Lehman Student Lands Prestigious Capitol Hill Internship Through Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

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Genesis Vargas Crop

This spring, Lehman junior Genesis Vargas will be getting an up-close look at the halls of power and rubbing elbows with the nation’s lawmakers: She’s one of 17 students from across the country to be selected for a prestigious Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) internship.

Founded in the 1970s by Congressional Hispanic Caucus members, the CHCI cultivates emerging Latinx leaders by offering students and young professionals public service and policy experiences. Under its 12-week spring internship program, which runs from late January to April, interns work in the office of a congress member, meet Latinx leaders from a range of fields, and network with their peers. They also participate in individual and group service projects. (To apply for summer and fall CHCI internships, click here.)

Vargas, a double major in political science and philosophy, is one of three CUNY students to serve as a spring ’22 intern. After moving from her apartment in Spanish Harlem to Washington D.C. last month, she was assigned to the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Adriano Espaillat, whose district (NY-13) includes parts of the Bronx and upper Manhattan, including Lehman College. And, with Lehman alumna Aneiry Batista as Rep. Espaillat’s chief of staff, Vargas has a visible reminder of just how far a Lehman education can take you.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity and that I can bring the voices of those who are most vulnerable in our community with me,” Vargas said. “Vice President Kamala Harris shared this great quote from her mother that stuck with me: ‘Don't just sit around and complain about things—do something.’ I want to have an impact.”

The internship is a logical next step for Vargas, who has her sights set on law school and a career in public service. She’s excited that the congressional internship will grant her some real-world knowledge of government and policymaking. 

To that end, she’s already been working on a plan she hopes to pitch to Espaillat’s team that she said would make financial literacy and job readiness programs more accessible for low-income students. “I want to find ways to help close the wealth gap and advance economic and educational justice,” she said.

Julie Maybee, chair of Lehman’s Department of Philosophy and Vargas’s adviser, said she could see why the CHCI chose her for their program—and why she’ll thrive there.

“Genesis is a terrific student and a real go-getter,” she said. “I have no doubt that she will take advantage of all the opportunities that the internship will provide—opportunities that will enhance both her education at Lehman and her future career.”