CHCI-Chevron Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Layton, Utah
School: University of Utah
Degree: B.S. in Political Science, Exercise and Sport Science
Placement 1: NALEO Educational Fund
Placement 2: U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Labor
Itzel Hernandez was born in East Los Angeles, California and raised along the Wasatch Front of Utah. As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, she learned the value of strong work ethic and resilience which led her to become a first-generation college graduate at the University of Utah in 2016.
During her undergraduate career she was actively engaged across campus as a student researcher, an America Reads tutor and as chapter president of the Latina-based sorority, Kappa Delta Chi. Influenced by her first-hand experiences as a conference custodian, Itzel found her passion for public service while interning at Comunidades Unidas, a local non-profit, promoting workers’ rights & safety and civic engagement.
She directed her efforts towards amplifying the representation and recognition of Latinos in her community through interning at the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office and serving as a board member of the Utah Coalition of La Raza (UCLR). During her tenure as a UCLR board member Itzel laid the groundwork for the Utah Latinx Youth Symposium, a youth program focused on providing the rising generation of Latino leadership and mentorship to post-secondary pathways. Additionally, she strove to cultivate networking opportunities and resources for rising Latina professionals.
Following graduation, Itzel taught GEAR UP, where she provided first-generation and low-income students access and guidance to higher education. She also worked at the Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs where she focused on outreach, inclusion, and youth leadership programming.
Now as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Itzel seeks to gain hands-on experience of the policy-making process and to expand upon policy analysis skills. Through the fellowship she hopes to gain the skill set necessary to further advocate for marginalized communities and continue in public service by bridging communities through government.