December 1, 2023
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities honored two congressional staff members, in appreciation for their exceptional dedication to supporting HACU's mission to Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education. The honorees were recognized at the Winter Hispanic-Serving Institutions Celebration on December 1, 2023, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. Approximately 100 guests attended the event that highlighted Hispanic educational achievements.
Lena Rodriguez, Ph.D., senior vice president for policy and government relations gave the opening remarks and presented the awards.
The Outstanding Congressional Staffer Award (Senate) was presented to Adrienne Epstein from Senator Alex Padilla’s office. Senator Padilla’s office has been instrumental in efforts to increase federal investments for Hispanic-Serving Institutions and the students they serve.
The Outstanding Congressional Staffer Award (House of Representatives) was presented to Eyole Mbongo from Congressman Joaquin Castro’s office. Congressman Castro’s office has been instrumental in the effort on the passage of the HERE Act.
The reception was also an opportunity to recognize the achievements of the HACU National Internship Program. Since the program’s inception in 1992, HACU has partnered with federal agencies to offer paid internships to college students nationwide. Juvenal Zarate, a current HNIP intern, spoke about his internship at USAID and the impact it has had on gaining career experience. The HACU National Internship Program celebrated 680 internship placements, setting a record number of internships for this year.