Angelita Mora Castellanos
Political Science and Chicano Studies
- Interned at: CARECEN Central American Resource Center
- Participated: Winter 2020
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelitamora/
Tell us about your internship – what kind of work did you do? What did you find rewarding?
During my time in D.C, I held the position of Legal Intern in the legal department of CARECEN. I chose to work in a non-profit grassroots organization over congressional internships I was offered and I never looked back. I was able to become familiar with legal documents from our clients' country of origin, building my knowledge in relevant laws and procedures; as well as my ability to code-switch between English and Spanish. I became very familiar with the processes for various paths towards citizenship. My favorite part was being able to meet clients during in-person screening processes and during workshops. Working with folks who look like my family and remind me of the reasons I wasn't to pursue law. Speaking with and helping folks who need help the most, and being able to walk people through every step of this intimate process, was a privilege.
Have your career or life goals changed as a result of your internship? If so, how?
My career and life goals have always been to help the migrant and the undocumented person. Coming from the most disenfranchised, forgotten, and rural communities in the Central Valley, my entire life I have been surrounded by undocumented people and by the most hardworking type of folk. I have firsthand experienced the suffering within my community, and wish to pursue a life in law and politics to bring light to my community. This job connected my ability and my passions as one in the same, convincing me that what I have always dreamed of doing is possible -- and more fulfilling than I ever imagined.
Share an exciting memory from your internship – something unexpected, an accomplishment, someone you met.
I was able to accompany the director of the program, Abel Nunez, to a panel he would be participating in at Georgetown. The director of the center is the type of person I admire and wish to be like in the future. Seeing him in such a beautiful setting, speaking on the issues that relate to my community and myself, was a surreal experience.
Did your internship lead to any opportunities?
Yes, the experience I gained during my time in CARECEN has opened a lot of doors for me in community outreach as well as in immigration law.
Share a story about something special you did in Washington – an event you attended, a place you went, an exciting talk, etc.
Participating in various forms of free speech in the nation's capital are experiences I will always remember.
How has living in the nation’s capital for a quarter changed you?
It has made me much more aware of the nature of the work I wish to do. I also have a better understanding of the challenges I will face as a woman of color who wishes to bring about change in the world of higher education and politics.
Do you have any advice for future UCDC students?
The experience is more than expected in every aspect. Choosing the right internship is so important and tiring at the same time. Maintaining your own internal motivation and self-determination is a key to success.