Your Shopping Cart is emptyVisit Store
Your Shopping Cart is emptyVisit Store
Bio: Monica is a senior at George Mason University, studying astrobiology, government, and international politics. She is a former participant of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute’s university program: Leadership and the American Presidency (LTAP). “My experience in the LTAP program was like no other, and in learning about the many leadership styles of the great leaders of our past, I also learned about people. This program truly helped me obtain the patience, willpower, and love to seek and bring out goodness.” Monica was also a speaker at this past year’s Reagan Leadership Summit and a volunteer for the inaugural Reagan Institute Summit on Education.
Monica has held a variety of government and science internships, some of which were positions in the U.S. Senate, for the American Chemical Society, and for NASA. Monica is also an avid musician, and teaches high school band. Her favorite meal is mole con pollo: spiced chocolate with beans, rice, guacamole, salsa verde, and tortillas.
What would you say are qualities of a civic leader?
They are soft. To love unconditionally is to be strong, even when others may see you as less than human. To be understanding is to be strong, even when others who might disagree are screaming at you. To wear your heart on your sleeve and make your intentions known is to be strong, even when others doubt you. It’s easy to view our leaders as machines in their own world, far away from us. But to always keep your humanity, to keep your hope, to keep your love for anyone and everyone, and to be soft, is to be strong, and an effective leader. To be soft is to be strong. And civic leaders must be strong
What are you doing now to ensure growth for the future?
Ensuring growth for the future means being uncomfortable. If there’s anything I’ve learned about humans, is that they do not like to be uncomfortable! It’s easy to surround yourself with people who think like you, act like you, and will applaud you for sharing your thoughts, but no growth comes from that. This means talking to people that see me and already don’t like me. It means understanding even the most morally ambiguous minds, with the sole connection that we are all human, and that we all have good in us. It means having the difficult conversations, and having them respectfully, and it means to never stop learning new things.
What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
The biggest risk I have taken was moving to Washington, D.C. with $200 in my pocket and everything to lose. I gave up my home life, my friends, my progress with my students, my studies, my comfortable track to graduation and free tuition. I gave up my community and my beloved Texas barbecue; but what was important is that I did not give up on them. I am pursuing what I am pursuing for one thing and one thing only: the people that are watching me. I knew that if I had played it safe, there would still be so many young Latinas back home with no example, itching to go out and do STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and government and art and whatever they want, but are discouraged from doing so. I knew that if I had stayed, I would have never known the “what if.”
If you had to teach something to someone, what would you teach and why?
In addition to my music teaching, I would want to teach biology. I believe it is crucial for any person of any field to have a scientific understanding – a “science brain” they can utilize when making decisions. Science exists to be proven wrong. Science is, quite literally, being reckless and making educated messes and making calculated mistakes, and then something works, and you have to repeat it, then you get criticism and open up your experiment to be proven wrong by others. On top of teaching the fragility of the world we live in, and how everything is, in many ways, interconnected, it is important to have an understanding of the laws that govern our universe. If more people were comfortable and even expected to make a mess and to be proven wrong, or rather, if more adults never truly grew up, I believe the world would be a much better place.