CHCI Alumni Association
Elections: National Vice President
ENRIQUE E. FIGUEROA
Public Policy Fellowship 1982-1983
Dr. Figueroa was born in Uvalde, TX to parents that came from northern Mexico—his father served in the US Army during WWII. At the age of ten, Dr. FIgueroa’s family moved to the Central Valley (Modesto) of California, where he completed all his degrees: an A.S., a B.S., two MSs, and his Ph.D. While in his Ph.D. Program, he was selected for the first class of CHCI’s Fellows program. Subsequently, Dr. Figueroa was selected as CHCI’s Outstanding Alumni in 2006 and presented with CHCI’s Medallion of Distinguished Alumnus in 2008. He taught a year at a Community College, eleven years an an Ivy League institution, Cornell University, where he was the faculty advisor to MEChA, the Latino Graduate Student Coalition, and the Latino Living Center. He was also instrumental in establishing the Hispanic American Studies Program at Cornell. He was the Director of the Roberto Hernandez Center at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee(UWM), where he created and administered the Latino Nonprofit Leadership Program (LNLP), which generated 180 alumni over eleven years, many of which have leadership positions today. He also established an endowed scholarship fund specific for UWM Latino students, which raised nearly $150,000. The second Clinton administration selected Dr. Figueroa as a Presidential Appointee at the USDA—Deputy Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs—where he Chaired the Secretary’s Hispanic Leadership Council. Dr. Figueroa has an extensive record of serving on national, state, and local Nonprofit Boards, governmental Commissions/Boards, and a host of civic committees. Dr. Figueroa has received numerous honors, including the Green Bay Packers Hispanic Leadership Award, Fresno State’s Top Dog Award, and Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee Leadership Award. He is a recognized leader at the national, state, and local level. He has lived in TX, CA, NY, VA, and WI and he has travel extensively around the world.
I was one of four Fellows chosen in the FIRST CHCI Fellows program. Twice I have been honored by the CHCI as the “Outstanding Fellow” in Oct., 2006 and the “Medallion of Distinguished Fellow” in Sept. 2008. I have a very special place in my heart for the CHCI and as a Fellow. I have been a Prof. and an Ivy League University, Cornell; a Presidential Appointee in the second Clinton administration; a Director and Prof. at an urban RI research institution, primarily dedicated to the academic development of Latino students; established a scholarship fund, raising nearly $150,000, for Latino students; created the Latino Nonprofit Leadership Program, LNLP, with 180 alumni, many of which are in leadership position; served on a number of National, State, and local Boards/Commissions/Committees; and have lived in TX, CA, NY, DC, VA, and WI. I am retired now and can think of no better way to devote some of my time as Vice president of the CHCH Alumni Association. I look forward to further discuss what I bring to the Association….gracias!
JOSE L. PLAZA
Higher Education Graduate Fellowship 2012-2013
Jose L. Plaza is a CHCI alumnus, class of 2012-2013, and served as the Bill and Melinda Gates Higher Education Graduate Fellow. During his fellowship, he held placement at the education non-profit Ed Trust and the office of Congressman Raul Ruiz managing portfolios ranging from health, immigration, housing, to education. Jose began his professional work as a counselor for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), co-authoring a federal multi-million dollar grant to implement CAMP at the community college level.
Currently, Jose is a program manager in the statewide Prevention team at the California Endowment. In that department, Jose oversees immigration, LGBTQ, disability portfolio, and spearheaded TCE’s GOTV efforts. Jose’s portfolio also encompasses youth engagement specifically education and outreach around issues of civic participation, activism, and social justice. Jose is one of the social media content coordinators for the endowment and oversees a myriad of communications contracts from social media to traditional media.
Jose earned bachelor’s degrees in social science and English from San Diego State University. In 2005, he moved to Long Beach, California to pursue a M.Sc. in counseling with an emphasis in student development in higher education from California State University, Long Beach. He began his doctoral work in education at the University of Southern California studying undocumented/migrant student experience in higher education. Jose is currently one of 10 American Express NGEN Fellows focusing on equity work in non-profit and philanthropy with Independent Sector. Jose resides in Sacramento, California.
