Yanet Velazquez of Gainesville, Georgia wants to become a leader in the Latino community.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute selected Yanet Velazquez for its internship program on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Pursuing a degree in International Affairs with an emphasis on Latin America, she plans to graduate in 2017, then "help the Latin community leaders make a difference," a desire that started when she met David Araya and Angela Hurtado, co-founders of the Hispanic Organization Promoting Education.
"I met them towards the end of my sophomore year in high school," Velazquez says. "I think they were mostly responsible for me wanting to become involved and wanting to make a difference in the Latino community. They taught me that a leader doesn't necessarily have to always be the most forward person, and that a leader just has to be passionate, understanding, and willing to stand up for what they believe in. They've taught me endless leadership and communication skills and other things I don’t necessarily get to learn in a classroom setting, and now, I can definitely see myself having a career in politics."
Originally, Velazquez planned to finish her associate degree at UNG and then transfer out, but she stayed because she "truly fell in love with the campus and its atmosphere."
"I enjoyed the professors and how small the classes were, and how I could talk to my professors with the knowledge that they knew who I was," Velazquez says. "The people there are an added bonus, as I met some amazing people in the classroom, in offices and all around campus. I'm sure I’ll consider those I have met as friends for the rest of my life."
Velazquez was also the chief information officer for the Latino Student Association in 2015, and has served more recently as the president. She also was treasurer of the International Student Association and is a new student orientation leader.