Unexpected Discoveries

July 13, 2023

Top, left: Sign that reads "This moment used to be the future"; bottom, left: dates on the ground; right: students in from the White House

Written by: Valery Montenegro-Hernandez, Caminos al Futuro 2023

Hi, my name is Valery Montenegro-Hernandez, and I am incredibly grateful to be a Caminos al Futuro Scholar!

When I woke up this morning, I went into the day believing I would meet Joe Biden. While I did not share chisme with him like I hoped we would be able to, looking at the different rooms in the East Wing of the White House served as a valuable experience. The White House is full of many things, ranging from history to artifacts, so when tasked to brainstorm supplemental essay ideas during the tour, I thought that this was such an absurd exercise, but it later proved to be effective in motivating us to think outside the box.

In “Changing the Narrative,” I vividly remember the creative responses my peers gave to the prompt, “Describe an object in the White House that has moved you in some way.” Cristopher began by stating that looking over at the National Mall from inside the White House made it easy to see the history of the area, concluding that he looks forward to seeing how he will one day change history. Similarly, someone else commented how they hope to disrupt prejudices about Latinos through their work, connecting it to disrupting time, and a clock that constantly runs in the White House. These observations from my peers allowed me to understand that, while people can have shared experiences, the approaches—or lenses—that they decide to take on these shared experiences help to differentiate them from one another.

These lessons that I learned from today’s workshop and past ones have allowed me to break down the college application process more easily. Not to mention, the interdisciplinary approach has made me get real world experience that will be valuable in creating my CAP project, too!

Valery Montenegro-Hernandez is a Caminos al Futuro 2023 scholar. Valery’s views are her own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.