Empowerment and Representation through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

What would it feel like to walk into a room with everyone looking like you, identifying as your ethnicity, and comes from a similar upbringing?  

Talk to Adriana Hernandez Jimenez (Cohort 14), a second-year student at George Washington University, and she can tell you it was thrilling. “I’ve never been in a room with all Hispanic professionals. It was shocking! During the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Hispanic Heritage Month Conference, everyone that spoke was Hispanic or Latinx. Getting to see them in the positions they are in now really showed me the importance and impact of representation. It’s emotional. When you get into a space where everyone looks like you, it’s motivating and it’s uplifting,” said Hernandez.  

This was just one of many unbelievable experiences that Adriana had this fall participating as an intern in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Internship (CHCI) is a competitive internship program that provides leadership, public service, and policy experiences to outstanding Latino students and young professionals. “I worked closely with Steph Salazar, my career development coach and Milena Flores, my academic counselor on the application. I could not have done this without the team at Rainier Scholars. This was such a lengthy process and Milena and Steph were there the whole way,” said Adriana.  

During CHCI’s Leadership Conference and 46th Annual Awards Gala, Adriana’s highlights were meeting civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, actor Eugenio Derbez, First Lady Kamala Harris, and President Biden! “My roommates and I had to take a moment to debrief it. How was this real? How did we meet so many icons in a week?”

Like many internships, the chance to be deeply involved in a profession provides you with insight into possible careers.

While Adriana was initially drawn to this internship because it rests squarely within her interests of government and politics, the opportunity to learn more about the legislative processes has influenced her professional path forward. “You enter a whole different world. I am more conscious about the news. Seeing how the House of Representatives works is so interesting. It’s opened my eyes to different job opportunities. I know so much more. There are so many more government jobs out there than the big titles.”  

How did Adriana’s internship change the way she thinks about her career? “It showed me my path to becoming a lawyer may not be a straight line. It unveiled options, different ways to reach my goal, different possible positions that can utilize my expertise and passion. I’m very grateful to Rainier Scholars for helping me build my character and find my voice in preparation for opportunities like this,” said Hernandez. 

Learn more about how we support high school and college scholars engage in internships and how to host an intern at your company’s organization.