Intern Spotlight: Yaxeni Valero
This is the second of two spotlights on our fall semester 2018 student interns. Learning Life’s students this fall are assisting with curriculum development, research, and youth international learning activities as part of our Citizen Diplomacy Initiative (CDI). Yaxeni Valero, interviewed below, is helping with gathering educational content on mentoring, storytelling and health, assisting with health-learning youth activities, and more.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas.
What school do you attend, and what is your year and major there?
I am currently a sophomore at Georgetown University pursuing a major in Global Health and a minor in Psychology.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy volunteering in the community, including packing meals for the homeless, and teaching science to children. I also really enjoy trying new foods and finding new places to eat out. I’ve discovered and really enjoy sushi and Korean beef bowls.
Is there a life experience you have had that has particularly shaped you thus far? If so, what is it, and how has it shaped you?
When I was in middle school, I can remember helping my mother study for her citizenship test by testing her with index cards. At a young age, I did not understand the true magnitude of the situation and how impactful it was for my mother. As I got older, I began to hear about immigration issues and learn about politics. More recently, as I learned about Central American immigrant families being torn apart at the US border, my mind drifted to that memory. Something in me shifted. I learned to appreciate what I was once too young and uneducated to understand. This shaped me into a more open-minded, education-seeking individual. I always wanted to do good, but now, I want to truly learn as well — not just learning from a textbook, but learning that connects those textbooks to real life around me and helps me make a difference.
What are your career plans?
In the future, I wish to travel to poorer, undeveloped countries so that I can further understand the differences that are encountered in places where resources are scarce and poverty is high. I wish to look at health care and disease and understand how this shapes people’s lives and how it can be alleviated or prevented.
Why did you choose to intern with Learning Life?
I chose to intern with learning life because I value education. It’s a powerful tool that gives people more control over their own lives. I also value Learning Life’s work to help close educational gaps that exist because of the lack of resources in some communities. I believe educating youth is the definition of a better tomorrow, and that making them more curious and educated individuals will help bring change.
What is the most beautiful place you have seen on Earth, and why is it so beautiful?
The most beautiful place I have seen on earth is Aguascalientes, a city in central Mexico. My parents were born and raised there, and although I have not been there in in about seven years I have great memories of it. This is a place enriched with culture and community, including lots of celebrations like the Quinceañera. I love walking around when I am there and visiting all the animals, including horses, cows, pigs, goats and chickens, in the ranches nearby.