2012 CHCI Fall Interns

CHCI welcomes its 2012 Fall Congressional Interns on August 27th.  The class is composed of 12 diverse individuals, from 9 different states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  They come from 12 different academic institutions, are pursuing 10 different majors, and 67% are the first generation to attend college.

Detailed Demographics: Download file 2012 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.

2012 CHCI Fall Congressional Interns:

Alejandra Aguirre Edward Cerna Veronica Guevara                 Victoria Malagon

Nicole Bulla Denisse Coronado             Marian Gutierrez Karla Mendez

Luz Maria Carreno                     Luis Falcon Brian Lucero Henry Montas

Alejandra Aguirre
Dallas, Texas
Southern Methodist University
Corporate Communications
The Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal

Alejandra Aguirre is a senior studying at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  She is pursuing a degree in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs with a minor in Human Rights.  She graduated from the School of Business and Management at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center within the top ten percent of her class.  As a first-generation college student, Alejandra hopes to make a difference in her community.

Alejandra has been involved in numerous organizations and programs in her university.  As a sophomore she participated in the Hispanic Youth Institute, a program that brings 200 Hispanic students to the university in order to show them that college is an option regardless of their background and limited resources.  Alejandra has also been a part of other organizations such as Student Senate as Hispanic American Senator, Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, College Hispanic American Students and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Outside her university, Alejandra volunteers with several non-profits on a weekly basis.  She has worked with Interfaith Housing Coalition, an organization that provides transitional housing for individuals without homes.  She has also volunteered at the Dallas County Jail with Resolana, a program that provides help to women inmates as they improve themselves during their time in jail.

As a CHCI intern, Alejandra seeks to gain experience in public policy as well as achieve professional and personal development.  She hopes to gain knowledge that will help further her involvement in important community initiatives.

Nicole Bulla
Clermont, Florida
University of Central Florida
Business Administration
The Office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Nicole M. Bulla currently attends the University of Central Florida and is pursuing a degree in Business Administration and Political Science. While her family had limited resources, Nicole was not discouraged and she is an example of tenacity and resolution. Nicole worked harder and as a result she earned a number of scholarships to fund her college education.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Nicole is actively involved in the community through her local church, where she serves as a leader in the youth and young adult ministry. Through her volunteer, Nicole seeks to encourage and empower young adults and improve their quality of life.

In her career path, Nicole hopes to be involved in political affairs and address the main issues among our educational system. Nicole views the CHCI Internship Program as a tremendous opportunity to assist others, broaden her understanding of the nation’s legislative process, and strengthen her leadership abilities and professional skills. Most of all, Nicole looks forward to gaining a stronger sense of pride and appreciation for the nation she has always called home.

Luz Maria Carreno
Riverside, Utah
Utah State University
The Office of Rep. Jared Polis

Luz Maria Carreno is a first generation Mexican American from Riverside, Utah. She is the proud daughter of immigrants who through their struggles have taught her to never give up on her dreams. Luz Maria is currently a senior honors student at Utah State University (USU) studying Sociology with a minor in Business Management and Spanish.

During her time at USU, Luz Maria has been very involved in service projects, both on and off campus. During her sophomore year, she volunteered to teach weekly ESL classes to Hispanic adults and translate at parent-teacher conferences. As part of the Latino Student Union club, Luz Maria organized a presentation for students at her high school on the importance of going to college and the resources that are available.

This past school year, Luz Maria was an outreach intern at the Access & Diversity Center. Along with a group of multicultural high school students, she organized an after school tutoring program that offers help with homework, ACT prep, and filling out financial aid forms and college applications. Being the first in her family to attend college, Luz Maria did not know how to apply to college. This is why she is passionate about working with high school students and helping them with the challenging college selection and application process, so they can achieve their goals.

As a CHCI intern, Luz Maria hopes to gain a better understanding of the legislative process as well as experience that will assist her in bettering the Hispanic community.  

Edward Cerna
Brooklyn, New York
City University of New York, Brooklyn College
Major: Political Science
The Office of Rep. Nydia Velazquez

Edward Cerna is a first generation American of Mexican and Salvadorian descent. Currently a junior at the City University of New York at Brooklyn College, Edward is an aspiring Political Science major with a minor in Classics. Upon graduation he plans on going to graduate school where he will pursue a masters in Political Science.

