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2022 Virtual Summer Internship Program Cohort

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Ashley Castaneda

TreePeople, Intern

South Gate, San Pedro High School

Ashley Castaneda

I like to think of myself as an ambitious person. I’m always learning new things to add to my skill set. I constantly push myself out of my comfort zone even if it can be difficult, because I know it'll help me grow. In Elementary School I used to get graded 2 out of 4 for my speaking skills, but this year I participated in a debate for my AP US History class and won! It is common for people to believe that only extroverts can be successful in politics, but I know that as an introvert I can do just as well as them if I put in the effort.

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Lakshmi Jimenez

Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage (GRACE), Intern

Los Angeles, STEM Academy of Hollywood

Lakshmi Jimenez

Coming from an immigrant family has not been easy, but it motivates me to do better in life. Knowing that my parents sacrificed so much for me to get a better education, I am determined to be successful.

Growing up in a low-income neighborhood, my family and I experienced many hardships. The hardships made me realize that I want a better future for my family, community, and myself. I have turned traumatic experiences into lessons. 


I am motivated to one day make an impact in my community by running for mayor, creating a non-profit, or running for president. I am the future generation of change-makers, and it is up to my generation to fight for social-political change and be the change.

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Vilma Hernandez

Office of Senator Josh Becker, Intern

Inglewood, Hawthorne High School

Vilma Hernandez

I’ve always been a natural leader because I gravitate towards helping everyone else reach their full potential. I worked incredibly hard to become President my upcoming senior year of high school, but it took a lot of dedication, late nights, and long days at school. With a lot of help of course, which is another good quality of mine… being able to work well with others. Working with a team means maintaining your calm and realizing that not everyone works the same way I do.


My experience in Boy Scouts was one of a kind. I was the first female to join, braking down the this barrier in my city. Being a scout is something that takes a lot of dedication and hard work, but it has allowed me to take in information and use it to make myself a better person.

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Francisco Madero

Democratic Office of Communications and Outreach, Intern

Northridge, Cleveland High School

Francisco Madero

I am the second person in my family to graduate from high school. I am the middle child. This means that I grew up seeing the struggle and the lack of resources that my older sister faced throughout her education - but she still managed to graduated from college. She has helped me a lot, especially with college applications and enrolling in classes. She looks out for me and makes sure that I take the opportunities that she was not able to take.

I graduated with high honors, nearly a valedictorian, and with a seal of bilaterally from the state. At first this accomplishment felt like nothing special, seeing as all my peers were graduating as well. It felt like something that everyone does. But then I realized that while we were all at the finish line, we all had different paths to get there, with different obstacles. This allowed me to appreciate that accomplishment and now this opportunity as well.

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Roger Mora

Office of Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Intern

Highland Park, STEM Academy of Hollywood

Roger Mora

Hello, I'm Roger Mora. I'm part of the CLCAF internship program. I've lived in Los Angeles my entire life and living in a low income part of LA with an abusive police force my family was discriminated against due to their color of skin. Growing up, me and my family faced hardship though we made it through thanks to our family bonds. Each hardship taught me a lesson and made me face reality. These lessons drove a passion to learn so that I can help support my family and community.

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Emilie Morales

Democratic Office of Communications and Outreach, Intern

Van Nuys, Van Nuys High School

Emilie Morales

My name is Emilie Morales. I’m 16 years old and live in Los Angeles. I’m an incoming senior at Van Nuys High School, where I’m an honor/AP student. Notable achievements of mine include being president of my school’s choir department and placing at the state level at the National History Day competition. Outside of school, I enjoy writing short stories of all genres, with my favorites being horror, slice of life, and LGBT romance, and building Lego sets, with my proudest set being the 2000+ piece NASA Discovery Space Shuttle. My short-term goals for the future are to attend a high-ranking university and find a fulfilling career.

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Irma Perez Garcia

Office Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Robert Hertzberg, Intern

Sierra College

Irma Perez Garcia

I am a firm believer that failure and challenges are more beneficial than accomplishments. One time I ran for the Vice President my junior year, but I didn’t really campaign and lost. However, my loss made me reflect on what I did wrong and what I could have done better. With that, I focused all my energy into studying AP Government and it turns out that I actually love it. Now I hope to make it my career. I'm excited for this opportunity to intern for a California State Senator, and get hands on expereince.

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Jesica Ramirez

Office of Senator Susan Rubio, Intern

Huntington Park, Huntington Park Senior High School

Jesica Ramirez

I’m Jesica Ramirez, from Los Angeles County where I attend Huntington Park Senior High as a rising senior. A few things about me are that I’m heavily involved in school and community. I participate in colorguard, which has allowed me to perform all over SoCal. I am also in charge of my school newspaper as Editor in Chief and Associated Student Body as ASB Secretary/Treasurer. I have been able to connect with people to opportunities by tapping into my trusted network. I have been able to plan different events and publish articles.

