May 1, 2013
CHCI provided me a way to unlock the doors of my own curiosity about life on the Hill, learn from peers studying at some of the top institutions in the U.S. and becoming lifelong friends with them. I have spoken across the nation as an expert on immigration due to my placement and work experience since. Above all, I am proudest of organizing with the DREAMers who became the founders of the United We Dream Network. They are leaders of a movement that will be written in history books for centuries to come. As a political junkie, they helped me see that immigration issues are not just policy positions or political footballs; they are about our shared future in this great nation, creating what America can be, and most of all these issues are about people.
Apr 1, 2013
In large part, my CHCI fellowship experience, coupled with my graduate education, prepared me to serve as a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office on Drug Control. The opportunity to work in a high demand and high visibility environment while addressing a very complex policy issue gave me a unique opportunity to further hone my policy and political skills. After leaving the White House, I wanted to give my career a new challenge and a different direction. It was then that I decided to attend law school—a decision that I am very happy to have made and one that has yet again opened many professional and personal opportunities. Indeed, a legal education offered me a new platform to tackle challenges and offered new tools from which to devise answers and solutions to the most pressing problems of our times. After law school, I clerked for a DC Superior Court Judge and went on to work at several law firms until 2009. After President Obama’s historic election, I was once again given the opportunity return to public service as a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Mar 1, 2013
CHCI did two key things for me. First, it opened my eyes to how truly important Hispanics are to the future of this country. There is immense potential and opportunity for us to get involved and make a difference and CHCI gave me the tools to understand how to do that. Second, I learned that it is possible to work through our differences as Hispanics, to focus on the issues we need to address. As a class we engaged in thought provoking discussion. It gave me great hope for the future.
Feb 1, 2013
For both of them, CHCI provided the first real exposure to the broad spectrum that makes up the Latino Community and the issues that impact all of us as Latinos. For Antonio, growing up in NM, he had only been exposed to the Mexican/New Mexican experience. For Mimi, having excelled in mainly Caucasian schools, she did not have privilege to work alongside many Hispanics. The CHCI experience exposed both of them to the richness of the greater Hispanic community and the challenges and opportunities that come with being Hispanic. Alongside culturally like-minded individuals, Antonio and Mimi grew in their understanding of larger societal issues and in their understanding that as leaders they must always work to better the lives of Hispanics through public policy. “We are blessed to be part of a family of future leaders and embrace the responsibility associated with having had the CHCI experience.” ~ Antonio and Mimi
Jan 1, 2013
After my internship with Congressman Martin Frost, I received my B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M University before earning my Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law. Upon receiving my license, I returned to my hometown in Robstown and began practicing law in Corpus Christi where I have spent the last 15 years handling primarily civil cases. Within a couple of years after law school, I was elected as a council member for the City of Robstown. After being elected for three terms as a city council member, I then served as Texas State Representative for District 34 for six years from 2005-2011. I was recently elected to once again represent District 34 in the Texas Legislature beginning January, 2013. I have been extremely blessed to have a beautiful and loving family, including my wife, Matilda, and our five children: Annalisa (12), Andrea (7), Abel,Jr. (6), Alexia (4), and Aliana (2).
Dec 1, 2012
CHCI's Graduate Fellowship program allowed me to link my passion in housing and community development with a company that serves as a linchpin to homeownership in the United States. As an HOGAR Fellow, I was offered an opportunity to develop a Default & Foreclosure Educational Novella and further my career with hands on experience with a mortgage industry sub-servicer. Overall CHCI offered me a blend between the safety net of an academic environment with real world practical experience. It is for this reason that I find myself professionally where I am today.
Nov 1, 2012
The CHCI experience was instrumental to my professional and personal development in so many ways that it could take me days to answer this question. It allowed me to be in this great city and to walk into any gathering with the confidence that I belonged there and that I had something valuable to contribute. The experience also solidified my desire to become an attorney and use my degree to be a public servant. Even though my participation in the program predates the CHCI Alumni Association and a formal mentoring program, I was lucky to have some amazing alumni who mentored me, most notably Susan Santana and Juan Verde. They both continue to mentor me today and have been very influential in my development as a leader and as an attorney. CHCI also brought me to Washington, D.C., a city that I had never visited before but one that I now have the honor to call home and where I am raising my son.
Oct 1, 2012
My experience with CHCI was definitely life-changing. Having the opportunity to live and work in our nation’s capital and network with other young Latino leaders exposed me to potentials I never imagined. Working with the MALDEF organization (which was my fellowship assignment), was actually the impetus for my seeking a legal career.