Edward faced many obstacles while receiving his education. These obstacles did not deter him but only fueled his desire to be the first member of his family to graduate from a higher learning institution. Edward has been on the dean’s list for four consecutive semesters and he was recently inducted into the Chi Alpha Epsilon national honor society.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Edward is active in his community through his local YMCA, where he was a camp counselor to low income and underprivileged children. He used his leadership skills and position to improve the writing levels of his campers and motivated them to pursue academic improvement.

Edward seeks to eventually work strengthening social programs, whose goals are to eradicate poverty and make education more affordable and accessible. As a CHCI Intern Edward hopes to gain the insight, development and credibility needed to project himself as a well-established leader for all aspiring Latinos.

Denisse Coronado
Houston, Texas
University of Houston
The Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar

Denisse Samantha Coronado currently attends the University of Houston, where she plans to graduate in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Organizational Leadership and Supervision. Her goal is to become a teacher in a low-socioeconomic area and help improve public education.

Throughout her education, Denisse had the opportunity to work, volunteer, and travel abroad. Recently, she worked at El Buen Samaritano Mission in Austin, Texas where she tutored young students so their parents could attend English courses. Denisse also tutored migrant children for the Houston Independent School District and interned at Justice for Children, a non-profit organization that advocates child protection across the nation.

Last year Denisse was given the opportunity to be a part of the 28th Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. Along with 74 young professionals from all over the United States and Puerto Rico, Denisse studied, worked, and served as a young ambassador in Germany for a year. Through her experience in Germany, she volunteered with an organization that houses handicap children and worked as a teacher assistant at an elementary school that integrates children of different grade levels with handicap children.

Denisse’s dream is to one day be part of the Texas Education Agency in order to provide educational equity and improve the education system for future generations. Denisse hopes that by interning with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, she will further develop leadership skills and gain more knowledge about policies that impact education.

Luis Falcon
Phoenix, Arizona
American University
Justice, Law & Society
The Office of Rep. Ed Pastor

Luis D. Falcon is a sophomore at American University in Washington, D.C. where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Justice and Law with a minor in Spanish. Apart from his studies, Luis actively volunteers both in his hometown of Phoenix and in our nation’s capital. While in Phoenix, he spends his time volunteering at Native Health, a Native American health care center.

While at American University, Luis divides his time among school, work, and clubs including the Latino & American Student Association where he helps educate college bound students about the process of applying and paying for college, showing them that with the right resources, college is an attainable goal.

One day Luis hopes to work in the criminal justice system. As a CHCI intern, Luis hopes to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the politicians, representatives, and constituents.

Veronica Guevara
Marshalltown, Iowa
University of Iowa
Political Science
The Office of Senator Michael Bennet

Veronica Y. Guevara is a first generation Mexican-American pursuing a bachelor of arts in Political Science with a minor in Latin American Studies at the University of Iowa. Veronica is a proud member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, a Latina based multicultural community service and academic oriented sisterhood. 

Veronica is very active in her hometown, serving with various community-based organizations such as the Immigrant Allies Steering Committee, whose mission is to strengthen community by embracing diversity. Previously, Veronica was a co-facilitator for a diversions program directed towards fifth and sixth grade students for juvenile court services. Veronica enjoys working with youth and has proven her strong sense of community throughout years of involvement and engagement.

Veronica has been very involved with the immigration movement. She has been an advocate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Dream Act while partaking in forums and panels aimed at educating the public about these issues.

As a CHCI intern, Veronica hopes to attain personal and professional growth. She plans to utilize all the resources provided to hone a broad insight into the legislative process. Also, she hopes to refine her understanding of public policy in order to be a stronger advocate in her community.

Marian Gutierrez
Pomona, California
Dartmouth College
The Office of Rep. Grace Napolitano

Marian Gutierrez is a first generation Mexican-American and currently a rising senior at Dartmouth College where she is pursuing a major in Romance Studies with a concentration in Spanish and Portuguese and a minor in Education.

At Dartmouth, Marian is involved in various aspects of campus including working as an outreach intern to inform students from underrepresented backgrounds about  Dartmouth College, as well as working on the continuation of initiatives established for the college to reach out to these students.

