Farmworkers suffer from the highest rate of toxic chemical injuries and skin disorders of any workers in the country, as well as significant rates of eye injuries.
2011 Into the Fields Intern
Piedmont Health Services
Update from October 2016
What have you been up to since SAF?
After my SAF internship I went back to school at the University of SC, then went to work in NYC doing health care policy research, to DC to volunteer for a year at a homeless clinic, and finally to Milwaukee WI where I had a full ride to do a Masters in Applied Economics at Marquette University. I had the Trinity Fellowship for Social and Economic Justice – SAF interns should apply for it! As part of the fellowship, you’re required to do volunteer work so I got to work with two nonprofits in the Milwaukee area—Centro Hispano, a social services clearinghouse, and Covering Wisconsin, where I helped with implementation of the ACA, and policy research.
After that I applied for a graduate fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in DC where I am now. I’ve been here about 2 months now. It’s been really nice, I enjoy it. The caucus is looking to diversify the Hispanic population in Senate. I’ve been doing a lot of research in supporting legislative matters of the office. My portfolio is on health insurance markets and also mental health. It’s great experience—being involved in bipartisan negotiations with Republican and Democratic staffers. I do a lot of research and draft a lot of reports to senior health policy advisor staff and Sen. Patty Murray, Ranking Member of U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Also, I just got engaged in September! We’re living in DC now and planning the wedding, looking at early 2018.
What is your best memory of your SAF internship/program?
I remember Diego, Nandini, and I would go on long car rides – hours cruising through the fields, the back roads of NC, getting to the labor camp and watching the sun set. We did a lot of health education on healthy eating, tobacco use, and cigarettes. I just remember good outreach evenings and watching the sun set. I miss the calm of that summer. It feels hectic here all the time in comparison.
How did SAF impact what you’ve done since?
I always had this interest in health care policy but SAF gave me hands-on experience, professional exposure. As an outreach worker I was working on the front line and knew the barriers to healthcare access that workers have. Honestly that’s what led me to work in health care policy in New York, led to grad school, and then led to this fellowship.
2011 Into the Fields Intern
Legal Aid of North Carolina Farmworker Unit
Update from April 2014
From Idaho to North Carolina, a big change for me it was. When I was accepted to the Student Action with Farmworkers Into the Fields internship in the Spring of 2011 I was very excited because I was placed with Legal Aid of North Carolina's Farmworker Unit. I was happy because it would be my first summer break that I wasn't going to be working in the fields or in a factory. I had more than 10 years of experience working in farm work and witnessed a lot of injustices in the fields. I always wanted to work in a law firm where I could inform workers of their rights. I also wanted tobe in a position where I could do something about all the injustices, we, farmworkers faced and are still facing. After graduating from the University of Idaho I accepted a job offer from Legal Aid of North Carolina and to this date I am still working with them. I also am a board member with SAF. SAF gave me that opportunity I most wanted and thanks to their big push I am following my dreams. I will always be thankful to SAF.