Selena Chavez - Double Major in Spanish and International Studies Gives Back to Chattanooga
By: Laura Coker
Selena is helping to bridge English- and Spanish-speaking populations in Chattanooga
by conducting surveys, which measure housing conditions and safety, and by spending
time at cultural festivals and neighborhood association meetings around the city.
In the course of this work, she quickly realized that “the languages people share
bring them together as a community.” Being bilingual, she was able to break down the
language barriers and facilitate communication that will help to improve dangerous
conditions for residents. The contacts she made through this internship have secured
her three other opportunities: with the organizations Americorp/CNE and “All in Chattanooga”
sponsored by Greenspaces, which are running research projects to measure the needs
of communities downtown, in Orchard Knob, and in Brainerd while also bringing communities
together through various activities. In addition to these two internships, she also
earned another internship with Joda Thongnopnau’s political campaign.
These experiences have given Selena a determination to “keep helping.” She has decided to take a year away from her academic path to give back to the Chattanooga community, which, she says, has given so much to her throughout her life. Her next step will be to attend law school and pursue a career as an international attorney because, through her internships, she has encountered many “marginalized communities that can’t speak up for themselves.”