Two Ferris State University student leaders, whose short-term prospects were dimmed
by the COVID-19 pandemic, have been afforded internship opportunities, as 2020 National
Fellows in “Operation Helping Hands.” The Association of Latino Professionals for
America has organized the program.
Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center Executive Director Kaylee Burke notified Veronica Mascorro, a junior from Middleville in the Journalism/Technical Communication program, and Leonardo Almanza, of Fennville, who begins his fourth year in Criminal Justice with a focus on Public Advocacy, that they would begin ALPFA Fellowship activities on Wednesday, June 24.
“I had been collaborating with the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to find an internship. That provided me a number of contacts and several interviews, which included an opportunity at a television station,” Mascorro said. “Each of those situations failed to develop, due to the pandemic. Chamber leaders suggested that I pursue this fellowship, so I applied and am grateful to have been accepted.”
Mascorro was named a Rising Star by Ferris’ Center for Leadership, Activities and Career during the 2019 Torchbearer Awards ceremony. She is the immediate past president of the Hispanic Student Organization and has been recognized by the CLS as a Promesa Scholar each of the last two years. Mascorro and Almanza served on the planning committee for the 2019 Latinx Heritage Month activities. Almanza is the incoming president of the United Greek Council, the past president of the Upsilon Epsilon chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta, and is a founding participant and staff assistant with Ferris’ Anti-Violence Alliance.
“When I applied, I had concerns that my academic credentials might not allow me to participate,” Almanza said. “I am glad that my campus involvements were well received, as this is a great chance to gain more experience and information on serving in leadership roles. I intend to make good use of the skill development this fellowship will provide, as I continue my service on campus.”
The Association of Latino Professionals for America have partner organizations including Ally, Accenture, KMPG and Bank of America, who have arranged for an eight-week program where the fellows work in teams to address real-life business or societal issues, as determined by those partners.
“Our meetings are virtual, totaling around 12 to 15 hours each week, Monday through Friday,” Mascorro said. “I look forward to collaborating with other students from across the country and working to solve real problems. It is an honor to be in the cohort for the inaugural ALPFA Fellowship. I have been looking forward to my first internship since I came to Ferris, and it appears this will provide me all that I was seeking from the opportunity.”
“I love to learn new things, and this virtual fellowship will be a unique experience that will call for focus and adaptation on my part,” Almanza said. “I have had a diverse background of experiences each summer since I started college, and believe this will serve as a highlight on my resume and make me a better leader.”