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Alumnus of the Month

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.

2013-2014 CHCI Alumni Executive Board - January 2015 Alumnus of the Month

Jan 1, 2015

2013-2014 CHCI Alumni Executive Board - January 2015 Alumnus of the Month

As we look forward to a prosperous 2015, CHCI and the CHCI Alumni Association wishes to thank the 2013-2014 Alumni Executive Board for their exemplary service provided to the organization and the progress we have made together. The Association has grown and triumphed over the past two years thanks to their time, talent and commitment to the future they helped create.

Mariana Kihuen

Dec 1, 2014

Mariana Kihuen

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.

Henry Fernandez

Nov 1, 2014

Henry Fernandez

“Leadership means taking people from one place to another, whether physically or on issues. Leaders operate outside their scope of authority, and taking leadership steps is an inherently personally dangerous process.

Ricardo Zavala

Sep 1, 2014

Ricardo Zavala

As a young child, I remember witnessing my father break up a gang fight in front of my home. Soon afterwards, my father received a phone call from someone threatening a drive-by shooting. That night, our entire family had to sleep on the floor. On another occasion, while walking home from school with my little brother, we saw a gang fight in which a young teenager was stabbed to death. These were some of the challenges which I had to overcome in order to graduate from high school.

Miryam Catherine Granthon-Gerdine

Aug 1, 2014

Miryam Catherine Granthon-Gerdine

Gracias to the help of a great high school counselor, I applied to a pre-college program, “Hispanics for Academic Progress” at Penn State University, (PSU). It was a full-ride scholarship for low-income, first generation, high school students to be on a college campus for a summer and learn about the day to day experiences of being a college student. By the end of that summer, I had earned credits for two college classes, had the wonderful opportunity to read, “Bless Me Ultima,” and gained the confidence that I could succeed at a big university. I highly encourage ALL high school students to look into pre-college programs.

Angelica Reza Wind

Jul 1, 2014

Angelica Reza Wind

As a first generation Mexican American of migrant farmworkers, I faced a lot of challenges. I did not grow having a stable home because we moved a lot. The transient lifestyle of migrant farmworkers has a way of impacting access to education. Moreover, I grew up in a household where education was not stressed. If I wanted access to a decent education, it was something I had to fight for. I was the first one in my family to graduate high school, college and law school.

Ray Mateo

Jun 1, 2014

Ray Mateo

My motivation to apply for the Summer Internship Program was grounded in making a difference---that change had to come from within the inner workings of capitol hill. I wanted to learn about the political process and broaden my understanding in how decisions are made on the hill.

Haydee Calderon

May 1, 2014

Haydee Calderon

My high school mentor encouraged me to apply to the CHCI internship program because of my interest in government and my leadership experience serving Chicago’s Latino community. CHCI plays a pivotal role providing future Latino leaders access and insight to the world of government and public policy in a manner they would never be able to achieve on their own.

Arnoldo Avalos

Apr 1, 2014

Arnoldo Avalos

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.

Elizabeth Cedillo

Mar 1, 2014

Elizabeth Cedillo

When I learned of the opportunity to work and live in Washington, D.C. for a year, I jumped at the opportunity. Accepting the fellowship meant I would forego the opportunity to accept a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in the sales division of Procter & Gamble. Yet, the desire to work on Capitol Hill was a dream validated by CHCI’s decision. It was an extreme honor to become a Public Policy Fellow for the Class of 1993-94.

Marvin Figueroa

Feb 1, 2014

Marvin Figueroa

More or less since I entered public school, everything I have experienced has influenced me to seriously pursue a career in education. I have accumulated a diverse set of learning experiences, from the overcrowded public schools of the South Bronx to the affluence of a top-twenty university. I learned to speak English in an ESL program and attended a vocational high school where the graduation rate struggled to reach 50%.

Cris Garza

Jan 1, 2014

Cris Garza

During my second year as a fourth grade Teach For America teacher in Philadelphia in 2004, I reflected on the multitude of challenges that the teachers and kids were facing at my low-performing school. I decided that, while I loved my wonderful students and would miss my vibrant community and hard-working colleagues, public policy changes were necessary to ensure that teachers would receive more effective support and every student would be guaranteed a world-class education.

Jaden Felix

Dec 1, 2013

Jaden Felix

The opportunities CHCI provides allow participants to develop individually, to feel supported, and increase their understanding of the societal issues impacting our families, friends, and fellow community members.

2013 Distinguished Alumni - October / November 2013 Alumni of the Month

Oct 1, 2013

2013 Distinguished Alumni - October / November 2013 Alumni of the Month

Yara Alma Bonilla, Rodolfo Anthony De Leon, William Ayala (Founding Secretary), Naomi Barry-Perez, Alejandra Ceja, Gabriella Gomez, Miguel Gonzalez (Founding President), Miryam Granthon-Gerdine (Founding Vice President) and Paloma Santiago-Adorno

Fabiola Carrion

Sep 1, 2013

Fabiola Carrion

CHCI’s most important asset are its people, and therefore the lessons that every young Latino learns during and after its programs are the collective values of dedication, solidarity, and leadership. The people that I met inspired me, and continue to do so as the years go by and I see ourselves evolving into leaders in our respective fields. I am sure everyone else who has and will complete these programs feels the same way.

Juan C. Otero

Aug 1, 2013

Juan C. Otero

Without a doubt, I was intrigued by the possibility of spending time in Washington, D.C., in an academic setting that would allow me to develop professionally. As a child of working-class parents from the South Bronx, there was not a multitude of subsidized, structured opportunities to experience Washington D.C. CHCI afforded me that opportunity and continues to do so for many Latino youth today.

Norma Dominguez

Jul 1, 2013

Norma Dominguez

I was encouraged to apply to the CHCI Internship program by another CHCI alumna who knew I was interested in public service. I had only finished my first year at Brown University when I headed to Washington, D.C .for the summer program. I was awestruck by the site of our country's capital, by my peers, their impressive collegiate careers and the countless inspiring people we met that summer. I was motivated to forge my own path and to pay the experience and opportunity forward. CHCI programs provide a vision of what a career in public service can look like for students while also providing the resources and networks to make that vision a reality.

Francisco Heredia

Jun 1, 2013

Francisco Heredia

What motivated me to apply for the CHCI internship was the opportunity to expand my knowledge on how government works. It was the end of my sophomore year at Arizona State and had decided to pursue a political science degree, to which this experience fit perfectly and it contributed to what I wanted to learn more about. The internship program provided me the opportunity to experience something that few have a chance to do - see the inner workings of Congress. These programs give a kid from the fields of Somerton, AZ, the opportunity to experience the halls of Congress, something that I never thought I would do.