The CHLI Spring 2015 Global Leaders Interns and Fellows
CHLI Global Leaders Fellow
Hometown: Ontario, California
University: University of California, Santa Barbara
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Class of 2014
Congressional Internship: Congressman Mario
Corporate Internship: Baxter Healthcare
by Victoria M. Peris
Selene Lopez is from Ontario, California. Born to parents of Mexican descent, she was the first in her family to attend college. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minors in Labor Studies and Spanish. Selene's self-encouragement led her to get involved in several organizations on campus. Most of this involvement was through her sorority, Lambda Sigma Gamma, the first and largest multicultural sorority on the west coast. She held several leadership positions including, president, treasurer and commissioner of philanthropy. Selene was awarded Commissioner of Philanthropy of the year in 2013 for her work as community service chair. Ultimately, being a part of this group of women has led to great personal and professional growth. As part of her educational experience, Selene studied abroad in Australia and learned about politics, experienced the country and made friends for a lifetime.
As a CHLI Global Leaders fellow, Selene interned in the office of Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25). The Global Leaders program was a perfect fit for Selene because she has always been fascinated by politics and found it exhilarating working hand in hand in a U.S. Representative's office. She said, "I am fortunate to have stumbled upon this program."
It has provided her the chance to follow her passion for government and the public sector. Ms. Lopez hopes this opportunity will strengthen her skills as a professional and better ascertain her passions and goals for future careers.
Coming to Washington, D.C. is her first visit to the east coast and she is embracing every moment. After CHLI, Selene hopes to find a position in the public policy or non-profit sectors. In the future, Selene aspires to attend law school and is planning on spending the next couple of years gathering the necessary experience to prepare for a law program. Her future plans include working for a government entity and eventually running for the U.S. Senate to give back to her home state and community at large.
Matthew Vaughn Paulino was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on a naval base. Matt had to relocate multiple times throughout his childhood. Growing up the only thing that stayed constant was his family in New York and the many vacations to the Bronx. It was not until 2nd grade that he was able to set roots in the state of Virginia. Despite the relocation to many states, Matt considers Sterling, Virginia, his hometown.
Mr. Paulino attended a seminar at George Mason University where they instructed him to go on Google if he wanted to find an internship. Just a few clicks later, he applied to the CHLI Global Leaders program. He proudly stated, "I applied to CHLI because of my grandparents and my ethnicity. Over the many summers I lived with my grandparents at their home in New York, I noticed how tight knit the Hispanic community was. I noticed how we all took care of one another through small gestures like giving someone a bigger Yucca root or a cup of coffee every morning, which my abuela did. I took that all to heart. We as a community look out for one another or try and help each other out."
Currently Matthew is in Washington D.C. interning for the corporate office of Heineken. He is working towards his bachelor's degree at George Mason University in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance. He plans on graduating this upcoming fall. This internship will allow Matthew to expand his professional skills for a future career in the federal government. He aspires to become a member of Congress.
Matthew is passionate about food. He enjoys trying new dishes and exploring food from other countries. Matthew's Latino roots are important to him. His favorite food is Dominican food and he loves his grandmother's platanos maduros. Matthew enjoys baseball and considers baseball the best sport; football is very close to second.
Alexandra Perez-Brasa was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When she was seven years old her family decided to move to Saint Augustine, Florida. The courageous move, proved difficult for Alexandra and her parents. The language barrier was a lot to overcome. But, with the help of a tutor, by third grade Alexandra's English was advanced. She said, "Thanks to her, I was ahead of the game." Soon after, Alexandra's family decided to move to Crescent City, a small town in Florida, where she would learn how life on a farm functioned. This experience helped Alexandra grow and her parents decision to move to a farm is something she will forever cherish.
When Alexandra was 14 years old, she suffered burns to 42 percent of her body. This experience helped her become the person she is today, "it made me want to help people," she said. During high school, Alexandra volunteered with the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) program, helping out at a nursing home four times a week. After graduation, Alexandra went off to Daytona State College in the hopes of becoming a doctor and saving lives. She realized that changing the world and saving lives wasn't limited to just doctors and changed her major to psychology. Now at Troy University she majors in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Political Science.
