Being a part of the Karel Fellowship was a life changing experience. I had the opportunity to join the GreenLatinos team as the Communications Coordinator. GreenLatinos is a network of environmental and conservation advocates spread across the country which come together in a coalition to work on issues affecting the Latino community.
On my first day of work, I was excited to attend a briefing on Capitol Hill and live tweet for the first time. The reason I remember this day so vividly is because I had the opportunity to see Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez in person. He has been an advocate who has fought for families like mines and has served as a voice for the Latino community. Witnessing this strong advocate on my first day of work was a true life changing experience. A Karel moment.
Experiencing Karel moments did not stop there. Attending the National Convention for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) gave me the opportunity to meet Latino leaders who shared their advice with me. I learned that through
education I could aspire to become like them. I felt empowered being in room with thousands of Latino professionals.
The biggest takeaway from this summer experience for me was the people and their stories. I had many impactful conversations with Chris and Mark, my mentors at GreenLatinos, and those were opportunities for growth. During the Washington Nationals baseball game I was asked “What do you want to be an expert in one day?” This question really made me think. This experience helped me voice my interest in educational policy. How one day I want to help create a system so people like us, minority and first generation students, do not fall through the cracks.
We, Karel Fellows, had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the power of storytelling. Our unique set of experiences allowed us to expand our vision and feel more passionate about driving social change. It has been a combination of hard work and meeting those individuals who believed in us.