SOLES Internship: The National Hispanic Institute

A blog post from SOLES MA in Leadership Studies Ambassador, Andrea Madeleine Medina:
This summer, I had the opportunity to connect two huge passions of mine: SOLES and The National Hispanic Institute. The National Hispanic Institute, more concisely referred to as NHI, hosts a series of 15 intensive summer leadership programs for high school students at colleges and universities both nationally and internationally. I have been involved with NHI for almost ten years now, beginning my journey as a freshman in high school back in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. It just so happens that one of NHI’s annual summer programs is hosted right here at the University of San Diego, and it made perfect sense that I would conduct my SOLES Internship with an organization that has played such a huge role in getting me to where I am today. In fact, I first found out about the SOLES Leadership Studies program at an NHI College Fair in the first place. Full circle, am I right?
Anyway, I am going into my second year as an MA in Leadership Studies student here at USD, and really sought out this experience to deepen my learning with NHI in a new, more theoretical and academic capacity. Since I am focusing on youth leadership development and public speaking coaching as key areas of interest for my graduate studies, I was thrilled to have the chance to make connections between NHI pedagogy and the modern leadership theories I have been learning about in my program. To break it down, my summer internship (June-August 2017) consisted of three main components: academic writing, staffing the 2017 California Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session as an Assistant Educational Director and Senior Counselor, and serving as an NHI at San Diego region organizer.
On top of getting to know and work with over 120 brilliant students from all over the United States and Mexico, I also got to thoroughly unpack the learning, dynamics, and systems at play throughout the course of the nine-day program. In addition, getting to serve as a regional organizer has been a such re-energizing experience, working alongside local students to envision a direction and strategize a plan to build a community of strong, smart, and invested young people in the greater San Diego area. Providing spaces for students to visualize their futures, develop innovative ideas, inquire deeply, and discover who they really are and what they truly believe in is vital in a world where young people are constantly told what to think and how to act. NHI cultivates these environments where students are able to harness their imaginations freely, collaborate with peers from all backgrounds and walks of life, confront technical and adaptive challenges, and create their own realities.
I feel so lucky to be a part of an organization whose sole mission is to inspire young people to challenge themselves and reach their fullest potential. I look forward to taking my work and learning beyond my internship experience, continuing to serve as a regional organizer, and finding opportunities to further make connections between the work of SOLES and NHI.

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