This fall, UT Arlington senior Ramon Hernandez has a second chance to pursue his first love.
In August, Hernandez – a double major in political science and criminology and criminal justice – will begin an internship in the office of U.S Congressman Mark Veasey (D-TX, 33rd District) in Washington, D.C. The fall assignment is part of a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) fellowship.
Hernandez, an Arlington resident and native of Mexico, is eager to gain experience in public policy work and applied last year to be an Archer Fellow. When he was named an alternate for the 2015-2016 program, he began to doubt his dream of working in politics.
“I was disappointed,” he said. “I felt like I could be there and do something.”
At a Pre-Law Center banquet this spring, a fellow student approached Hernandez and told him about the CHCI program. Hernandez immediately went home and filled out the online application. He was informed in July of his selection for the fellowship.
“We are incredibly proud of Ramon and the work that he has done to get this far,” said Amber White, director of the Pre-Law Center. “I am eager to see what great and exciting endeavors are to come from this remarkable young man.”
Professor Kent Kerley, chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, shared in the excitement for Hernandez.
“I am excited to work in a university environment that is supportive of students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds,” he said, “and excited in particular for Ramon’s new opportunity as a CHCI fellow.”
Hernandez, who plans to enter law school in 2016 following UTA’s spring commencement, is committed to the CHCI’s mission and hopes to develop his own leadership skills as he gains experience working with various constituents.
“The CHCI mission is to see people getting involved in local, state and federal politics,” he said. “They want to connect people with things that should be happening.”
Hernandez, who moved to the U.S. to finish high school at age 15, said he hopes the experience will prepare him for a possible political career.
“While I understand the demographics of our district and my support of bilingual and background will help me connect with people and help them understand the issues,” he said, “I don’t want to be seen as someone who just wants to work for Hispanics. The mission for the interns is also to learn how to represent all people groups.”