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Name: Heidy Servin-Baez

Hometown: Corvallis, OR

Diplomat, Department of State, Islamabad, Pakistan

CHCI Fellowship 2002-2003: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

1. What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?

Upon finishing the CHCI program, I was fortunate enough to work for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Mexico program for 2 years. Afterwards, I attended graduate school at the Harvard Kennedy School. I am now working for the Department of State as a Diplomat in Islamabad, Pakistan. My onward assignment is taking me to Pretoria, South Africa.

2. What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?

CHCI’s program allowed me to dabble in careers that were of interest to me but not necessarily my passion. I worked in the White House Initiative for Hispanic Education – a subject area that is very personal to me but not necessarily where I wanted my career to take me. I realized then that I wanted to work overseas and somehow in international affairs in some form or capacity. As an immigrant in this country with English as a second language, education is very personal to me but my career interest rests in international affairs. I don’t think any other program would have given me the opportunity to explore both my passion as well as develop the career I wanted to take. It is for this reason that I am where I am today.

3. How have you stayed engaged in community service?

During CHCI I saw how important it was to mentor and for this reason, whenever I have the opportunity to mentor, I try. It may not always be on a large scale but I know even the smallest of acts can make a difference. I’ve also volunteered in random projects with schools and garden clean-ups. While in DC, I helped re-start the Washington DC chapter of MANA, A National Latina Organization. There are many ways to get involved in the community and it’s about finding the right opportunities where you are living.

4. What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?

I would tell current fellows to enjoy their time in DC because there is nothing else quite like when you are a fellow without the complete employment strings attached. Don’t pass up any opportunities and always seek out mentors. It is the perfect time to find a mentor and there are always people out there willing to pass on the wisdom they’ve received. Don’t be afraid to take on challenges, don’t burn bridges because DC is a very small world, always find the best in any given situation and most of all, appreciate what CHCI has to offer. Many fellows often overlook the enormous opportunity they’ve been given once they are half way through the program. Remember the shoulders you stand on!

5. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years I hope to be in a career that keeps on challenging me both personally and professionally. It’s hard to say exactly where and what I’ll be doing but I know it will continue to be overseas or at the very minimum, in international affairs. Life takes you down many turns, and at this point, I never would’ve imagined myself in Pakistan, yet here I am, thoroughly enjoying the challenge it brings me everyday.