CALS Student Earns a Congressional Internship

by Kayla Degner, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service

Brian Castro earned an opportunity this past summer that allowed him to advocate for his hometown community.

Rep. Gutiérrez, left, and Castro.

Castro, a senior in global resource systems and nutritional science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, grew up in southern Chicago.

When Castro heard about an opportunity to intern within the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, he knew it was a perfect fit for him because he would be able to help individuals in his hometown.

There were about 500 applicants. Castro was one of only 36 accepted.

During the summer, he worked in Washington D.C. with Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez of Illinois' Fourth District. Gutiérrez is a leading spokesperson for immigration reform. Castro’s job was to take calls and communicate with individuals about their case profiles. He was then able to portray their story and convey their situation to the staffers to find solutions.

From his internship, Castro observed many different mindsets of those involved in politics and how difficult it can be to reach a decision on passionate issues.

This opportunity has driven him to join the Peace Corps after college graduation this May. His goal is to focus on global health and gender equality issues, specifically with HIV/AIDS. After the Peace Corps, he wants to apply for law school or possibly enter politics. 

When Castro graduated from high school, he had a number of colleges to choose from. He felt that Iowa State University and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences were particularly open to diversity of race and there were an abundance of grants and scholarships to apply for.

At Iowa State, Castro is the treasurer of the Global Health and AIDS Coalition as well as the co-director for the International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences 2014 World Congress International Conference.