The Medallion of Excellence for a Distinguished Alumnus recognizes a CHCI alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to the Latino Community and who has thereby achieved distinction. This prestigious annual award is meant to highlight the impact of CHCI’s programs and the prominence of its alumni. Those considered are judged on the full range of their professional and community accomplishments. (CHCI Board Approved: March 2006)
- Must have successfully completed the CHCI Fellowship program at least 15 years prior (or the Internship program 20 years prior) to date of nomination.
- Must exhibit dedicated civic engagement and leadership in the Latino community
2022 KENIA SEOANE LÓPEZ
Kenia Seoane López is an Associate Judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Judge Seoane López was appointed by President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in June 2021 and confirmed by the Senate in February 2022.
Before becoming an Associate Judge, she served as a Magistrate Judge, having been appointed by Chief Judge Lee Satterfield in 2012.
Judge Seoane López served as the Bilingual Attorney Negotiator in the Domestic Violence Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court. Prior to joining the Court, she was an Assistant Attorney General in the Legal Services Section of the Child Support Division in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Judge Seoane López served as a law clerk to the Massachusetts Superior Court and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
She is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. In 2002, she also received a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies. She graduated cum laude from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.
She served as the President of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Judge Seoane López is the District 4 Secretary for the National Association of Women Judges.
2021 ISABELLA CASILLAS GUZMAN
Isabella Casillas Guzman was sworn in as the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration on March 17, 2021. She serves as the voice for America’s 30 million small businesses and innovative startups in President Biden’s Cabinet. She has spent her entire career advising entrepreneurs, launching ventures, and creating policies and programs to advance entrepreneurship and innovation. Most recently, she served as the Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate where she helped small businesses and innovative startups in the world’s fifth largest economy start, expand, and grow. In addition, she served as the economic recovery support function coordinator for the state, where she spearheaded the small business recovery effort during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 MILDRED OTERO
Mildred Otero is the Senior Vice President for National Impact at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). In this role, she oversees four national teams committed to developing the leadership skills of its members to pursue leadership opportunities that empower them to end educational inequities in the United States through advocacy, elected, organizing and policy. Prior to joining LEE, Mildred served as the Chief Education Counsel in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where she managed the Senate Majority’s education agenda and its policy development and strategies for children from cradle to career. Such efforts included, legislation addressing early childhood education, childcare, elementary and secondary education, higher education and the workforce.
Previously, Mildred served as a senior policy officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; senior advisor at the United States Department of State/United States Agency for International Development; senior policy advisor to US Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY); legislative assistant to US Senator Reed (D-RI) and Deputy Director for Early Childhood at the Children’s Defense Fund. Mildred began her policy work in Washington, D.C. through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Graduate Fellowship program. In an op-ed published in The 74, Mildred shared how her experience as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow impacted her professional and personal life. Before her time in Washington, Mildred was a counselor for child victims of sexual and physical abuse at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and began her career as a legislative aide to the New York State Assembly Speaker in Albany, NY.
Mildred earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York- Albany and a Master’s degree from New York University, Silver School of Social Work. Mildred currently serves as an advisory board member for Communities In Schools; previously served as board member for Complete College America and completed the seventeenth cohort of the Aspen-Pahara Education Fellowship.