Spartan Spotlight: Barbara Hernandez, Junior Political Science Major

Barbara Hernandez with Senator Martin Sandoval

Barbara Hernandez (right) with Senator Martin Sandoval (center) at Senator Sandoval's Springfield office.

As a child, Barbara Hernandez, a junior political science major and Aurora native, dreamed of attending Aurora University. While in high school, Hernandez became inspired by State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia and fascinated with local politics. Upon graduating from East Aurora High School in 2010, Hernandez followed her passion and decided to major in political science. She attended Waubonsee Community College until 2012, and is now living her dream while finishing her political science degree at AU.

Being the first in her family to attend college, Hernandez enjoys the convenience of being close to home and the ability to stay involved in her community. And for the past two years, Hernandez has had the opportunity to intern for and work alongside Chapa LaVia, her high school inspiration. As the State Representative’s Assistant Chief of Staff, Hernandez has been able to develop a better understanding of current politics, and interact with local and state politicians who have given her great advice on how to succeed in politics.

Through her experiences as Assistant Chief of Staff, Chapa LaVia has become a great mentor for Hernandez, who hopes to one day run for a political position representing the City of Aurora. “Through my internship, I have learned the needs and wants of the community and what should be fixed in the future to provide the citizens of Aurora a good living,” explains Hernandez.

Hernandez feels the professors in the AU political science department have helped her further her understanding of politics by teaching concepts in the classroom that she is able to apply to her real-world internship.

“Being able to learn about past and present affairs makes me understand why it is important to fight for what you believe in, but also fight for others who do not know how to start expanding their voices.” says Hernandez.

Hernandez has not been shy about taking an active role in the community. Since March 2012, she has held the elected position of Precinct Committee Member for Ward 3 Precinct 5 in Aurora, where she has gained experience in small elections and interacted with elected officials to influence legislation locally. While in this position, Hernandez also went through training to become a deputy registrar, giving her the ability to register people to vote.

“The City of Aurora has given me so much knowledge in my young 20 years, and I want to be able to give back to this community,” says Hernandez.

While balancing her involvement in local politics, Hernandez continues to focus on her studies at AU and anticipates graduating in the spring of 2014. She hopes to gain as much experience as she can in the Aurora community to prepare herself to run for another local political position in the future.