Jun 1, 2012
My fellowship had a profound effect on my career and journey as a leader. I would not have been exposed directly to policy making, implementation, and evaluation, as I was during my time as a fellow. Being part of some of the behind-the-scenes work gave me insight into how government works across various levels--federal, state, and city--to create change. In my case, I learned firsthand how policy affects schools systems across the country, how it can drive conversations around equity, and also about the unintended consequences you don't realize until you get to implementation. My experience as a fellow also led me to want to go deeper in my field, so I returned to graduate school to get my doctorate and continue to build my career in the education field. The strong network I've been fortunate to be a part of and the relationships I've built at various levels have been invaluable to me in DC, Boston, across California, and even in Seattle, where I've met other alumni and reconnected with colleagues and friends I met in DC.
May 1, 2012
CHCI afforded me an extended family. When considering my run for office, I relied on the advice, expertise and insight of CHCI alums to make my ultimate decision. Their emotional support, encouragement and campaign contributions (my first maxed out donor was from my CHCI class) have helped to position me to be the Democratic nominee for Colorado Senate District 21. I am forever grateful for their friendship.
Apr 1, 2012
This month, CHCI profiles three CHCI Alumni congressional staffers that were recently elected as Executive Board members of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association: Bertha Guerrero, President, Marvin Figueroa, Vice President and Maria Urbina, Programming Director.
Mar 1, 2012
CHCI made an everlasting impact on my career and development as a leader. Very few programs offer life lessons in the real world atmosphere. CHCI strengthened my commitment to public service and social responsibility and allowed me make a significant contribution to my community through my service as an elected official and advocate for higher education.
Feb 1, 2012
CHCI changed my life. There is no question that the CHCI fellowship experience has shaped my career. In the personal mission statement I created as an undergrad, I hoped to commit my professional career to being an effective resource for and serve the Latino community, and to work to empower Latino immigrants and Latino youth. CHCI gave me the tools to fulfill my mission and the opportunities to live my mission. The fellowship reinforced my commitment to the Latino community by helping me understand how policy works from the top down and how it impacts our communities. For example, during my placement on the hill, I worked on the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Today, I am running WIA programs at our agency. CHCI exposed me to professional and leadership opportunities that I still draw from.
Dec 1, 2011
CHCI is an organization that creates opportunities. The fellows are chosen because of the leadership skills we bring to the table, but what we gain from the program is an ability to exercise that leadership at the national level and take advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to us, which otherwise may not have been available. Because of CHCI's alumni network, I have been able to open doors that otherwise may have stayed shut.
Sep 1, 2011
CHCI made me realize that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard and follow your vision. I met Latinos that were doing extraordinary things in government, the non-profit sector and in government.
Aug 1, 2011
CHCI facilitated an unmatched learning experience and exposed me to the world. I often tell college students that regardless of their field of study, they should spend a year in Washington, D.C. There's no other place in the world where you can get this level of access, exposure to all forms of leadership and points of view, and begin building a solid network of national Latino leaders and valuable, lifetime connections. An environment like Washington and Capitol Hill allows you to understand the many faces of leadership, which will be extremely valuable as you begin to define your own style of leadership and move into your career and life work.
Jul 1, 2011
My CHCI experience helped me to envision and bring together leading education experts, advocates, local elected officials, and practitioners—all with a critical role to play to increase Latino education success. The forum met its objective and examined the unique education challenges facing young Latinos, defined the barriers to higher education attainment, and discussed promising practices for addressing these. My CHCI experience helped facilitate key partnerships which have helped yield success to our efforts. I will be working with CHCI in the coming year and leading efforts to expand the conversation beyond the education community and further discuss the roles of other important stakeholders, including philanthropic foundations, corporate America, small businesses, media and entertainment, among others—all who will be critical in increasing Latino college completion rates and working to achieve the 60 percent national college completion goal.
Jun 1, 2011
I live each day accumulating as much research and information as I can on Hispanics and issues which impact their lives including, but not limited to: housing, immigration, jobs, education, etc. Additionally, I stay active as a speaker and presenter in various forums and conferences sponsored by institutions such as the Brookings Institution, the Federal Reserve Board, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), CHC Public Policy Conference, the National Mortgage Diversity Conference, and the Global Forum on Migrants and Development in
May 1, 2011
Staff Members for the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy - May 2011 Alumnus of the Month
Apr 1, 2011
Happy 30th Anniversary CHCI Fellowship Program!
This year marks an important milestone in CHCI's and the Alumni Association's history – the 30th Anniversary of the Public Policy Fellowship Program – the institute's original leadership development program. Over the years it has graduated over 400 young Latino leaders who have gone on to become some of our nation's rising stars in the political, corporate and nonprofit sectors.
Join us during CHCI's Hispanic Heritage Month events where we will be highlighting key programmatic milestones and showcasing Alumni from each of the graduating classes over the last 30 years!