Hometown: Miami, FL
High School: Coral Reef Senior High School
Intended Major: Political Science, Latin American Studies
Possible Career: Think-tank Analyst
Rafael was selected for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at his high school, graduating with a full International Baccalaureate Diploma. He was the web editor and correspondent for the IB Program's Newsletter. Rafael's extra curricular activities mirrored his interest in international affairs. He was co-founder and vice president of the Model United Nations Club and co-organizer of the school's Amnesty International Sudan Awareness Week. He is aware of global concerns and is dedicated to improving the world around him.
A talented Web designer, Rafael created Websites for local companies and entrepreneurs for three summers and won the "Outstanding Website" recognition in the FBLA Design Competition. He also used his design and computer skills to work as webmaster for the IB Program Online Newsletter and the school literary magazine. He designed pages for his English and Philosophy teachers at school and worked as a graphics designer for the school student handbook as well as for the IB Yearbook. At Swarthmore, he created websites for groups involved in social work, including the website for the Village Education Project, an Ecuador-based NGO founded by fellow Evans Scholar, Katie Chamblee. In the summer between his Freshman and Sophomore year at Swarthmore, Rafael traveled to Rio de Janeiro , Brazil and lent his web and graphics design skills to Catalytic Communities, a Rio-based NGO that seeks to empower and connect local leaders throughout the world. There, he applied his knowledge of Latin America to the management of the organization's Latin American Outreach Campaign, which aimed to promote the use of its web-based Community Solutions Database.(http://www.catcomm.org).
In the summer of 2007 Rafael was selected to travel through Israel for two weeks with the Israel Heritage Program. When he returned to Swarthmore he was able to combine his interest in international policy with his talent for web design for an internship with Swarthmore's War News Radio Iraq, where he helped design the website, conducted interviews and wrote news stories. In Fall of his junior year, Rafael enrolled in the Swarthmore Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he studied transitions to democracy and the media and the War in Iraq.
In summer 2008 he interned with the Latin American Bureau Chief at the Christian Science Monitor, conducting interviews and writing stories for the international newspaper. Post-graduation, Rafael is interning as the Executive Assistant to the National and Field Director at Democracia USA, a national nonpartisan Hispanic civic engagement, voter empowerment, community organizing, and leadership development organization. Rafael is set to enroll in the Master's Program in International Administration at the University of Miami in the spring of 2009. He will also manage his family's vacation rental business.
During his spare time, Rafael enjoys catching up on the news, reading nonfiction, watching independent films and listening to alternative rock.