Utah State University freshman and first-generation Latino college student Marina Hernandez was chosen as one of 40 interns out of 400 applicants to participate in a leadership training program in the nation’s capital in summer 2012.
Each semester the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) selects Latino students from around the country to complete a coveted internship.
Hernandez’s internship duties include working with a legislator on Capitol Hill for a minimum of 32 hours a week for eight weeks. Once a week, she will attend CHCI’s leadership training sessions where she will meet with distinguished leaders and participate in development training. Lastly, she will participate in a community service project to give back to the community.
Hernandez applied for the internship after Carol McNamara, co-director of the USU Institute of Government and Politics (IOGP), encouraged her to apply. IOGP is a non-partisan organization at Utah State that seeks to enhance understanding of government institutions and the political process by encouraging students to participate in internships. McNamara helped Hernandez by writing a letter of recommendation and editing all three of her essays.
“Marina was doing so well in my class,” McNamara said. “She is so bright and responsible and I knew I had to recruit her to apply for the CHCI internship.”
The internship is very competitive. The selection committee typically accepts students with a 3.0 GPA or above who show strong analytical and writing skills and have actively participated in public and/or community service activities.
Hernandez is the second USU student to serve a CHCI internship, following Anna Guadarrama who was a fall 2011 intern. Both Guadarrama and Hernandez are local, first-generation college students who have been extremely active in Latino community work. Attending Mountain Crest High School and Logan High School, they participated in Latino outreach programs. Hernandez worked with the Latinos in Action and Nature Teaches Me to Mentor — a Latino youth involvement program.
“In high school I didn’t have someone to help me understand how to take my next steps in life, like how to apply to college,” Hernandez said. “My goal in joining these clubs was to help those who didn’t have anyone to help them either.”
Guadarrama and Hernandez have continued their service while attending college. Guadarrama continually promotes the CHCI internship to fellow Latino students and has helped another student, Luz Maria, apply for a fall CHCI internship.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s website said the purpose of the Congressional Internship Program (CIP) is to expose young Latinos to the legislative process and to strengthen their professional and leadership skills, ultimately promoting the presence of Latinos on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies.
Writer: Kayla Hall, 435-797-0257, Kayla.email@example.com
Contact: Marina Hernandez, firstname.lastname@example.org