Martha Hernandez Wins Coro Fellowship
Martha Hernandez, a 2003 Occidental College graduate from Oakland, has been awarded a Coro Fellowship to spend nine months in San Francisco enrolled in the Fellows Program in Public Affairs.
The program starts in September and will give Hernandez an opportunity to shadow elected officials, department heads and chief executive officers to learn how business gets done in the social, political and economic fabric of a city.
Hernandez, who double majored in sociology and Spanish literature and culture, is one of 52 fellows who will serve in Coro centers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Pittsburgh. Each fellow receives a stipend and works in a series of assignments with a government agency, business, political campaign, labor union, media organization and non-profit group.
“I want to learn the responsibilities behind governing others and myself, understand different ways to strengthen our democratic system, and gather the necessary tools to improve my community and society as a whole,” Hernandez said. “With Coro’s leadership training, I hope to understand multiple sectors of diverse communities, and find solutions to their problems through civic engagement.”
She ultimately plans to become a civil rights attorney and run a nonprofit organization that assimilates non-English speakers into the democratic system. Hernandez also wants to run for a seat in Oakland’s city council and school board.
She shares her Coro honor with 2002 Occidental graduate Rostom Sarkissian of Glendale, who won a similar fellowship to work in Pittsburgh. The pair are Occidental’s fourth and fifth Coro winners in two years.
Coro was founded in San Francisco in 1942 when W. Donald Fletcher, an attorney, and Van Duyn Dodge, an investment counselor, launched an exploration into the world of public affairs. Their premise was based on the realization that, unlike law, business or medicine, posts-graduate training in the area of leadership was non-existent. The name “Coro” is the creation of its founders. It was a new word and one without association, invented to represent both discovery and exploration.