Serving the Community: Isiah Iñiguez ‘17.5 Reflects on Brown in Washington Program

March 22, 2018

In an effort to share student experiences in Washington with students on campus, Fall 2017 Brown in Washington fellows were asked to take a photo and write a caption that helps describe a memorable part of their learning experience while working with the D.C. community during their semester away. 

Isiah Iñiguez ‘17.5, a Public Policy & Education Studies concentrator, reflected on his semester interning at Hamilton Place Strategies.

"In my application to the Brown in D.C. program I wrote the following:

'My favorite words in [Brown’s] mission are “serve the community…” because it emphasizes that my education is not just for me, but also for the world. My education and my experiences are to be connected, like a puzzle piece, to others, in hope of creating a more just and equitable society. While some may call it idealistic, I learned that the formulation of public policy does not just come from qualitative data, but is also inclusive of equity, morals and other values that simply cannot be quantified. Therefore, when ready and qualified, I hope to run for public office and become a leader in my hometown -- Inglewood, California. Here, I will strive to serve my community, push against systemic issues and provide resources that break down barriers, because like Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently said, “sometimes no matter how tall the heel on your boot is, the barrier is so high that you need a small lift to help you get over it."'
I was so hypnotized by the beauties of D.C. and I made myself think that D.C. was the best and only option. I was forgetting about the possibilities that also existed back home, and I was forgetting that Los Angeles could also very well be part of my life’s puzzle pieces. I was complicating things more than they had to be, and I realized that a job offer, while great, should not be the driving force in how I approach things. It was forcing me to live through my D.C. experience too fast and did not allow me enjoy the opportunity that I desperately wanted several months prior. I told myself that I did not have to stay in D.C. and, if I didn’t, that it would be perfectly okay. Once I accepted that, I became even more satisfied with my experience.

My time in the Brown in D.C. program matured me. I became smarter, more confident and more aware of myself. I built friendships, gained experiences and grew academically and professionally. I am walking away with a realization that my goals in life are to make an impact and serve my community as a public servant. While my internship placement did create impact, I realize that the impact I want to make is in my community, closer to the people. I want to share my education and bring it back to the place that helped mold me into who I am today.

Brown in D.C. was the facilitator and the experience that taught me more that what I would have asked for. A highlight of my undergraduate experience it has been, and I am forever grateful for the individuals that made this possible and for the opportunity to spend my final semester in a place that I’ve also called home."