PVAMU NROTC Student Accepted into the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) envisions a world in which all communities have an equal voice in public policy through leadership cultivation, economic empowerment, and civic engagement. It’s no wonder why senior political science student Roman Zepeda applied for a CBCF internship. The Austin, Texas native has had his sights focused on public policy and leadership cultivation, ever since he was in high school in Round Rock, Texas. He was accepted into the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s semester-long internship for the Fall 2018 semester.
Zepeda attended the Texas Municipal League Conference in Houston, where he was introduced to the congressional internship program by Erica Paige. Although he only wanted to pursue local policy and address governance issues in his own community, Paige encouraged him to expand his horizons and guided him through the application process. The CBCF is a paid internship, but Zepeda, notes that Priscilla Johnson, Ph. D., Internship/Co-op Coordinator at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) was key in aiding with acquiring financial assistance for his travel.
Zepeda was raised in a single-parent household by his mother, Cassandra Mathews, and older sister Andrea Zepeda. He states that being a first-generation college student, presented obstacles he strove to overcome. With limited knowledge in his home of the collegiate process, he relied on mentors and external direction to help build his confidence and move him to pursue a college degree. “Before arriving to PVAMU, I heard negative stigmas and stereotypes dealing with the graduation rate. After my first semester, I soon discovered that PVAMU is a place to become who I wish to be and that being surrounded by a variety of high-caliber students only encourages me to learn and grow as a scholar. It feels as if I didn’t just choose PVAMU, but PVAMU chose me.”
Zepeda has been active in research projects hosted at Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University (TAMU), and the University of Houston (UH). His passion to help those less fortunate reflects in the research he has participated in, which include, The Flint Water Crisis vs. Policy (PVAMU), The Prevalence of Food Insecurity on Prairie View’s Campus (PVAMU), The Relationship Between the Prairie View Community and Law Enforcement (Self-led), The Voting Behavior of Specific Groups During Presidential Elections (UH), and The Effect That Political and Media Pressure Has on the Ethical Decisions Made by Policymakers (TAMU).
In addition to his acceptance in the CBCF this summer, he is also finished his Officer Candidacy School this summer, as he is an NROTC (Marine Option) student. The military has always been Roman’s goal and credits First Sergeant Dewayne Eubanks (NJROTC Stoney Point High School) for directing him to apply to Prairie View A&M University. Upon receiving a bachelors in Political Science and Leadership in 2019 he will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and report to Quantico, Virginia. Roman has always had the passion to serve his community, country, and other states that do not have the resources to defend their ethical and moral freedoms. He states, “The Marine Corps has established a strong foundation to serve others and lead from the front – it is the best of both worlds. I believe it is my responsibility to give back to the community that shaped me into the young man I have become.”
PVAMU’s foundation as a land-grant institution has instilled a culture of community engagement. Students at Prairie View are offered opportunities to not only learn in the classroom but actively dive into research conducted. Zepeda exudes the land-grant mission in his everyday walk and through the CDCF he strives to seek other ways to help. During the upcoming CBCF internship, he hopes to gain experience, expresses Zepeda, “I am elated to have the opportunity to learn and participate in the many aspects of the legislative process, so I may return to my community and develop efficient and effective policies that provide equity and opportunity to the underrepresented population.”
He will serve as an Emerging Leaders Intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Zepeda will participate in the many aspects of the legislative process with guidance from Congressional Representatives. “I am blessed to have the support from the amazing and dedicated faculty and staff at Prairie View A&M University. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am proud to represent my illustrious institution and fulfill the PVAMU legacy of becoming a productive member of society,” states Zepeda.
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