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A former congressional intern explores ways to serve

This story is the third in a series of profiles on Stanford’s 2021-22 transfer students. The unique cohort of 60+ undergraduates, who range in age from 18 to 51, brings a multitude of perspectives and life experiences to campus.

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

As the son of immigrants from Mexico, Kyle Becerra was drawn to social issues affecting his community in the San Fernando Valley of California and looked for ways to serve them.

It was a quest that led to an internship in the office of former U.S. Rep. Gilbert Cisneros (D-California), through a program that aims to train the next generation of Latinx leaders. Becerra, who joined the congressman’s staff after earning an associate degree in political science at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills, researched the impact of COVID-19 on childcare programs and on Latinx communities in California.

“It was awesome getting to formulate policy recommendations that I could submit to the legislative team and to the congressman,” he said. “It was an honor working there.”

While he’s leaning toward political science as his major, Becerra is also considering other possibilities.

He’s particularly inspired by what he’s learning in two introductory seminars: “Law and the Biosciences,” taught by Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford Law School, and “Demystifying Pregnancy: Physiology, Policy and Politics,” taught by clinical assistant professors Sylvie Blumstein and Cynthia DeTata at Stanford School of Medicine.

“The prospect of having a role in helping improve the health of individuals in new ways is so exciting,” he said.

Along with exploring the academic opportunities at Stanford, Becerra is discovering his creative side. He tried out for the a cappella group, Stanford Mendicants after seeing their performance during New Student Orientation. Through a series of auditions, Becerra, who had never sung publicly before, discovered he is a tenor. While he wasn’t chosen for the group, the impact of finding his voice was profound.

“It was a life-changing experience because I learned a new way to express who I am,” he said. “I’ve never been exposed to much art, music and other forms of creativity. It gave me so much joy to sing. I’m definitely going to continue singing and exploring other creative avenues, that’s for sure.”