By Nathalie Garcia ‘23
This summer, our students enjoyed a return to in-person programming through the Cross Cultural Leadership Program following a two-year pandemic hiatus.
CCLP is an eight-week internship experience paired with a three-credit class component. Students approved through the application process rank their preferred sites and organizations; once in the program, they are granted a $1,600 stipend to cover the cost of living. ILS provides housing and a $3,000 award.
Consistent with past years, we had sites in Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles where students lived together during their eight weeks. In addition to our major sites, this summer we had students in New York City; Las Vegas; Fresno; El Paso; and Puerto Rico, as well as students working virtually.
Internships spanned disciplines from tech to medicine to arts to politics and law. Partner organizations included Univision, the Coalition for Spiritual Public Leadership, Unidos US, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, just to name a few.
In their final presentations reflecting on their internships, our students emphasized how the time they spent with one another was an especially rewarding aspect of their summer experiences. Grace Hsu, a rising junior majoring in Preprofessional Studies on the pre-med track, is also minoring in Latino Studies. She participated in CCLP Chicago this summer, spending her 8 weeks working at Alivio Medical Center and living in the Back of the Yards neighborhood with other students.
“I learned a lot about Latino culture, formed strong bonds, and had meaningful conversations," she said. "It led me to be dedicated to serving the community as a physician.”
Joseph Trinidad, a Biology major and rising junior, interned at the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C. There, he conducted STD and pregnancy testing, distributed food at a pantry, and created educational materials for young adults about health and wellness.
His experience was valuable in reaffirming his commitment to service in healthcare, Joseph said.
“I would like to use my internship as a means to start being a part of the solution, rather than the problem in our society, and, in turn, lead future generations into doing the same thing."
Aidee Barajas, a rising senior majoring in American Studies and Sociology, also has a minor in Latino Studies. Her CCLP internship this summer was at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles, also known as MALDEF.
She spoke of her gratitude for having been able to work at a site so in line with her law school aspirations.
“This CCLP summer has been an amazing opportunity for me to understand the different sides of public interest law and solidify what I want to do in the coming years.”
Much like her peers in the Chicago group, she stressed the role interpersonal relationships played in her positive experience.
“I was able to meet so many fantastic people who trusted me with their stories and gave me their support as I prepare to go to Law School.”
With another successful year of CCLP behind us, we look forward to furthering our relationship with Latino-serving organizations across the nation, all the while advancing the ambitions of the Latino leaders here on our campus.