Friday, Aug 26, 2022
Students took part in 8 weeks of leadership development experience
by Adam Grybowski
Three Rider University students were awarded a fellowship from the Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program this summer.
Participants in the program receive a combination of practical experience and traditional classroom instruction geared toward leadership and professional development, as well as other opportunities such as leadership training seminars and guest presentations by leading professionals.
Karla Lopez-Rosa, a rising senior majoring in political science and minoring in homeland security and Spanish interned with the Red Cross of New Jersey during the eight-week program.
"I believe mentorship is a huge aspect of how we grow as individuals,” says Lopez-Rosa. "I am grateful to have been selected to be part of a program that wants to help Hispanic/Latinx leaders of tomorrow."
About her motivation for joining the program, Lopez-Rosa cited a passion for learning more about immigration and its effect specifically on the Hispanic/LatinX community. The fellowship built on her previous experience as an intern last summer with the Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund in Trenton.
"My role with the organization impacted me personally because I was able to see what it was like for immigrant families in their need of health care, education and legal assistance," says Lopez-Rosa, the president of Rider’s political science club who has also interned with U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman as a student.
Nanci Menchu, a rising senior double majoring in human resources management and management and leadership with a minor in Spanish, joined Bristol Myers Squibb through the program as an intern with its Worldwide Patient Safety unit, specifically in epidemiology.
She saw this as an opportunity to grow professionally and challenge herself.
"As a first-generation Latina student, I know I want to be successful,” she says, “but I’ve never necessarily had a mentor who looked like me and who understood the struggles that I’ve gone through as a first-generation student and all the work it’s taken for me to be where I am, which was one of the reasons I was very excited to have been accepted into the program."
At Rider, Menchu is the president of the Gail Bierenbaum Women's Leadership Council and the secretary of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). “Although it was an intensive eight-week program, it was amazing,” she says. “We were introduced to many different Latina/o professionals in different industries and companies.”
Juan Molina, a rising senior majoring in finance with a minor in business analytics, also interned at Bristol Myers Squibb within its Worldwide Patient Safety unit, where he was able to put his finance skills to use researching and analyzing potential investment opportunities for the multinational pharmaceutical company.
At Rider, Molina is a team leader within Bonner Community Scholars and a liaison to the Student Government Association’s finance board. He is also a former treasurer to DECA.
“This amazing opportunity provided me with premier leadership and work experience while also surrounding me with successful Hispanics and other individuals who were there to help cultivate my own growth,” he says. “The program imbued me with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue any career ambitions with confidence.”
The program is open to all residents of New Jersey of Hispanic descent who are enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university program.