WASHINGTON – Stanford University student Jacob Gonzalez and University of Miami student Ana Moas have completed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s highly competitive, award-winning Congressional Internship Program in Washington. Their participation was made possible by a generous grant from the David Bohnett Foundation, a leading social justice non-profit and grant-making foundation with a focus on LGBT and progressive inclusion in the political process.
Gonzalez and Moas were among just 42 college students chosen out of hundreds of applicants from across the country to spend eight weeks working in the nation’s capital. Gonzalez, a native of Phoenix, served in the office of Rep. Ed Pastor, while Moas, a Miami native, worked in the office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
CHCI has helped change the face of Washington by exposing young Latinos to the legislative process, strengthening their leadership skills and creating a pipeline of Latino talent to Capitol Hill and all federal agencies.
“Interning in D.C. through CHCI has been nothing short of spectacular,” Moas said. “In my two months here, I have learned and grown more than I have anywhere else in the same time period, and I am now inspired to be more involved in the Hispanic community. CHCI has empowered us to be effective Hispanic leaders, and I know that I have gained an invaluable personal and professional growth experience.” “This summer has doubtless been the most transformative of my life,” Gonzalez said. “My encounters here with Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute interns have given me great hope, and I’m confident that they’ll soon lend the same to the general citizenry of our country.”
“CHCI is creating the next generation of Latino leaders,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI president and CEO. “We provide our summer interns with significant policy experience and mentorship opportunities, helping these outstanding students prepare for meaningful job placements after graduation. It’s important for our nation’s public servants to reflect the population they serve, and CHCI is creating a pipeline of talented young Latinos who are ready to serve – and lead this country.”
“We are excited to sponsor Jacob Gonzalez and Ana Moas for the Congressional Internship Program,” said David C. Bohnett, chairman of the David Bohnett Foundation. “Their enthusiasm for civic engagement is encouraging for the future of government. Jacob and Ana represent the best of our future leaders. They’ve expressed a true commitment to increasing diversity in the public sector, one of the Foundation’s core principles. I’m confident that they will put the relationships they developed in Washington to good use in their future careers, and put their leadership skills to use in the service of community building to foster positive change.”
CHCI’s Congressional Internship Program comprises three central elements: Work experience: Intern duties include responding to constituent inquiries, drafting correspondence and memos, monitoring hearings, conducting research, data entry and analysis and assisting with general office operations. Leadership development: Interns attend weekly sessions and meet with distinguished leaders from a range of professional backgrounds, engage in substantive policy discussions and participate in professional development training. Community service: Interns are also required to engage in a CHCI community service project. This year CHCI interns volunteered as support staff for the Shalom House and Independence Place, assisting staff members of So Others Might Eat in beautifying the properties by weeding, mulching, edging, raking leaves and other duties.
The CHCI selection process is competitive. The program receives at least 15 applications for every one available summer internship opportunity and five applications for every one available spring or fall internship opportunity. Interns must demonstrate high academic achievement, evidence of leadership skills and potential for leadership growth, a commitment to public service-oriented activities and superior analytical and communication skills. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee comprising alumni, board of directors and staff.
Individuals who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival are eligible to participate in CHCI’s internship and fellowship programs.
In addition to the David Bohnett Foundation, CHCI’s summer Congressional Internship Program is supported by Comcast Foundation, Darden Restaurants, Dario Marquez, General Electric Hispanic Forum, The Gilbert and Jackie Cisneros Foundation, Hyundai Motor America, Marathon Oil, Mass Mutual, National Association of Broadcasters, NewsCorp, Pfizer, Shell Oil Company, Time Warner Cable, Time Warner, Inc., Toyota, United Health Foundation, UPS and Southwest Airlines – the official airline of CHCI’s leadership development programs.
CHCI interns receive round-trip transportation to Washington, housing and a stipend. The nonprofit organizes similar 12-week internships in the spring and fall.