Name: Jaden Felix
Hometown: Fresno, CA
Current Job: Coordinator of Sorority & Fraternity Life, Office of the Dean of Students, The University of Texas at Austin
CHCI Program: 1999 Summer Internship Program
CHCI Program Placement(s): Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
1. What motivated you to apply to the CHCI program(s), and why do you think they are important for Latino youth?
My motivation to apply in the Summer Internship Program was grounded in making a difference, being an ally, and advocating for justice within an increasingly diverse society and community. I also wanted to learn about the political process and broaden my understanding of the Latina/o experience. Of course, I would be leaving out an important part if I did not acknowledge the encouragement I received from my family, especially my tía (María Félix-Neal) who had heard about the program from one of her closest friends and shared the experience with me.
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.
2. What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
After transferring to and completing my degree at University of Michigan, I began a journey working in higher education at my alma mater working on leadership programs, social justice initiatives, student organization advising, and La Celebración Latina, U-M’s Latino graduation ceremony. I decided to move south after several years in Michigan and joined the Office of Dean of Students at The University of Texas at Austin to work in Sorority and Fraternity Life. In my current role, I work with culturally based Greek letter organizations by creating leadership, academic success, risk management, and mentorship programs to students with a social justice lens. I also have the distinct pleasure to serve on several committees, including the Faculty Council’s Committee on Financial Aid to Students, Vice President for Student Affairs Communicators, and the chairperson of the Office of the Dean of Student’s professional development committee.
3. What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
The experience shed light on the importance to create environments that support collaboration and learning amongst teams, staff, and individuals. As a student affairs administrator, it reinforces the need to create safe spaces that allow people to celebrate their identity, reflect on their unique experiences, look for answers, and ask questions. One of the most important things I learned from the experience was the art of (truly) listening.
4. How do you continue to give back to the community?
I have been an active alumnus member of my fraternity, Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc, and donate to the Foundation. I have also served in various volunteer positions within the fraternity including, Vice President of Alumni, Regional Director, Chapter Advisor, and Ritual and Education Committee. I also love volunteering to review CHCI internship and scholarship applications.
5. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years, and what do you still want to achieve?
I see myself in a Director position supporting student success and retention utilizing technology to provide support to a diverse student population. I would like to see myself back in California and closer to my family, especially my mom (Annette Hall) and sister (Yvette hall). On the top of my list of things to achieve is to get back into school to pursue a Masters degree and/or Ph.D. (I have been looking into a new program here at The University of Texas at Austin: Human Dimensions of Organizations.)
6. What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
I think the most important advice I could give is to seek feedback from others, either co-workers, mentors, or those in your current cohort. Use that feedback to become a better leader, communicator, and CHCI participant. There are plenty of leadership assessments that, when paired with the feedback, can assist you in being the best version of yourself possible.