TRENTON, N.J. – The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) held its graduation ceremony today for the Class of 2008 Hispanic Interns in Community Service Program and the Latino Leaders Fellowship Institute at NJN studios. 

“These young men and women have shown a commitment to learning and taking an active role in their community,” said DCA Commissioner Joseph Doria. “My congratulations to the Class of 2008 and I look forward to hearing about all their future successes.”

The graduation ceremony featured keynote speaker Luis J. Diaz, Director, Intellectual Property Group, Gibbons P.C. and President of the United States Hispanic Advocacy Association.  Mr. Diaz has over 20 years of extensive experience in a wide range of complex matters including intellectual property law, technology related joint ventures and strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, sales and marketing, and government relations. Mr. Diaz provides legal and business counsel to business units in the United States and abroad on commercial and intellectual property matters and is experienced with diversified industries in both private and publicly traded companies.

Two of the graduating interns, Ms. Zulema Pena of Bogota and Mr. Angel Collado of New Milford, spoke on behalf of the graduating class.

The Hispanic Interns in Community Service Program and Latino Leaders Fellowship Institute is a ten-week summer program geared toward leadership and professional development.  The program, which began in 1988, offers Hispanic college students the opportunity to work in a government, corporate or non-profit setting and participate in leadership training conducted by Rutgers University’s Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership.

“This year’s graduates represent the 21st class of the Hispanic Interns in Community Service Program,” said Angie Armand, Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development. “Each is a true role model for the Latino community of New Jersey.”

Over the course of the program, interns are required to complete a project analyzing a policy topic of interest and its effect on the Latino community.  This year’s graduating class had 34 participants.

This year through the program, Ms. Zulema Pena of Bogota and Ms. Delilah Cordovez of North Brunswick both received $5,000 scholarships, sponsored by PSE&G.  Additionally, Ms. Ana Hernandez of Perth Amboy, Mr. Franklin Collado of New Milford, Mr. Roger Martinez of Passaic, Ms. Jacqueline Diaz of Green Brook, and Ms. Ivy Perez of Williamstown all received $3,000 scholarships, sponsored by Foundation for the CHPRD which is made up of various corporate entities.

More information on the Hispanic Interns in Community Service Program and Latino Leaders Fellowship Institute can be obtained by calling 609-984-3223, or by visiting www.nj.gov/dca/chprd

Hispanic Interns in Community Service Program and Latino Leaders Fellowship Institute - Class of 2008

Saida Alvarenga

Judith A. Avila

Maria J. Caraballo

Lissette N. Carrion Trujillo

Damianty Chivukula

Angel D. Collado

Franklin W. Collado

Delilah Cordovez

Mario Delgado

Valentina Di Loreto

Jacqueline Diaz

Gabriel Gonzalez

Raymond Guerrero, Jr.

Ana Maria Hernandez

Vanessa I. Hernandez

Roger Martinez

Lady Masucci

Briana C. Morales

Melany Narvaez

Franklin Nunez

Franmi C. Paulino

Ruben Martin

Zulema Altagracia Pena

Ivy Perez

Daniel Rodriguez

Vicente Rodriguez III

Maria E. Rojas

Jeremy Rosa

Alexander Sanchez

Reynaldo Santos, Jr.

Lizbeth Veliz

Desiree Williams Brown

Nestor Yepes

Federico Zanatta