Image of Malazia Cepero

My name is Malazia Cepero and I am an undergraduate student at American University majoring in Public Health and minoring in Psychology. When coming into the MSPDSPP internship program I was looking for more opportunities. I wanted to expand my horizons and look into something beyond the public health field because I know there are so many different opportunities in the world. The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity stood out to me because I wanted to learn more about how the U.S. Department of Energy supports minority students and promotes diversity within the field of energy. Being a part of this office has shown me that the focus on supporting minorities within education, specifically within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field, is very important. It gives them an opportunity to succeed in life at many different institutions.

Thus far, my mentor has guided me through many different assignments that have displayed my strengths within the program. One of my favorite projects was finding many associations that support or advocate for the different Minority Serving Institutions (MSI’s), specifically within STEM. For example, some Hispanic-Serving Institutions provide educational opportunities to growing numbers of underserved populations, particularly Hispanic students. I didn’t know this. I learned about the many other MSI’s and how many of the associations support and advocate for STEM education for minorities overall. Although this encounter was virtual, it was a unique and enjoyable experience. I was able to get to know many of the staff within this office, attend meetings, and still gain an everyday experience while staying virtual.

I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of the MSPDSPP program and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity during a global pandemic. I see this as a fantastic opportunity and experience I have gained in life. I am thrilled to share my experiences within this program with my peers and many other people.