SPAA Internship Spotlight: Johan Mora Valverde – Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Name: Johan Mora Valverde
Degree Program: Bachelor of Arts
Major: Public and Nonprofit Administration
Expected Graduation Date: May 2023
Name of Organization: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, CHCI
Location of Internship: Washington, D.C.
Title: CHCI Intern
Responsibilities: As a CHCI intern, I was assigned to a Congressional office to gain first-hand knowledge of how the U.S legislative process worked. At my placement in the office of Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), my duties included but were not limited to drafting memos, conducting legislative research, data analysis, and attending congressional hearings. Off the Hill, I attended weekly sessions to participate in discussions surrounding issues that affect the Latino community centered around a graduate-level public policy course taught by the George Washington University Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute and Trachtenberg School of Public Policy.
Favorite Aspect of Internship: Walking in the halls where members of Congress were casually going about their day was unreal for someone who grew up in a working-class household, undocumented, and is now a DACA recipient. Every day, I not only interacted with Senators and Representatives but took part in history-in-the-making by attending and reporting on congressional hearings or press conferences. But nothing beats getting into an elevator, the cafeterias, or in line to buy a cup of coffee and a member who doesn't seem real in-person asks how you like your coffee to make conversation.
Career Goals: I am pursuing a career in a federal agency, but I am currently networking with civil servants to help me decide where my policy interests best align with select departments.
How did the Service-Learning Course help you navigate your internship responsibilities?
Professor Michael Dillard is an incredibly understanding professional investing in his students' success. His accommodating nature brings forth a welcoming class environment that guides, mentors, and teaches us how to navigate spaces that many of us, like myself, are the first in our families to experience.
What kind of skills did you learn during this internship?
I learned how to cultivate strong relationships that will help me throughout my career and bring my perspective to the table where lawmakers discuss decisions that directly influence the Latino communities.
Has the mentoring part of your internship been helpful in navigating your career goals?
Not necessarily, I connected and collected advice from professionals, but I am fortunate to have come to the caucus with excellent mentors.