Student Involvement

The following, and most extensive list includes the names of the many student interns and volunteers, who have participated in and contributed to our Language Access initiatives. In many ways, their voices and creativity are reflected in these pages through planning and painting of the mural, piecing together the documentary, writing personal essays, conducting research, and doing video interviews behind and in front of the camera. We are incredibly thankful to the countless passionate individuals who have contributed to this blog and its contents.

Fatima AriasFatima Arias Fatima Arias was born in El Salvador. She came to the U.S. at the age of 8. Her favorite colors are pink, blue and green. Her favorite books to read are manga and fantasy books. She is currently in McKinley Technology High School. She is working as a summer intern with Hola Cultura.

madisonMadison Asher Madison Asher has recently received a Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation from American University. Previously, she studied Latin American Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. Within a few weeks of living in DC, she found herself working at the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs in the Language Access and Advocacy Department. It was an unparalleled experience that opened her eyes to the many ways that language lovers could contribute to the betterment of a community. The more she researched language access, the more passionate she grew for improving her translation and interpretation skills so she can help people communicate when they are not comfortable doing so. Beyond that, language access means recognizing a group of individuals not as transient visitors but as the very fabric of the permanent population.

claudiaClaudia Berrios Claudia Berrios was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the US at the age of 10. She attends Capital Public Charter School and is starting her senior year in the fall. She worked as a summer intern at the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs. Ms. Berrios has had the opportunity to learn about Language Access, a program that has facilitated her own language learning. She advocates for language rights and aspires to educate the Latino Community about the program.

christopherChristopher Castro-Lopez My name is Christopher Castro-Lopez. I am 14-years old and I am going to be a freshman at Bell High School. I am trying to pursue my dream of being a professional soccer player and to go to college to study engineering. I care about Language Access because it helps my family that does not know English get information in Spanish or any other language they know.

SeleneSelene Ceja Selene Ceja is a promising senior at Georgetown University pursuing a dual degree in Government and English. She co-coordinated students in the Summer Youth Program at the Office on Latino Affairs during the summer of 2012. She is originally from Los Angeles, California, a first generation college student. Ms. Ceja’s parents are immigrants from Mexico. She believes language access provides an opportunity for people who do not speak English to take part in their government, contribute to community well-being and promote diversity through the cultural expression of language.

Tyler CloydTyler Cloyd Tyler Cloyd attends the Holton-Arms School and will be graduating in 2014. After studying Spanish extensively in school, she began volunteering at the Office on Latino Affairs. She is interested in pursuing a semester abroad when she goes to college. She believes that Language Access is important because it gives an equal opportunity to non- English speakers.

MerlynMerlyn Flores The name is Merlyn Flores and at this very moment I have been through a 19-year old journey of the legacy. Currently, I attend George Mason University while I pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. I love exploring and by the time I complete my jammy of life, I’ll make sure I’ll leave my footprints behind. Language Access is important because it gives Latinos (like my mother) a right to receive information in their own language. Language is a right.

ismeniaIsmenia Garcia Ismenia Garcia was born in Washington, DC to parents of Dominican and Nicaraguan descent. As a native of Washington, DC she has been exposed to the multiculturalism of the city that has influenced her to become engaged in language access. She attends Bell Multicultural High School where she is a rising senior. Due to her excellent qualifications and embedded interest, Ms. Garcia was selected to work at the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs as a Student Intern. During her time at OLA, she has learned about the Language Access Law and works towards raising awareness in the Latino Community, an issue close to her heart.

GeraldineGeraldine Govea Hi my name is Geraldine Govea and I was a summer intern at the Office on Latino Affairs. I graduated from George Mason University with a degree in International Relations with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in Spanish. I was born in Washington, DC but reside in Virginia and my ethnicity is Peruvian. To me Language Access means the opportunity to receive public services in your native language. As a second generation American I have lived and witnessed the difficulties of not having information in your language. Thankfully the implementation of the Language Access Act in DC, the minority community can benefit from the services that government offices offer.

BrandieBrandie Grant My name is Brandie Grant.  I am a senior at Howard University from Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up I have always been exposed to several different cultures and had a curiosity in understanding them with a wide respect for diversity. As a current student studying international business with a concentration on Latin American countries I have hopes of one day being a liaison and business leader of companies merging to the U.S from Latin American countries and vice versa.Language Access is important to me because I believe that it paves the way in uniting groups due to their differences rather than discriminating.

karenKaren Gutiérrez My name is Karen Gutiérrez, I am from Mexico. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration and I am currently working at the Finance and Administration Ministry of Hidalgo’s State Government. My experience as an OLA intern was very fulfilling. Before collaborating with the Language Access and Advocacy Program, I hadn’t realized the importance of giving the government services to the people in their own language. The great work DC government is doing to comply with the Language Access Act is remarkable.

Alice HerreraAlice Herrera Hello, my name is Alice Herrera and I am 14 years old. Next year, I’m going to be attending Woodrow Wilson where I am going to be a freshman. I like helping the community a lot. I think Language Access is important because it helps the community to receive information in their language and a lot of people don’t know this but Language Access helps people to be aware of this.

Jose JimenezJose Jimenez Jose Jimenez was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 13. Jose is currently a senior in Bell Multicultural High School. Jose’s favorite sport is soccer where he has won championships with Bell Multicultural High School. Jose cares about Language Access because it is important as it gives Latinos a right to receive information in their own language.