Marian has also participated in La Alianza Latina, the First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP), and the Women of Color Collective. Marian’s involvement within the Women of Color Collective opened up various opportunities for her including the participation in other women’s groups on campus and an internship next year at the College’s Center for Women and Gender.

As a CHCI intern, Marian hopes to learn more about our nation’s political system as well as public policy processes that directly affect Latinos in the U.S. and their opportunities for upward mobility.

Brian Lucero
South Gate, California
Santa Monica College
Public Relations
The Office of Rep. Linda Sanchez

Brian Lucero is of Mexican descent and has completed his second year at Santa Monica College with plans to earn a degree in Public Relations. 

During his high school years, Brian led numerous service projects, including service immersion trips to Mexico and Peru, as well as  the Special Olympics and community outreach tutoring programs. As a junior, Brian was introduced to the world of politics when he led a group of fellow students to Washington D.C. to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform.

Through the CHCI internship, Brian hopes to gain a better understanding of this country’s legislative process. It is his desire to learn as much as possible from the leaders of this great country as well as his fellow interns, and grow stronger as a leader and return home to better serve his community.

Victoria Malagón
San Juan, Puerto Rico
School: Universidad Politecnica de Puerto Rico
Industrial Engineering
The Office of Res. Com. Pedro Pierluisi

Victoria Malagón was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is a junior at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico with a major in Industrial Engineering.

Victoria has always been interested in government and how laws affect us in our everyday life. Her interest roots in Puerto Rico status as a Commonwealth, and the fact that Puerto Rico has one of the highest voter turnouts of the hemisphere. When Victoria was sixteen years old she worked in the House of Representative in Puerto Rico as an intern.

Victoria is an active member in her community, volunteering at her local hospital and a nonprofit association dedicated to help people with disabilities of all ages giving them tools to have normal lives in our community.

The CHCI internship will allow Victoria to learn about public policy, its structure and impact, and how effectively improve people’s quality of life. This opportunity will expose her to the importance of access to information and lawmaking process.

Karla Mendez
Jersey City, New Jersey
Saint Peters University
Political Science & Sociology
The Office of Senator Kristen Gillibrand

Karla Mendez was born in Bogota, Colombia. She is a first generation college student attending Saint Peter’s University where she is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Sociology and minor in Women’s Studies. Karla has received numerous recognitions for her academic excellence, and she is an active member of six honor societies and has consistently made the Dean’s List since her freshman year.

Karla has worked as a research assistant for both the departments of sociology and political science at her university and for Doug Demeo’s 4th Congressional Campaign Fellowship Program, where she tracked the campaign’s expenses.

Among her latest accomplishments, Karla completed six weeks in Brooklyn, New York as a workshop leader with Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) participants. The program is administered by the state of New York and offers teenagers the opportunity to gain work experience through different agencies over the summer. As a workshop leader, Karla was able to interact with the young participants and lead a variety of workshops; presenting to over one hundred young adults a week on topics such as financial literacy and career exploration.

As a CHCI intern, Karla is looking forward to working in a congressional office during the heat of the 2012 election year. She plans to use this internship experience to pursue graduate studies in Political Science and Public Affairs and ultimately to obtain a policy planning position with the federal government.

Henry Montas
Roslindale, Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts
Finance & Economics
The Office of Senator Chris Coons

Henry Montas was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a junior at the University of Massachusetts pursuing a degree in Economics and Finance. While growing up in the Dominican Republic, Henry witnessed the enormous economic disparity that affects the nation. His desire to close this social and economic gap in developing countries is the primary reason why he developed an interest in the economics field.

Henry is an active advocate for underserved communities in the city of Boston. He serves as a volunteer for the Boston Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition where he works as a tax preparer for families with low and moderate income. In addition, he has collaborated with other college and high school students to organize fundraisers and clothing and food drives for the homeless and families in need.

This summer, Henry was part of the third Harvard Latino Leadership Institute; a week long leadership program that gathers promising students with a record of serving the Latino community from around the country.

As a CHCI intern, Henry will expand his understanding of the legislative process, strengthen his leadership skills, and build a strong network of connections with professionals in the public sector whom might serve as mentors in his career.