Skip to main content

HACU Empowers the Next Generation

Posted by Dan Wueste, USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program in Research and Science
Sep 23, 2014
The Lincoln National Forest served as the in-field experience location for HACU intern, Jewel Graw.
The Lincoln National Forest served as the in-field experience location for HACU intern, Jewel Graw.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area will highlight those who are making significant contributions to American agriculture.

Have you ever dreamed of having a beautiful, picturesque landscape as your “office” environment?  Ever thought of learning the full spectrum of a potential career in public service?  Students working with USDA’s Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program have that chance.

From every corner of the United States, HACU interns are experiencing the full range of opportunities USDA has to offer.  The HACU National Internship provides students with paid internship opportunities at federal agencies, corporations, and non-profit organizations.  These internships, 15 weeks in the Fall or Spring, and 10 weeks in the Summer, provide students with unique work experience and the host agencies with a valuable recruitment resource.

Jewel Graw, an undergraduate student from Texas State University, worked in the field with the Forest Service in Ruidoso, New Mexico, conducting wildlife surveys of sensitive and threatened species in the Lincoln National Forest’s Smokey Bear Ranger District and the Sacramento Ranger District.  Throughout Graw’s internship, she also worked on official reports and children’s educational programming.

Michael Gonzales, Chief of the Talent Acquisition Branch for the Farm Service Agency in Kansas City, Missouri described his office’s HACU intern, Veronica Huron, as “the finest, most capable Intern I have seen and had the honor of working alongside and teaching.”  Huron, a graduate student at the University of Texas, Pan American, seized the opportunity to learn all phases of Human Resources.  As her supervisor, Mr. Gonzales reported that Huron “rolled up her sleeves and poured herself into learning all that she could.”  With the completion of her internship, he feels “certain that one day Veronica Huron will be a Federal employee and make an Agency feel incredibly proud.”

These are just a few of the stories of the work available to interns interested in public service.  This year, USDA hosted the largest class of HACU interns in the program’s history at USDA facilities in Washington, DC and throughout the Country.   These interns were placed with a wide variety of USDA agencies and offices.  Participation in the HACU National Internship Program has created a pipeline for the next generation of USDA leaders.  Many former HACU interns now count among the ranks of GS-7s to GS-15s and Senior Executives.

Category/Topic: Research and Science