DC Conference: Making Friendships to Last a Lifetime

What does one say when they have no words to fully encompass the significance of something? I have trouble believing I can convey how important the DC conference was to me – but I can try!

Being in DC with all the other LHIP interns, the alumni, the facilitators, and the staff, truly did fill my heart. I don’t think there was a single day where I didn’t cry! The DC conference was such a beautiful way to put a conclusion on this life changing summer. I loved being surrounded by such intelligent, kind, funny, smart, and successful Latinos. I was especially inspired by all the chingonas – all the boss women who I met and became great friends with. ❤️


Being in a diverse space alone, after being in a predominately white space for so long, felt like home. I missed hearing people speaking Spanish and Spanish music, even just seeing people of color. Feeling safe to ask my peers questions about how they navigate being in a predominately white institution and having such candid conversations truly gives me so much hope. It was a great reminder that were never alone, in fact, we’re all across the country, in every state and every field! 


I am so grateful for this opportunity, growing up low-income, I never have had the opportunity to travel more than I did this summer. I believe I mention it in my first blog post, even living in Arizona, I had never been to the Grand Canyon before this summer. Now, I have visited 6 National Parks, Monuments, and State parks in a span of two months. Thanks to LHIP, now I have been to Washington D.C. and the east coast of the U.S. for the first time in my life!


Borderlands in the Latino exhibit

Library of Congress

MLK Monument


Personally – I think DC for me was such a marker in my career of all my efforts in the past 5-6 years. There’s so much that has led me to be where I am at today, to be able to present in the Department of the Interior. It’s the cumulation of two previous internships (one unpaid), 80+ units of college, countless hours of staying up to get good grades and scholarships, and the undying passion that I have for my community that has brought me here today. There are just moments in your life that you know when they happen – that everything has happened for a reason to lead you up to this. That was what DC was for me.

Director Chuck Sams and I!

George Mcdonald with me and my poster!

Ernestine White and I!


All I can really say is, thank you for this opportunity. I always count my blessings and practice gratitude, and I am always going to be grateful for LHIP. All it takes is just one opportunity to get the ball rolling, and LHIP has been so supportive in jump starting my career. All I feel is just excitement for the future, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Oh, what’s next you ask? I’m going to graduate from the University of Arizona with a bachelors in Natural Resources and a minor in Mexican-American Studies next year! This isn’t the end of my journey, in fact, it’s just the beginning.

Con muchísimas gracias y amor,

Gabriella Parra. 

P.S. If you’re reading this, please stay in touch or contact me with any questions, I am happy to help.

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