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Alumnus of the Month

Juan Verde - CHCI Alumni Highlight

Feb 22, 2017

Juan Verde - CHCI Alumni Highlight

I moved to the US at the age of 15, lived in a low-income community of Boston, spoke no English and felt firsthand what it truly means to be a poor immigrant in this country. I grew up attending underfunded and, to be honest, uninspiring schools. Despite the obvious challenges, and thanks in large part to the support of many wonderful people, and organizations such as CHCI, I was able to work my way up, to become the first college graduate in my family, which under the circumstances was a major accomplishment in itself.

Lilyan Prado Carrillo - Alumni Highlight

Nov 30, 2016

Lilyan Prado Carrillo - Alumni Highlight

I migrated to the United States from Guatemala when I was four years old. Raised solely by my father, J. Luis Prado, I has always understood the importance of education. My dad, who often worked two jobs to support our family, instilled in me the examples of hard work and perseverance that ultimately led me to go to college, as was his expectation for me all along.

Arnoldo Avalos- October 2016 Alumnus of the Month

Oct 14, 2016

Arnoldo Avalos- October 2016 Alumnus of the Month

I grew up in Gridley, CA, a small rural community where the majority of its 5,000 residents were Anglo American. My family was among the first-generation Mexicanos in that area, most of worked in the agricultural fields. Participating in CHCI’s program changed my mental paradigm; this experience really took me from “not knowing much” to “total exposure”. Most high students read about the executive and legislative branches of government only in textbooks. But to witness it firsthand was a tremendous experience – it can change someone’s life like it did for me – and it can compel students to dedicate their entire lives to community service and public policy work.

Jennifer Mauskapf - August 2016 Alumnus of the Month

Aug 8, 2016

Jennifer Mauskapf - August 2016 Alumnus of the Month

The recurrent educational challenge for me was coming from a family unfamiliar with higher education and all the support needed to help a student succeed in school. I had to learn a lot of that by myself and with the help of others. However, I view my family background as a strength. It provided me a sense of resilience and a work ethic that my parents modeled throughout my life, even now.

Luis Padilla - July 2016 Alumnus of the Month

Jul 18, 2016

Luis Padilla - July 2016 Alumnus of the Month

The recurrent educational challenge for me was coming from a family unfamiliar with higher education and all the support needed to help a student succeed in school. I had to learn a lot of that by myself and with the help of others. However, I view my family background as a strength. It provided me a sense of resilience and a work ethic that my parents modeled throughout my life, even now.

Jessica Gonzalez -  June 2016 Alumnus of the Month

Jun 8, 2016

Jessica Gonzalez - June 2016 Alumnus of the Month

I think for me some of the biggest challenges arose from being raised by traditional Mexican parents and the youngest of four. Specifically in that by being the youngest and female, there were both internal and external expectations of me that made it difficult for me to make decisions freely, such as pursuing a higher education that required me to move away from home.

Ruben James Reyes -  May 2016 Alumnus of the Month

May 16, 2016

Ruben James Reyes - May 2016 Alumnus of the Month

While each of us have our own individual challenges, the real obstacles I faced were being the first in my family to understand how to pursue higher education and overcoming economic barriers to obtaining a higher education.

Thomas Rivera -  April 2016 Alumnus of the Month

Apr 1, 2016

Thomas Rivera - April 2016 Alumnus of the Month

While I was in middle school, my father abandoned my family and left my mom with a large debt. My mother worked hard to provide for my brother and me and ensured that we were never in need. My mother was and still is a lunch lady in the local school district, by no means a lucrative job, yet she miraculously found ways to stretch every paycheck. When I got accepted with a partial scholarship to a local private high school, my mother found ways to work more and ensure I received a quality education.

Lorraine Carrasco -  March 2016 Alumnus of the Month

Mar 8, 2016

Lorraine Carrasco - March 2016 Alumnus of the Month

After completing my program, I continued to work on Capitol Hill as press secretary. I eventually moved to CHCI to continue working in communications and further develop my fundraising and strategic planning experience. Last fall, I became a graduate student at American University, and at the beginning of this year, I transitioned into the private sector as the new director of external affairs for Nielsen.

Chris Pineda & Zoraima A. Diaz-Pineda -  February 2016 Alumni Couple of the Month

Feb 9, 2016

Chris Pineda & Zoraima A. Diaz-Pineda - February 2016 Alumni Couple of the Month

The CHCI experience had a tremendous impact on my personal and professional trajectory. My wife and I were friends from high school and college, but we did not start dating until we started the CHCI fellowship. We now live in Brownsville, TX with our two young sons: Zeviel (age 8) and Zuriel (age 4).

