My name is Felix Vazquez-Guemarez, and I just completed a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Puerto Rico. This upcoming fall, I will embark on a new journey: University of Puerto Rico Law School. I feel confident enough to start this new challenge, mainly because I have been fortunate enough to participate in the MEISPP internship for the second time, during which I have been exposed to countless hands on experiences that will definitely be of great benefit in my near future endeavors.
This summer I am part of EERE’s Workforce Management Office (WMO), where I have taken part of the creation of EERE College and new competitions targeted for minority, low income and underrepresented groups, as part of Outreach and Recruitment events, all under the mentorship and guidance of Environmental Scientist Othalene Lawrence. WMO serves as the “primary corporate resource for all EERE support contractor management and policy issues, human capital strategic planning and implementation, and EERE headquarters (HQ) facilities management and administration, by efficiently and effectively managing EERE’s support service contract formulation and execution activities; developing and executing the policies and procedures that will create a diverse and technically talented EERE workforce”, and much more.
In addition, I am working at the Office of General Counsel (GC) with Attorney Steven Miller. GC provides legal advice, counsel, and support to the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, and program offices throughout DOE to further the Department’s mission of “advancing the national, economic, and energy security of the United States through scientific and technological innovation and the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex”. Here, I have provided valuable support to legal employers, which will give me the opportunity to increase my knowledge of substantive areas of law.
For the most part at GC, I have been working with fellow intern Brenda Cordero on environmental justice issues, established in Executive Order 12898 by President Bill Clinton, that ensures everyone fair treatment and meaningful involvement to the “development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws”, regardless their race, origin, or color. Being a minority myself, this has felt extremely rewarding, and has allowed me to gain perspective on many issues being debated here in Washington to eliminate racial discrepancies in federal interagency practices.
As part of the internship experience I have participated in many outings and events. Some of these include a tour of the U.S. Supreme Court, attending a Senate hearing on the “Gang of 8” Immigration Bill at the U.S. Capitol Building, encouraging students to pursue STEM related fields at the NASA STEM Enrichment Summer Program, and listening to the presentation of the Economic Imperative of Expanding College Opportunity paper, at the National Press Club.
These challenging and intriguing experiences have truly helped me develop as a young professional and shaped my career goals. My motivation has by now turned into an ambition; the ambition of defending human rights, and comprehending how our legal system works, an endeavor I will continue as a lawyer.