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DC living (my experience as a CHCI fellow)

Last summer I got some exciting news, I accepted a public policy fellowship at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) that would change my life forever. 

The nine month fellowship placed me and another 21 other excited graduate and public policy fellows to work at federal agencies, Capitol Hill, national non-profits and think tanks. 

I was placed at the U.S. House of Representatives where I worked for 9 months doing research, writing memos, attending Capitol Hill briefings and receptions and helping during a Congressional conference and important meetings for Members of Congress. It was incredible!! 

The fellowship allowed me to learn the inner workings of Congress, to interact with Members of Congress and to meet inspiring people that are passionate about helping others. 

Honestly, Congress is not the easiest place to work, it's very fast paced, competitive (which is not always a bad thing) and right now it is very partisan. Republican and Democrats can't seem to agree or compromise. Despite the drawbacks, I am still beyond grateful for the opportunity to work at the Hill. I know that public service is not the easiest career path but it is my passion. 

One thing that the fellowship allowed me to do was to dream bigger! I would have never met people holding such important roles in government, among the most inspiring to me were Latinas. Also, my fellow peers from the fellowship and from Capitol Hill are so ambitions and hard working that it motivated me to do more and to aim high. Most of them have done extraordinary work in their schools and communities and are in DC because they are determined to continue helping them.

It was very exciting to be surrounded by people that are as passionate as I am about public service, helping underserved communities both domestically and abroad and taking a hard look at our laws to see if they are establishing justice and serving our country. 

Some of the highlights during my fellowship were:

- Election night when President Obama won

- Mentoring 2 high school girls and preparing them for college 

- Volunteering for Voto Latino 

- Canvassing and phone banking for the Presidential campaign.

- Having coffee with my U.S. House Rep. 

- Meeting President Obama and Vice President Biden 

- Freezing my butt off during the U.S. Presidential inaugural address

- Seeing Minority Leader Pelosi on a weekly basis

- countless conversations with friends about life, politics and the future

- gaining mentors 

- Meeting people from all over the country and world -- some with very different political views 

I will truly cherish the opportunity given to me through this fellowship. I leave DC next month to continue pursuing my career goals but I know that I will be back to aid those in need through public policy. 

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Comment by Cynthia Amaya on August 4, 2013 at 8:29pm

This sounds so amazing! It gave me chills. I'm so happy and proud of you, Sonia! 


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