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August 2013 Junior Alumni of the Month

Jasmine Palomares
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Current School: Rising freshman at Duke University
CHCI Program: 2012 R2L NextGen

Katherine Barahona
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Current School: Rising freshman at Duke University
CHCI Program: 2012 R2L NextGen

Note: In late 2012, the CHCI Alumni Association decided that all graduates of CHCI’s premier high school leadership program, R2L NextGen, would be considered junior members of the Association. Our new Junior Alumni of the Month feature will highlight the accomplishments of these outstanding young people.

During the month of August, two of CHCI’s Junior Alumni will be heading off for their first semester at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Both Katherine Barahona and Jasmine Palomares will be the first in their families to head to college and represent the next generation of Latino leaders in our community.

Both young leaders are ecstatic about attending college. Katherine says, “I am so excited about going to college! Ever since I was in 7th grade, Duke was my dream school, and I am still pinching myself in disbelief that I will start on August 26th.” Jasmine is also enthusiastic. “I am most excited about moving to another state and knowing that I have a friend at Duke.” She was flabbergasted when she found out that Katherine, her R2L NextGen classmate, also accepted admission into the same school. “I would have never met Katherine if it were not for our amazing R2L NextGen experience last summer,” shared Jasmine.

Both students graduated from CHCI’s R2L NextGen 2012 program and immediately returned to their communities with more confidence. Both students participated in year-long internship opportunities which gave them hands on experience into their fields of interest. Katherine interned at a traumatic brain injury research lab at the University of Miami, and Jasmine interned at the office of San Antonio’s Mayor, Julian Castro.

In addition to their internships and regular academic coursework, both students were hard at work preparing for college. “After R2L NextGen, I began writing my college essays because I felt so inspired and motivated to share my story with others,” explained Katherine. “[The program] gave me the confidence that I needed to share the pride that I have in my Hispanic heritage.” Katherine was awarded the coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship for undergraduate and graduate school awarded to only 1,000 students nationally each year.

Jasmine was also hard at work gaining more experience and was selected for the Bank of America Young Leaders program, which provides students a paid summer internship and a week-long leadership training in Washington, D.C. “The money I am earning while interning I plan to use for college,” shared Jasmine. Her internship placement at Communities in Schools San Antonio has allowed her to spend the last two months supporting her local community.

While at Duke University, Jasmine aspires to major in political science with a possible minor in computer science. She is interested in pursuing a law degree and a career in politics after competing her undergraduate studies. Katherine plans to major in neuroscience and minor in global health. She hopes to join the Peace Corps after finishing college before going to medical school.

Together these, CHCI Junior Alumni will conquer their academic studies at Duke University. These young leaders have a bright path ahead of them.