Some students really inject life into a class. Julio Costa did just that in the "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" class I taught last semester. So it wasn't surprising to me when I found out that he had been accepted into a very prestigious program designed to develop leadership in outstanding young Latinos. Here is some information about Julio and news about his experiences in Washington D.C.
- Julio studied political science and Spanish.
- He took both Spanish community service learning (CSL) courses: "Spanish in the Community" and "Spanish & Entrpereneurship."
- In both classes Julio did his CSL work in the bilingual classrooms at BT Washington elementary school.
- In his reflective writing, it was obvious that Julio had formed very positive relationships with the children in the class where he worked and that the students saw him as a role model.
- For his community-based project in the "Spanish & Entrpreneurship" course, Julio and his teammates used a variety of methods to raise money to buy books for the library at BT Washington. The librarian wrote me a very nice note, thanking the students for their work and donation.
- Julio is now doing a Congressional Internship through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. If anyone is interested in learning more about this internship, Julio has very generously offered his help: "Please - if there are any students that ever want any info regarding politics, Washington D.C, Spanish, just any question in general, please feel free to give them my email address. I would be more than delighted to help, as many people have helped me get where I am today."
- Read Julio's bio--he mentions his Spanish CSL work! And look at the many ways in which he took advantage of opportunities at the University of Illinois to prepare himself for the position in which he is now.
Here are Julio's own words:"Hello Prof. Abbott:
"I am working for Congress right now. I was awarded a placement in the Office of Sen. Robert Menendez. I really like it. I get to work on a wide variety of policy, especially those that affect Latinos the most. [I can forward] you information offered by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus such as: directories of scholarships, summer internships in Washington D.C, fellowships, etc. I figured since you use your blog as a medium to connect with students, it could be very helpful for some of them to know about opportunities that are offered.
"I am a legislative correspondent here at my senate office and I'm in charge of issues relevant to the Senate Hispanic Task force, immigration, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Needless to say I am constantly meeting with lots of people (a lot of social organizations just like the ones we talked about in class) and speaking lots of Spanish with people from all over the world."
Julio even offered an idea for a very interesting reflection prompt in the "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" course. I will boil down his idea and turn it into a prompt. Here is his idea:
"[B]eing here has really opened my eyes to how funding, donations, contributions, etc .on behalf of multi-million dollar corporations, social advocacy groups, and even non profits play their role in helping to fund programs such as mine, that allow individuals to work in a field of particular interest to them. For ex: I am an employee of the United States Senate. However, I am paid by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which receive donations from corporations and organizations in an effort to help develop "the next generation of leaders". So essentially, my job is funded by some sort of organization. I think [a reflection prompt related to this] would be interesting, especially to college students, because it would allow them to see that there are so many opportunities out there and people with money that are willing to give for a good cause. It would be nice for them to have an insight into what is out there for them, especially for those that are so close to graduating!
"[In other words, the prompt would be about:] How companies and organizations play their part in developing young leaders through sponsorships and donations. I know your class focuses more around social entrepreneurship but I just thought it would be interesting for students to know how companies play their part in trying to help help them and of the multitude of opportunities that are available to them - they just have to look for them."
Good luck, Julio, with all you are doing and will do in the future! I know you were an inspiration to the children at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, and I believe other UIUC students will be inspired and informed by your path.