Your family moved to the United States from Venezuela when you were 10 years old. What prompted the move?
My father was a congressman for the opposition party in Venezuela. We decided to rebuild our lives here, because it was getting ugly. We were being persecuted like a lot of opposition party members are being persecuted now. Some of the fellow congressmen my dad worked with are getting thrown in jail.
Was that why you entered Drew as a political science and economics double major?
I grew up around politics. Obviously, my father has been fighting, and he still tries to do as much as he can from the outside. I saw that fight in him, and it was appealing growing up. I saw that passion.
What was it like to participate in the inaugural New York City Semester on Social Entrepreneurship?
It is the class I’ve taken the most from at Drew so far. The most interesting part was learning about a bunch of nonprofits of all sizes—trying to see what their problems are, trying to see if there are any common issues with running a nonprofit.
And last summer you worked for a nonprofit founded by your father.
It’s called the Center for Democracy and Development in the Americas, in Washington, D.C. It basically supports NGOs that are trying to find a platform to help countries in the Americas.
What kind of work did you do?
It was a great experience. I learned skills that you otherwise wouldn’t learn, like grant writing. Most of their work deals with Venezuela. For me that was the reason I wanted to do that. Obviously, a lot of my family is still back over there.
Do you have plans to return to Venezuela some day?
I haven’t been able to go back for the last five years. I don’t have an interest to go because it’s so unsafe. It’s sad that the place you were born and raised in, you’re scared to go back to. I wish that one day I won’t have to be scared to see my roots.
On a happier note, how’s the soccer team look this fall?
Some players who were very important to the team graduated. But we have a good class coming in and a good base coming back. Honestly, I think we might catch people by surprise.