CHCI Alumni Task Force - January 2016 Alumni of the Month

Jan 1, 2016

CHCI Alumni Task Force - January 2016 Alumni of the Month

In 2012, the CHCI Board of Directors formed the Alumni Task Force, made up of board and advisory council members, senior alums, and alumni chapter leadership.

Amilcar Guzman

Nov 1, 2015

Amilcar Guzman

Throughout my life, I’ve faced obstacles that have pushed me to become a better person and subsequently shaped me into the person that I am today. I was born into a single-parent, low-income Dominican household in Manhattan, New York. My mother worked two jobs to provide for my older brother and I. Growing up I was a quiet and introverted kid who didn’t cause many problems and was often overlooked by my teachers. At the age of six, I developed a severe stutter which still impacts me to this day. Throughout my educational and professional career, I’ve struggled to overcome my stutter. Through hours of practice (thanks to CHCI and other wonderful organizations), I’ve worked to improve my speech, but this is an obstacle that I am still fighting to this day.

Yaneris M. Rosa

Sep 1, 2015

Yaneris M. Rosa

Since I was a little girl growing up in Dominican Republic, I always aspired to become an attorney but my dream was strengthened when I realized that a law degree would give me the necessary tools to fight injustices in our society. I applied for the CHCI summer internship to gain firsthand experience on how laws were made. The CHCI internship was a defining experience because it gave me a larger perspective about how change evolves through legislation and public policy.

Gladis Molina

Aug 1, 2015

Gladis Molina

In 1990, I immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. I was 10 years old then and did not speak any English. I was undocumented until my junior year of college. Growing up with parents who never attended school themselves gave me an appreciation for an education.

Michael Anthony Vargas

Jul 1, 2015

Michael Anthony Vargas

Because I wasn’t born into the most ideal life circumstances, every part of my life has been an added struggle to succeed. I did not have insurmountable resources or networks that I could easily tap into whenever I wanted; I had to work for every contact and business card, or earn every phone interview or in-person interview for every application I submitted. I wouldn’t count this as a challenge per se because the extra hard work and energy it took to be successful in these endeavors made success even more rewarding.

Desiree Flores

Jun 1, 2015

Desiree Flores

I was socially and geographically born into a world where nothing came easily as a Mexican-American in the central valley of California. I watched my grandmother, a farm worker, succumb to lung cancer caused by pesticide exposure. My grandfather, also a campesino, had a fatal heart attack on an oppressively hot July day in the fields with no rapid way to alert for medical help. I saw the struggles other young girls experienced trying to chart out a life of opportunity while living in areas with high levels of poverty and teen pregnancy.

Guillermo Raya

May 1, 2015

Guillermo Raya

Being a first generation Latino, I was by classification 'at risk, low-income.' I still remember being in a classroom in elementary school and having to do a drawing about my parents’ occupation. Many of my friends had drawn their parents as attorneys, dentist, teachers, all professions that by social standards were accepted and highly regarded. Having drawn my parents in a (farming) field, I never knew why my parents or I were different from others.

Nathaly Arriola

Apr 1, 2015

Nathaly Arriola

The most difficult decision I ever made was to leave home. I was born and raised in Peru and due to our economic situation, I was separated from my parents for a few years when they immigrated to the United States. I was finally reunited with my family when I was 10 years old - deciding to go away to college and later D.C. broke my heart - but an experience like that teaches you to think about those you love before yourself and for me that’s my family and my community.

Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr.

Mar 1, 2015

Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr.

It was not until the summer after my junior year in high school, when I participated in the seven week-long Summer@Brown Program at Brown University that I discovered that as a first-generation American, I faced certain struggles that others did not. Growing up in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, a predominantly Mexican, low-income neighborhood, I was not aware of the obstacles that I faced, that we (the first-generation Americans of Little Village) faced because we were all in the same situation.

Martha L. Bahamon

Feb 1, 2015

Martha L. Bahamon

My journey is the journey of millions of Latinos who grew up in this country as children of immigrant parents. My mom, a nurse by profession, immigrated in 1970 alone. I was raised along with my two older brothers by my grandmother and aunt in Cali, Colombia. In 1979, the family was reunited when we immigrated to the U.S. to live in Newark, New Jersey. My mom had remarried and we had a new addition to the family, my younger sister. Growing up in Newark was filled with adversity and struggle.