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Student chosen to work for congress in Latino leadership program

LeeAnn Cardwell

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucas Institute: Congressional Internship Program has accepted a third Texas State student into the program.

John Espinosa, political science senior, is one of 20 students selected for the nationally competitive fall 2017 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Congressional Internship Program in the District of Columbia.

Espinosa is the third Bobcat to participate in the CHCI Congressional Internship Program, making previous participants proud.

“Together we can make a difference because we are stronger together,” said Javier Carmona, Texas State alumnus and spring 2010 intern. “Knowing that John was accepted to the program made me feel proud, proud to know that Texas State was sending another Bobcat to the Hill.”

This 12-week program is specifically designed to promote the presence of Latinos in government sectors. CHCI operates under four pillars of leadership: civic engagement, social responsibility, self-empowerment and promoting community and Hispanic culture.

Interns have the opportunity to work with a member of Congress from their home state and perform tasks such as writing policy briefs, conducting legislative research and attending congressional hearings. Additionally, interns will engage in a policy class on Fridays, complete community service on the weekends and attend various networking events including a gala throughout the program.

Espinosa took the fall semester off to focus on working on Capitol Hill.

“I hope to go to a joint law school and graduate school to obtain my J.D. and Masters in Public Policy,” Espinosa said. “Ultimately, I would like to run for office one day.”

Espinosa said President John F. Kennedy’s call to civic action inspired him to become involved in his country and his government. Espinosa’s passions in the realm of government include international relations, immigration and civil rights.

The political science department sent Espinosa an email highlighting the internship program his freshman year. Initially, he dismissed it due to its highly competitive nature. It wasn’t until he progressed through his college career when Espinosa seriously considered the opportunity.

Jennifer Devine, associate professor of geography, described Espinosa’s motivation to intern with CHCI as admirable. Together they strategized how to prepare for his internship candidacy a year in advance by thinking about what to get involved in at Texas State and in the larger community.

Between their political geography class together in spring 2016, Espinosa involved himself in the Model OAS, served as a PACE peer mentor, interned at the Texas Civil Rights Project, engaged in Jolt Texas and served as a gallery attendant at the LBJ library and museum. Through these mediums, Espinosa was able to assist his communities in self-empowerment, voter registration and rights and Latino advocacy.

“John is one of the most serious students I have ever worked with,” Devine said.  “He is 100 percent passionate about politics and about his future career. His sense of purpose is what motivates him.”

After being denied an internship with another prestigious program nearly a year ago, Espinosa said he felt lost and defeated. Rather than letting the bad news get the best of him, Espinosa worked to get more involved to strengthen his resume. His hard work paid off and he said he is now even more grateful for this internship opportunity.

“It taught me not to be comfortable in your current position and to always try a little bit harder the next time,” Espinosa said. “Never give up and always keep trying.”

Espinosa is thankful for the sacrifices his family has made and the lessons they taught him so he could be here today. He hopes to pay this gift back to them and to his community.

“I think that is one of the greatest things a person can do for someone to mold them into who they are supposed to be,” Espinosa said.

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Student chosen to work for congress in Latino leadership program