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Marco Peralta

California YIMBY, Intern

Wilmington, San Pedro High School

Marco Peralta

I am Marco Peralta and I attend San Pedro High school, I made my own club there because I felt like there weren’t really a lot of good club options at my campus so I created one that used board games to help students enhance their social capabilities. A personal accomplishment of mine is getting all A’s for every school year, and it's been a success so far, but a very close call for some years.


Sometimes life has been hard on me, but I understand that's how I learn. Through my struggles I take information from situations or events that I am in and work to find solutions.

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Natalia Perez Morales

Office of Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez-Reyes, Intern

Los Angeles, Venice High School

Natalia Perez Morales

My tenacity, resilience, ambition, and leadership skills fuel my activism. As an active member in the community, my advocacy is centered on immigration, education, criminal justice reform, and gender equality. In school, I am a member of MEChA club (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán), and Poetry club, where we practice storytelling to make social change. Outside of school, I am a Girl Up Teen Advisor for the 2022-2023 school year. Girl Up is a United Nations founded international organization that aims to achieve gender equality. I am also a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent's Student Advisory Council and a member of the Youth Liberty Squad of ACLU Southern California. I am a fellow in The Home Girl Project, a nonprofit organization that mentors girls of color to execute political projects, where I advocate for immigrant women who have experienced sexual and reproductive assault by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Overall, these experiences have influenced my desire to pursue a career in the legal field.

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Kelsey Wu

Office of Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Intern

Diamond Bar, Diamond Bar High School

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Odalys Zapata

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Intern

UC Riverside, Public Policy

Kelsey Wu

My name is Kelsey Wu and I am a rising senior attending Diamond Bar High School. I first became incredibly interested in public policy and legislation through becoming a youth advocate for mental health awareness and eating disorder prevention. Having survived from an eating disorder, I found politics intriguing in the fact that it was an avenue to start crafting a world in which young people will never have to feel uncomfortable in their skin. Legislation and policy have the power to shift the narrative of our world, and I am fascinated by that.


I have actively been engaged in creating bills and pieces of legislation. I have testified for the CA State Assembly and Senate to pass the "Out of Kids Hands" bill, in which I am the main youth organizer in California. I have spoken before national and international bodies such as the US Congress, White House policy staff, and the United Nations about all pieces of legislation that I believe could make a great change to our world.


In the future I hope to gain a degree in political science and government and possibly go into law school. I hope to someday run for office and faithfully represent my constituents to the best of my ability.

Odalys Zapata

I am passionate about advocating for others due to the circumstances I have been exposed to. I have felt unsafe in my own apartment due multiple thefts that have occurred in my building. My family alone has had their computers, clothes, and even our AC unit stolen from us. My father also had his company vehicle broken into and all the company tools stolen, which then caused his employer at the time to mistrust him and led to him losing his job. Not only have my family and I had to endure huge financial loss, but we have also had to witness crime. Many teens fight in the alley next to my building and do drugs since I live across the street from a local high school. These experiences have drawn me to envision a life of service to others. This is why I chose to pursue higher education in public policy. By studying in these fields, I will be able to understand how politics affect our everyday life, as well as have the chance to be directly involved in making policies that will benefit the public and improve the quality of life for all.

About the Program:

The California Latinx Capitol Association Foundation (CLCAF) hosts an annual Internship Program for high school students. Every year, a group of students have the opportunity to intern for an Assemblymember, State Senator, or an advocacy organization in Sacramento, CA. This year all internships were made virtual.

The CLCAF Internship Program strives to provide students, particularly from underserved communities, a chance to gain a meaningful professional experience in public service. CLCAF interns are trained, mentored, and supported by experienced Capitol staff. Program participants are also given professional and academic development workshops along with educational webinars.

At the conclusion of the internship, students will receive a scholarship and CLCAF hosts a ceremony for the students and their family to recognize their work and contributions.

Internship criteria include the following:

1. Student must be attending a high school,
2. Be available to intern 15 hours per week for the duration of the internship program,
3. Have an interest in public policy, government, or community service, and
4. Have good academic standing, with a minimum a 2.0 GPA.


If you have questions please contact Bri-Ann Hernandez at

Internship Dates:

  • Monday, July 18th, 2022 - Friday, August 19th, 2022

Application Deadline:


  • Friday, June 10th, 2022 by 5:00 PM

Admission Decision Notification:


  • Monday, July 1st, 2022


Award Ceremony:


  • Monday, August 22nd, 2022 at 7:00 PM

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