Alum of the Month
Alum of The Month: Nick Guzman
I was just a kid from a neighborhood in Chicago who didn't have a voice, but Mikva changed that for me.
Tell us about your Mikva Experience?
Mikva empowered me and got me involved in politics and important conversations. I was just a kid from a neighborhood in Chicago who didn't have a voice, but Mikva changed that for me. It got me involved in volunteering, campaigning, and participating in political discussions. I became confident enough to speak up when people asked me for my opinions and I quickly began to consider myself as someone who could get involved and make a difference in the world.
What programs were you involved with at Mikva?
I got involved with Mikva Challenge my senior year of high school. I went to Whitney Young, and a teacher recommended a group of us in her AP government class to get involved with Mikva. Actually, the first thing I worked on, interestingly enough, was Rob Blagojevich’s first gubernatorial election campaign. I really enjoyed the experience of going door-to-door, phone banking and representing the candidate.
The campaigning experiences were invaluable as they gave me the knowledge that I have access to politics and what politics does. That really sparked in me the desire to get involved and to reevaluate what career I wanted to pursue.
What are you doing now?
I’m currently a lawyer working at a law firm in D.C., specializing in international trade regulatory work. My career trajectory was heavily influenced by my time at Mikva. I had really planned to study architecture for most of my life, but after Mikva and AP government, I ended up pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Latino Studies from the University of Norte Dame. Mikva kind of changed the trajectory for me.
How has your experience as a Mikva Challenge youth informed who you are today?
The biggest takeaway from my Mikva experience is that anyone who has the willingness and desires to be involved in the political process can and should be a part of it. I saw that no matter where you come from and what your background is (I was born to Mexican immigrant parents), it is essential to make sure your voice is heard.
Mikva programs allowed me to really develop my voice and empowered me to stand up for my values. Thanks to Mikva, I will continue to take opportunities to help people and also join and support organizations that empower people to really take an active role in political dialogue because that ultimately is the way to accomplish change.