The Smithsonian Latino Center recently selected 22 graduating high school seniors from throughout the country and Puerto Rico to partake in the Young Ambassadors Program this summer. Among the students was Nora Castrejon, a Chicago native, who learned about her Mexican culture and roots through the process. “Coming from the largest Mexican district in Illinois, I admire how my neighbors can preserve their heritage in spite of harsh immigrant laws, homelessness, and poverty,” said Castrejon, who recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C.
The Young Ambassadors Program fosters the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences, and humanities. This summer students spent a week in Washington D.C. attended seminars and skill-building workshops and participated in site visits to Smithsonian and area museums. Each student is currently placed for four weeks interning at a museum or cultural center in their local community. Currently, Castrejon is serving her internship with the National Museum of Mexican Art. “I love talking to my community members who never fail to teach me a valuable lesson,” said Castrejon. “I hope to continue learning about my heritage and different cultures throughout the world by pursuing my education.” Castrejon will enroll at Brown University in the fall.
The Smithsonian Latino Center is a division of the Smithsonian Institution that ensures Latino contributions are highlighted and understood. For information about the Young Ambassadors Program, visit www.latino.si.edu.