Posted at 11:04 AM
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to the Open for Business Agenda.
Guest blog post by Marguerite Jimenez, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary
I was born in California but grew up mostly in a college town in Montana. I am fortunate to have two amazing parents who both pushed me to work hard and supported me while I follow my passions. My passions led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in music and then to change tracks to pursue a Master’s degree in foreign policy and a PhD in global health policy.
Prior to joining the Department of Commerce I had the opportunity to teach public policy and serve as a White House Fellow. The White House Fellowship gave me the opportunity to get an inside look at how the Federal Government works and a taste of what it was like to work in an executive agency. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to continue serving the Administration over at Commerce. Currently, as part of the Global Economic Team, I have been primarily focused on Commerce’s engagement with Cuba and the new relationship the United States Government is forging with the island after over 50 years of severed diplomatic ties. At some point I plan on taking my experiences serving in government back into the classroom.
Throughout my life my parents have always stressed that, as young Latina, I had a responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity I had and to help other younger people who might not have the same resources or support that I had. They both stressed the importance of public service and ensuring that diverse voices were represented whether in college classrooms, executive boardrooms, or government agencies. This led me to want to work with first-generation students to help them with college readiness and leadership development. While at American University where I did my graduate studies, I was a co-director of the Latino Youth Conference. This organization worked with first-generation American high school students and their parents to help them succeed in high school and prepare them for college. One of the quotes that always inspired me throughout school and that motivated me in my work with younger students is a Cesar Chávez quote that says: "The end of all education should surely be service to others." As cheesy as it may sound, this is something I truly believe and that has been a motivating idea for me over the years. This concept of putting ones education to the service of others has also been a guide for me in thinking through career decisions and helped push me towards a career in education and public service.
I think one important aspect of Hispanic Heritage Month is recognizing the incredible contributions that Latinos have made in the United States throughout history. Whether in the arts, politics, community organizing, sciences, public policy, or broader efforts to fight for social justice, Latinos have been leaders and innovators.