In the future, Ms. Perez-Brasa plans to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder and get a JD degree while simultaneously earning her master's degree. She wants to change the world and change the lives of people for the better. She has a passion for foreign affairs, intelligence, and civil rights. As a Latina living in a rural area of central Florida she has had to deal with her fair share of issues. "My parents dealt with everything from racism including being denied legal help. Due to my accident and having to travel almost every day to Gainesville my dad lost his job. We were poor but that never stopped us. My dad always has these crazy yet genius business ideas and that's what has kept us afloat for most of my life. Once my little brother and I could work however, we became a source of income which was hard but helped us mature quicker." Alexandra's life experiences have made her stronger and are what keep her motivated to reach her goals and in the long run change the lives of many.
CHLI Communications Fellow
Victoria M. Peris
Hometown: Miami, FL
University: Florida International University
Major: Bachelor of Science in Public Relations,
Class of 2014
Internship:Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI)
by Selene Lopez
Victoria Peris is the current Communications Fellow for the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute and assists in promoting CHLI to all external sources including media. Victoria was born and raised in Miami, Florida and attended Florida International University where she graduated in 2014 with a bachelor's in Public Relations. She knew that she always wanted to be in the communications sector due to prior internship work with blogs and social media sites. However, as graduation approached she was unsure of what was next in life. The day of her final presentation, this fellowship opportunity peaked her interest and felt encouraged to apply. Victoria never thought she would leave Miami, but felt that this was an experience of a lifetime and was meant to be.
Thus far, Victoria says that moving to DC has been the biggest challenge. As someone who is family oriented and of Cuban descent, leaving her home was an experience of its own. "One of my greatest challenges in the beginning was moving to D.C. Yes, it's only temporary, but I had never left home. I had never been completely on my own." Nevertheless, she sees this as a growing experience in all aspects of her life and work. Through this fellowship she hopes to learn about how organizations and the federal government function simultaneously through the lens of communications. Victoria is gaining experience in all forms of media. She has written press releases and messages for social media and has increased her confidence in a field that she is passionate about.
After CHLI, Victoria hopes to find a position that will make her happy and obtain her masters degree. Obtaining her B.A. and being able to participate as a fellow, while living in D.C. has resulted in accomplishments that she is most proud of. With a replenished feeling of empowerment, Victoria is now more excited than ever of what her future holds.
Thank you to our internship sponsors:
CHLI Annual Leadership & Awards Gala
CHLI hosted its 11th Annual Gala & Leadership Awards on May 13, 2015. The evening's honorees were: Senator, former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe Velez, former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, and Florida International University.
CHLI is grateful to the gala's sponsors: Comcast | NBCUniversal | Telemundo, Altria Client Services, Verizon, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, and The Coca Cola Company.
CHLI Congressional Briefing: How Personal is your Medicine?
The Congressional Briefing, March 18th, focused on the importance of diversity in clinical trials. Held during Women's History Month, the speakers were all extraordinary women, including: CHLI Founder and Board Member, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Moderator, Jocelyn Ulrich, Senior Director for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Brooks, Senior Director, Clinical Operations, Therapeutic Area Group Load, Pfizer; Dr. Jonca Bull, Office of Minority Health, Food and Drug Administration; Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President & CEO, Morehouse School of Medicine; and Dr. Elena Rios, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Assocation.
New Member of Congress Reception
New Member of Congress, Carlos Curbelo Fl -26
CHLI Chairman, former member of Congress, Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Congressman Henry Cuellar, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.
CHLI hosted its New Member of Congress Reception at Altria in Washington, D.C., on January 21. Members of Congress, CHLI Board of Directors, CHLI Corporate Advisory Council Members were joined by national Hispanic leaders, sponsors and friends to welcome the 114th U.S. Congress.