Alumni Spotlight: Raul Alvarenga

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Raul Alvarenga’09

Urban Alliance is honored to provide young people with the skills necessary to be successful both professionally and personally. In turn, it gives us great pride to highlight the Alumni who apply the skills learned in the program and capitalize on them post-high school. Raul Alvarenga ‘09 is one of those exceptional Alumni who understands and utilizes the skill of networking, takes initiative, and displays both personal and professional growth to achieve success.

Raul Alvarenga is currently in his senior year at the University of Maryland, College Park double majoring in Business Management and American Studies, with a focus in US/Latino Studies. Sounds like a lot of hard work, right? Well it is, but it is also impressive!  Raul is no stranger to hard work and he understands the benefits and rewards that come along with it.

During the high school program Raul was able to intern for Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, a law firm in Washington, DC, where he completed administrative duties, updated their library database and reviewed briefings and depositions. Raul reflected on his initial feelings prior to beginning his internship, “the professional world can be very frightening overall, but especially for a 17 year old high school student, it is very intimidating.” However, Raul eventually realized that he needed to “take one step at a time, always ask questions and [remember that] no one is perfect.” This allowed Raul to become comfortable in a new environment and excel as an Intern. Since that first professional job experience Raul embodied the notion that with each position he holds a potential career opportunity is at stake.

Raul’s next successful venture came after heeding the advice of his family and Urban Alliance to broaden his horizon. Ultimately, Raul chose to take the opportunity to study abroad in Brazil. Raul initially believed this would be a great escape from the daily grind of working two jobs and going to school full time, almost like a school vacation. However, he soon realized, “this was a chance for me to learn a new language and appreciate and respect a new culture.” By the end of the semester Raul experienced not only academic growth but personal growth as well; he was able to gain more confidence and become more independent. Raul encourages all Alumni to take advantage of a study abroad program. “Sometimes the fear of leaving the comfort of your home prevents people from experiencing new opportunities, but I think every student should experience traveling to another country.” We agree whole heartedly!

The Alumni Services department has the great pleasure of serving ambitious young professionals who are committed to giving back, and Raul is no exception. Raul has been of great service to UA through his attendance at community service projects, leadership during college tours for current Urban Alliance Interns on his college campus and participation on various Alumni panels. He consistently presents himself in a professional manner. His email communication, sharp professional attire, and work ethic demonstrate his ability to serve as a role model for UA Interns and staff alike.

When Urban Alliance was approached by Jeff Zients’ office for a polished Alumni intern, we called Raul without hesitation. We knew Raul would represent himself and Urban Alliance with the standard of excellence we encourage all of our Alumni to uphold. Raul did just that. Furthermore, as a result of Raul’s ability to recognize opportunities, he wrote and submitted a proposal to his school to receive college credit for continuing his internship with Mr. Zients this fall semester. We applaud Raul for his initiative, ability to foster relationships, and openness to new opportunities.

It is always a great feeling when we see Alumni take advantage of these benefits for their own success. We encourage you all, in your personal and professional journey, to seize opportunities, stay connected and actively network. Keep up the wonderful work Raul!