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Longstanding FIU partnership leads to legislative experience, full-time job

Longstanding FIU partnership leads to legislative experience, full-time job

May 21, 2019 at 10:47am

Alfredo Oballos Diaz, a senior studying international relations, was one of 20 students to intern in Washington, D.C. this past Spring semester, though his experience was uniquely personal.

Oballos Diaz, a Venezuelan asylum seeker, was able to work on legislation such as H.R. 549 that aims to support asylum seekers, introduced in the House of Representatives in January. The legislation proposes to allow Venezuelans eligibility for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States.  

“As a Venezuelan refugee myself, I feel extremely humbled by the opportunity to help my people through the work I am doing on the Hill,” Oballos Diaz said.

This opportunity was made available through the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, or CHLI, where Oballos Diaz served as a Global Leader Fellow in the office of Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09), for half of one semester. The fellowship was followed by a stint at the Ford Motor Company’s International Government Affairs unit, also based in Washington, D.C., where he conducted an analysis on the influence of China’s direct investment in Latin America on the transportation market.

Twenty-nine FIU students have served as CHLI Global Leader Fellows since 2006—thanks to a strong partnership between the university and the nonprofit organization founded and led by members of Congress to increase Hispanic thought representation in the legislative branch. All Global Leader Fellows experience internships in Congress and in a corporate setting during one semester, while having airfare, housing and transportation fully covered.

“As we have seen with Alfredo’s success, our partnership with FIU has not only helped transform these twenty-nine careers, but also opened the door to fresh policy ideas on Capitol Hill and in corporate offices throughout Washington, D.C.,” said Lincoln Diaz-Balart, former Congressman and Chairman of CHLI.

One aspect of Oballos Diaz’ Congressional internship directly led to a full-time job that allowed him to remain in Washington D.C.: he was exposed to Congressman Soto’s work on blockchain technology. 

He developed a passion for the technology and enrolled himself in an Online Professional Certificate at UC BerkeleyX on Blockchain Fundamentals, and was recently hired by the D.C. office of the Global Blockchain Business Council.

FIU students can apply to be a Fall 2019 CHLI Global Leader Fellow at until May 26, 11:59 p.m.

“I recommend other students to take action and apply,” Oballos Diaz said. “This internship is unique. It will provide you with all the necessary tools you need to become an agent of change.”

During his time in D.C., Oballos Diaz was also an instrumental leader at the FIU in DC Talent Lab, which prepares students for the internships and careers in the capital.

“Because of FIU in DC, I was able to work and expand my network with confidence knowing that I had my university right here, in town, backing me up on all of my endeavors,” Oballos Diaz said.

Rep. Soto (FL-09) and Oballos Diaz at the congressman’s office.

Oballos Diaz at Ford Motor Company.