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2003-04 Graduate Public Policy Fellow

CHCI’s paid fellowship experience helped Mildred Otero connect her social work experience and passion for children’s issues to public policy and launched a career dedicated to improving education. She continues to stay personally and professionally connected to her fellowship program peers who remain a strong network of professionals and friends.

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Current City: Miami, Florida

CHCI Placement: The Office of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Education: State University of New York at Albany; New York University



  • Vice President – Policy Leadership, Leadership for Educational Equity
  • Chief Education Counsel, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
  • Senior Policy Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Senior Advisor, United States Agency for International Development
  • Senior Advisor, Education and Children’s Issues, The Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Legislative Assistant, The Office of Senator Jack Reed
  • Deputy Director for Early Childhood Development, Children’s Defense Fund

Fellowship 2003-2004: Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)


“CHCI programs do more than put Latinos on a different trajectory for their lives; they create an amazing pipeline of Latino policymakers. When I first came to Washington, D.C., there were very few people of color on Capitol Hill. Today, I am grateful to see so many young men and women of color representing the important perspective of the Latino community.”


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

When I finished my fellowship I chose to stay in Washington, D.C., working first at the Children Defense Fund with Marian Wright Edelman, then for Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and in 2006 returning to the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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

My fellowship had a profound impact on my professional journey. CHCI made it possible for me to come to D.C. and chart a new professional course. I was able to incorporate all the things I learned from my previous work experience into the policy I currently work on. I was also able to learn new and different skills as well as delve into new areas of policy.

3. How have you stayed engaged in community service?

I have not been as fully engaged in service as I would like given my recent schedule…but I look forward to rededicating myself to service in the very near future.

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

Take advantage of every opportunity, this fellowship is a unique chance to do new things and expand your horizons. Be sure that when it’s over, you can look back and know you have done that.

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

Wherever I am, I expect to be working to better the lives of children in our country. It has become an important part of my professional and personal journey. And I trust that will always continue.