer in the Senator's office.

"I have been tested with memos, floor statements, outreach publications and research tasks, at times hoping that I'd least get it half right. I look forward to the future growth I will experience in this office and in D.C., but I will not forget how humbled I am by all those who work around me and most importantly I will always appreciate the investment that CHCI has made in my professional development," said Urbina.

Ricardo Alejandro Quinto
SEIU Fellow Public Policy Fellow:2008-2009

Ricardo Alejandro Quinto graduated from the University of California with a BA in political science. His professional experiences include: law clerk, paralegal, campaign field organizer, case manager, and interviewer and research assistant.

Ricardo secured employment as a staffer in the Office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-8)




CHCI Alumni Appointed to Positions in Obama Administration

Gabriella Gomez
Public Policy Fellow: 1996-1997     

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Gabriella Gomez knew early only that she wanted to be a part of the legislative process. Her first placement as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow was with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Her second placement was with the Senate Education Committee on Labor and Human Resources.

Gabriella Gomez was recently designated Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education by the Obama Administration.

"CHCI provided me the opportunity to learn about my potential as a leader and my responsibility as a Latino leader. Without the fellowship program and the support of my family and many mentors along the way, I am certain I would not be where I am today," said Gomez.

She currently serves as Senior Education Policy Advisor on the Committee on Education and Labor in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to her work on the Committee, Gabriella advocated on behalf of the American Federation of Teachers as the Assistant Director of the Department of Federal Legislation. She also served as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23), covering education, health and labor on the local and federal level and serving as the Congressman's liaison for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

Yasmin Yaver
Public Policy Fellow: 2005-2006 

Yasmin Yaver had a diverse experience as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow. Her first placement was with the Office of Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. Her second placement was in the Office of Senator Robert Menendez (NJ).

"My experience as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow not only opened many doors to new and exciting opportunities in public service, but helped me develop the skills, maturity, confidence and support network so critical to professional advancement," said Yaver.

Yasmin recently accepted a position in the Office of Governmental Affairs at the Department of Transportation. "I think my journey here in Washington, D.C. would have been much more difficult without the guidance of CHCI," she said.

Recently, three other CHCI Alumni began working under President Obama in the White House.  Featured as our alumni of the month for March 2009, please click here to learn more about Noerena Limon, Lizet Ocampo, and Stephanie Valencia.

Noerena Limon, Lizet Ocampo, Stephanie Valencia