Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- May 17, 2002

Sophomore at CSU, Bakersfield Selected for Internship Programs by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

Two summers ago, Maria Melgoza was picking grapes. This summer, she'll be working for the U.S. Department of Defense near Washington, D.C.

Melgoza is a sophomore at California State University, Bakersfield. She and classmate Monica Covarrubias were recently selected for 10-week summer internship programs by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Beginning in June, Melgoza will work as a contracts and inventory management specialist at the Defense Supply Center, and Covarrubias will conduct tours and recruit visitors for the Library of Congress.

Melgoza, whose family migrated to California from Michoacan, Mexico, in 1998, is excited about going to Washington and eager to work in a professional environment. She believes the internship is another example of how living in the United States and attending CSUB has provided her the opportunities to succeed.

"My family and my education have always been a top priority in my life," Melgoza said. "We moved here looking for a better life for us. I believe this internship will put me in a better position to help out my family economically."

When Melgoza moved to Bakersfield, she couldn't speak English. She learned the language and graduated from East Bakersfield High School in 2000 among the top of her class. She's majoring in business at CSUB with a double concentration in accounting and finance and plans to pursue a master's degree in accounting.

Covarrubias is from Wasco and graduated from Wasco High School in 2000. She's majoring in public administration and plans to go into business management. Although the internships are paid, Covarrubias said she's more interested in the experience she'll gain.

"I want to know how it really is to work in management," Covarrubias said. "I think it'll be great to meet other people in the field and see what things are like from other people's perspectives."

Thomas Martinez, the CSUB president's assistant for diversity initiatives and special projects, said the HACU internships are the most prestigious and well-connected appointments for Hispanic students in the United States. He added that being selected is a significant accomplishment.

"HACU receives thousands of applications from Hispanic students all over the country and only the best ones receive offers," Martinez said. "Monica and Maria are top notch students. They were chosen because of their academic success, leadership roles on campus and their community involvement. We are very proud of them and know they will do well."

The HACU Corporate Partnership Program places talented university students in business internships nationwide. The aim of the program is to encourage and assist in the professional development of interns, promote employment and educational opportunities for Hispanic students, and to assist in the efforts to recruit qualified Hispanics for government and private positions.

CONTACT: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138,
or Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456,

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