AjaiAjai Johnson My name is Ajai Johnson. I am 16 years old and I attended the Washington Metropolitan High School. I like to dance and I love to dress. Fashion is one of my best things that describe me. I think Language Access is important because it’s important for people to get knowledge in both languages. Working with OLA has taught me a lot and was a great experience.

KimberlyKimberly Lopez Hello my name is Kimberly Lopez. I’m 17 years old and I’m currently a senior at Columbia Heights Educational Campus. I was born in Washington DC. I’m half Salvadorian and Guatemalan. I’m determined and a caring person who is pursuing happiness in being a successful person and love to help the community. Language Access is a way to help out my family and others to bring the community together.

marleneMarlene Morrison Marlene Morrison was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada at the age of 9. She is entering her last year at the University of Saskatchewan and aims to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a concentration in Development in the spring of 2013. During her time at the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, she has had the privilege of working with individuals whose passion for advocacy and Language Access for the Latino community in Washington, DC has inspired her to learn more about the initiative.

Vanessa Moyonero2Vanessa Moyonero Vanessa Moyonero was born to Peruvian parents and resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland, when she is not in school.  She is currently a Junior at American University, majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Education and Psychology. At AU, she is Co-Chair of CLASE (Community Learners Advancing in Spanish and English), an organization that helps housekeeping employees learn English and prepare for the U.S. Naturalization Exam, therefore she loves the work the Language Access team has done to ensure the community receives equal rights. Vanessa has contributed to the Language Is A Right campaign in the Summer of 2013 as part of her internship with Outreach and she looks forward to continue interning for the rest of the year.

MarinaMarina Nuñez-Ramirez My name is Marina Nuñez-Ramirez, I was born and raised in DC. My parents are originally from El Salvador. I am the youngest of 4 kids and will be the first to graduate in my family. I attend Bell Multicultural high school also known as Columbia Heights Education campus. I was a summer intern at The Office on Latino Affairs. To me, Language Access provides Hispanics and other specific minorities the help they need in their language. I hope to use the information I know about Language Access in my everyday life and inform others of it.

MariaMaria A Olivos My name is Maria A Olivos, I’m 17 years old and a senior at Duke Ellington School of Arts. I major in Technical Design and Production and focus in Sound Engineering. I love to travel and work in my school’s recording studio. Language Access to me personally is very important because it gives information in your language. Ever since I was little I would have to translate for a family member and now they can go get that necessary information without my help.

Jose PosadaJose Posada Jr. My name is Jose Posada Jr. and I was an intern at OLA. Language Access is an essential program for limited non-English speakers. As a 1st generation US Citizen of naturalized immigrants I witnessed my parents’ embarrassment as they struggled to understand important documents. Language Access gives families with limited/non English speakers the peace of mind that important documents will be in their native tongue or have certified interpretation available to address any issues.

Tito RodriguezEdizioni “Tito” Rodriguez Mi nombre es Tito. Yo vivo en Washington, DC ahora pero yo nací en República Dominicana. Yo tengo 21 años y me comunico por signa. Me gusta ir al gimnasio y jugar baloncesto.

Gustavo RomanaGustavo Andres Romaña Leon Gustavo Andres Romana Leon is 16 years old and this summer he is working with Hola Cultura. When he was 14 years old he gave the idea to LAYC to create the program, “Peace Advocates” and his biggest dream is to become President of Columbia and be the best lawyer in the world.

Stephanie SalinasStephanie Salinas My name is Stephanie Salinas, I’m fourteen years old. This upcoming year, I’m going to be a freshman at Wilson. My family is from El Salvador but I was born in the District of Columbia. Being able to work at OLA this summer, I’ve been able to learn more about what Language Access does. In my opinion, Language Access is important because it gives the opportunity to people that don’t speak English to receive information in their language. I think it is a good thing we have a department that worries about other people’s needs and helps them when they are not given the information in their language.

Jose SalmeronJose Salmeron My name is José Salmerón. I’m 17 years old and I’m from El Salvador. I just graduated from Columbia Heights Educational Campus and now I’m working with the Office on Latino Affairs as an intern for the summer. The Office on Latino Affairs is a cool summer job because you learn about what is happening around our community and we can help Latinos to inform them about problems in DC. Also, we are working on a project called, “Language Access.” This is an important project because my parents don’t know English and they need help getting information in their language, so this project is really helpful because now they can get information in their language, and if not, they can complain to the Office on Human Rights.

JoshuaJoshua Sims My name is Joshua and I am 14 about to be 15 and I go to School Without Walls. Some things that are important are family, sports and education. I was a volunteer here at OLA and all week we informed the community about the Language Access Law.

Gabrielle SpencerGabrielle Spencer Gabrielle Spencer was born in Washington, DC. She recently graduated from School Without Walls. She worked as a summer intern at the Office on Latino Affairs. She thinks Language Access is important as it allows people to get information even if they don’t speak English.

Daniel TrejoDaniel Trejo I am originally from Mexico and have been in the US for the last four years.  My migration experience has made me very much aware of issues affecting many underserved populations in the city.  My interests in recent years have been focused on issues of LBGT rights and Language Access rights in the District of Columbia.  I have been a passionate advocate to make sure that policy-makers are well informed of the actual needs of these underserved populations, which may impact their decision making.  Also, I love to spend time with my family and friends and people who love me.