CHCI is to me what it is to countless alumni, a life changer. CHCI was the catalyst for my professional career and as such, I have sense of indebtedness to the organization, its alumni, and to future CHCI leaders. The CHCI Alumni Association has had a successful trajectory and as its ranks are growing, after an unsuccessful campaign for its presidency, my commitment to CHCI has not waned. In my run it was evident the desire of alumni across the country for stronger leadership, communication, and responsiveness to alumni needs outside of D.C. It is my desire as VP to work with existing leadership to ensure that timely and successful solutions are put in place and continue to grow the organization.
STEM Graduate Fellowship 2012-2013
Daniel Lind is a Mechanical and Automotive engineer, earning degrees from the University of Miami in Florida and Clemson University in South Carolina, who currently works as a Safety Compliance Engineer at the Department of Transportation. He was a 2012-2013 CHCI Graduate STEM Fellow who worked on the Senate Finance Committee and at the American Petroleum Institute (his sponsor), and he has remained involved with CHCI ever since then helping out in any way he can – serving as a mentor, application reviewer, interviewer, panelist for fellows/interns, and STEM recruiter for CHCI over the years. More than a dozen scholarship organizations believed in Daniel and awarded him scholarships after high school, granting him the opportunity to go to college. To pay it forward, Daniel has a passion for giving back to the community and volunteers regularly with CHCI, the Horatio Alger Association, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and in STEM and Latinx outreach opportunities in the DC area.
I am interested in being the VP for the CHCI Alumni Association specifically to increase the number of opportunities and resources for alumni to connect with each other, gain skills needed to advance in their professional careers, and give back to the community by volunteering and mentoring Latino youth. At the same time, I plan to promote CHCI leadership programs by highlighting the impact CHCI has around the country and across the world through social media and national magazine partnerships. In short, I plan to focus on transparency in all that the national board does, bridging efforts and sharing resources across chapters, highlighting our Alumni and supporting the professional development of Alumni. I believe my skillset is ideal for this role, as I have done very similar work increasing opportunities for members, providing value-added programming for professional development, hosting a large profit-generating regional conference, and highlighting Latinxs in STEM through my work with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where I have hosted more than 45 events over the last 28 months, while simultaneously establishing over 50 partnerships with organizations and companies in the Capitol area, and increasing our social media engagements to reach over 7,000+ people per event at the local level, and managing a newsletter that reaches members across the country. I plan to join forces with all of the partners I’ve worked with over the last few years, in order to continue developing partnerships across the country with top companies, specifically in order to work toward our goal of having an Alumni summit. I would like to take the CHCI Alumni Association to the next level and increase CHCI’s impact in all the great work the organization does!
Congressional Internship Program 2006
Santiago Vallinas is a multicultural biotech professional who is passionate about the hispanic community. He currently works in marketing at Genentech where he will be responsible for a leading the MS franchise brand’s new market entrant competitive strategy. During his time in marketing he helped to ensure that Genentech was effectively reaching out to Latino patients and providing them with resources in Spanish to help them make the best treatment decisions. Before joining Genentech, Santiago worked as a principal analyst at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Capitol Hill, estimating the cost of proposed legislative policies and bills in the areas of health, and income security. At CBO, he often collaborated with offices of Members of Congress and provided unbiased health analysis to the Congressional decision-making process.
Santiago holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Spanish from Dartmouth College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. He is passionate about his heritage and want to make an impact in the Latino community. In his free time, Santiago enjoys walking his 9 year-old basset hound named Pythagoras, curating / exhibiting his art collection which he uses to fundraise for the Latino art community, and traveling / trekking to new places (i.e. gorillas in Rwanda!)
I have been rather disappointed by the level of alumni engagement from CHCI. I have been a part of several other national scholarship/foundations/programs and they have done a much better job of energizing and mobilizing its alumni to garner support, funding and engagement for their programs. CHCI made a huge impact in my life but then since then engagement from the parent organization leaves a lot to be desired. I want to change that modus operandi and tap into our alumni to help mentor interns, and ultimately help them find jobs. CHCI can’t do this alone. They have a intellectually, successful alumni base that needs to be more engaged. I would change this by: 1) Sponsoring national networking happy hours; 2) Working with my company and other tech companies in SF to sponsor interns and provide mentorship; 3) Host events at our company headquarters such as panels, and other engagement activities for local alumni; 5) Create an alumni database to connect alumni working in similar industries; 6) Create and promote giving circles across the country for alumni