Yanet Velazquez, a junior at the University of North Georgia (UNG) majoring in international affairs, has been selected to take part in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's (CHCI) internship program on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
During CHCI's paid semester internships, promising Latino undergraduate students experience life working in a congressional office while participating in professional and leadership development and civic engagement through community service.
"I am so blessed to have been selected to receive this opportunity that gives me a chance to get more involved in the Latin community, as well as helping Latin community leaders make a difference," Velazquez said. "I can definitely see myself having a career in politics."
Velazquez is interning this spring in Congressman Hank Johnson's office. Johnson's district includes DeKalb County and parts of Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties. He has been in office since 2007 and serves on the Committee of Armed Services and the Committee on the Judiciary.
The internship lasts a full semester and each candidate spends Monday through Thursday working on Capitol Hill. On Fridays, Velazquez joins other cohorts for a full day of leadership development centered on CHCI's four pillars of leadership — civic engagement, social responsibility, self-empowerment, and promoting community and Hispanic culture.
"During these weekly sessions, I participate in discussions of issues facing the Latino community that help me explore topics that face emerging leaders while building strong relationships that I can draw on throughout my career," she said.
Velazquez, a native of Gainesville, Georgia, and the daughter of Mexican-born parents, was the chief information officer for UNG's Latino Student Association (LSA) last year and treasurer of the International Student Association. This year she serves as the president of the LSA and was recently selected as a new student orientation leader.
"Yanet is an outstanding student leader, worker and an overall great person," said Dr. Cara Ray, associate vice president and dean of students. "I know she is representing both her family and UNG well on Capitol Hill."
CHCI internship candidates are selected based on demonstrated leadership experience, commitment to advancing the Latino community, quality of writing, letter of recommendation and resume.