Cal State Long Beach CAMP Student Selected to Participate in National HEP/CAMP Internship Program in Washington, D.C.

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Leidy Partida

Leidy Partida, a student in the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Cal State Long Beach, has been selected to participate in the National HEP/CAMP Internship Program in Washington, D.C. this summer.

It is the first time a CSULB student has been chosen for the national honor since CAMP was established at the university in 2000. She leaves for the eight-week internship on May 30.

CAMP is a federally funded program that assists students who are migratory or seasonal farmworkers (or children of such workers) enrolled in their first year of undergraduate studies. The program is aimed at promoting continued enrollment and eventual graduation from the university. Services include outreach, counseling, tutoring, skills workshops, financial aid stipends, health services and housing assistance to eligible students during their first year of college. Limited follow-up services are provided to participants after their first year.

The oldest daughter of Mexican immigrants, Partida is the first in her family to graduate high school and the first to pursue a college education. More relevant to the internship, however, is the fact that she has been picking lima beans with her parents for 13 years, since she was 6 years old.

“As someone who currently works as a farmworker, I have always dreamed of sharing my story of picking lima beans with elected officials and prominent leaders in order to improve the daily harsh working conditions of farmworkers,” said Partida, who just completed her freshman year at CSULB and is majoring in both criminal justice and human development. “Being selected as a national HEP/CAMP intern will allow me to fulfill this personal accomplishment.”

During her eight-week internship, Partida will work in the office of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, where she will perform data entry and manage an office data base, greet and escort visitors, and collect research and data on Latino education. She also will participate in staff meetings, assist the chief of staff in preparing reports, assist in the planning of upcoming events and respond to constituent inquiries.

All interns will have a number of opportunities to participate in various seminars and leadership activities in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Internship Program.

Partida described her freshman year at CSULB as “unique, exciting, academically challenging yet very rewarding.” She is involved in five different student organizations on campus, including the Student Special Security Operation Team, the Educational Opportunities Program Student Organization and the Leadership Academy.

Each weekend, however, she worked 20 hours at a nearby ranch with her parents harvesting and picking lima beans.

“I acknowledge that I am part of a small percentage of migrant Latina females who are fortunate enough to pursue a college education,” Partida wrote in her personal statement to the internship committee. “I am thankful to my parents for having settled in Long Beach and taking me to the lima bean fields to work alongside them. These experiences have molded me into the young professional woman that I am today, and they have motivated me to pursue all of my apsirations.”

After completing her undergraduate studies, Partida plans to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice. She has aspirations of becoming an FBI agent.

The National HEP/CAMP Association is an organization whose membership is comprised of universities, colleges and non-profit organizations that administer a High School Equivalency Program (HEP) and/or a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). The association’s membership is committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of the national HEP and CAMP program, all HEP and CAMP projects, and to disseminating information about HEP and CAMP.

Its mission is “to serve, educate, and empower farm workers.” Its vision is “to improve the quality of life for farm-workers through education.”

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