On April 1st, Her Campus UPR celebrated its third anniversary. This welcoming individual lent us his home to be able to do so. But to be honest, this is just a small detail of the many things this guy is. He is thriving and secure about himself. He walks around with the confidence that many of us aspire to have. At such a young age, he has achieved so many things, you could get lost in translation trying to name them right now. It is ironic how the media portrays UPR students as uncivilized, uneducated barbaric beings, yet we have so much potential around campus that doesn't get the recognition it truly deserves because of the stereotypes that walk with us. Without further ado, meet this Week's Campus Profile.
Name: Jose A. Molinelli
Major: Political Science
Hometown: San Juan
HCUPR: Tell us about yourself.
Well as an introductory psychological self diagnosis I can start by saying that due to my unusual excitement when faced with the unknown, the strange and my never ending quest to help others achieve their maximum potential, I deduct that I might suffer from a bit of irrational optimism, ambitious romanticism, considerate masochism and suicidal empathy. Besides this, the rest is demographic and sociographic history. I was born in San Juan Puerto Rico in 1996. I’m a lover of all crafts and I'm especially fond of illusionism, music and culinary arts. My favorite villain is Hannibal Lecter and my favorite hero is Sherlock Holmes. My favorite movie is “Melancholia” by Lars Von Trier and my favorite song is “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. I’m a collector of old books and I’m a history freak, due mostly to obsession with the "Total War” series of PC games. I love my family, friends and my university, and I would fight to the death for the three of them. I’m enthralled by ideological divergence and the effects of a sincere and honest smile which is why I always aspire to make people happy, even if I fail from time to time.
HCUPR: What are your plans long term and short term?
Every time I answer this question, my plans have changed drastically. Last time, I wanted to be an astrophysicist and the time before that I was convinced that the path to enlightenment was through the academic rigidity of Jesuit ecclesiastical formation. Regardless of a change of plans one thing is certain. I’m obsessed with the enablement and empowerment of the disadvantaged, forgotten, marginalized and rejected especially those who dare to dream against the norm. It is my promethean bane, flaw and passion.
In the short term, I want to finish my honor’s program research on Caribbean maritime trade and commerce since I consider this knowledge essential towards developing and enabling an autonomous Puerto Rican economy. I’m also planning on creating a non-profit organization dedicated to voicing the concerns and proposals in the legislative and executive arena of marginalized, disabled and/or ignored groups and sectors in Puerto Rico. Finally, I would like to graduate, just as any other student who worries about our public higher educational system would, and move on to a higher degree that permits me to enable more people to succeed in their personal goals and strife.
In the long term, I would like to obtain a master’s degree in Public Administration and move on to a joint JD/MBA program. After this, I plan on joining the Foreign service as an introductory experience to the general functionality of global affairs and interactions. Finally, I would like to devote the rest of my life to enabling and empowering populations and sectors through social entrepreneurship at a global scale where it might be needed with a higher priority for Puerto Rico. My success shall be measured by how many people I enabled and empowered towards reaching their goals and aided in subjugating their own demons. Unfortunately, I can proudly say that no amount shall ever be enough and that no matter what I do, I’ll never be able to accomplish my goal of global enablement, as I’m extremely excited to say I’ll never stop trying. Here my considerate masochism is made ever more evident.
HCUPR: You’re a current member of the Student Council in the University. What’s your position and what is your role in the organization?
I’m currently the Vice President of the Social Sciences Faculty Student Council. My job is to look after, coordinate and communicate with the student organizations that are endemic and pertinent to our faculty. I also serve as a right hand to the President of the student council. In the past, I’ve served as both treasurer and secretary for said student organization.
HCUPR: How was your experience in the Cordova and Fernos internship?
The Cordova & Fernos internship was both a great professional development experience and globally eye opening occurrence. I had the opportunity to work in the office of Congressman Charles B. Rangel who was the legendary representative of New York’s District 13 that encompasses the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. Unlike most internships sites, this office gave me real world, hands on experience and delegated me responsibilities that I would have never thought were suitable for an intern in any scenario, yet I did appreciate them ever so greatly. I was enabled and trained to deal with fast paced bills and resolutions, lobbying and interpersonal congressional communications. The office was extremely fast paced and your free time was usually dedicated to making the rest of the day much more efficient. I had the opportunity of meeting most of the Senators of the United States Senate, and a wide range of representatives, because of all the day to day interactions that were pertinent to legislative action. Although it was a very intense work environment, it was an experience that shaped my professional functionality for better. If there was such a thing as a professional boot camp, that was it.
Besides the professional aspect of the internship, I learned how to manage my limited resources more efficiently and how to put them to better use by investing them in experiences rather than things or commodities. With what we saved we managed to pull off a 12 hour car drive to Canada where we visited Niagara and Toronto. During the month of October, I also eliminated one thing from my bucket list by traveling to Salem, Massachusetts on the date of Halloween. This was simply a magical time to go to such an enchanted yet grim fracture of North American colonial history. I also managed to gain access to various embassy events and symphonic orchestra performances during the semester. The experiences lived and the people I met during that semester and the friendships I forged shall remain with me till the day nothing remains of me at all.
HCUPR: How is your current experience working with Senator Vargas Vidot?
I consider this experience a test of all that I lived during the Cordova & Fernos internship. Work in the Senator’s office is intense and very much concerned with enablement and empowerment of the marginalized. This is a perfect fit to my passion which is why I applied to work with his office. Although I began not long ago, already I have had the chance to participate in various hearings, prepare briefings and draft bills and resolutions for the senator. I have also gotten to meet with various leaders of a diverse spectrum of sectors in Puerto Rico and aid them in proposing legislation for matters that are currently a problem in their respective interests. Transparency, objectivity and efficiency are definitely the watch words of this office and as a legislative aide I’m very excited to see what new developments shall this fiscal year and legislative cycle bring.
HCUPR: Any particular experience that changed you? Why?
In the Summer of 2016, I was a working as a Market Analysis Intern in the US Department of Commerce as a part of The Fund for American Studies Institute of Economics and international Affairs. Midway through June, the PROMESA Bill reached the Senate Floor. As a staunch believer in autonomy and self-government, I spread the word amongst Puerto Ricans residing in DC to enable a lobbying process against the bill, knowing that it would fiscally enslave our chances of autonomous economic development and it would serve only as a financial drain for the 72-billion-dollar debt, instead of the mechanism to enable growth and development. I was soon contacted by Federico de Jesus who was lobbying against the bill and became my mentor in legislative action. For an entire month, we lobbied day to day in the offices of the Senators of the Unites States Senate. Our nights were drained by writing memos and letters to advisors and aides in regards to what the bill truly entailed. We communicated with both conservatives and liberals and with both chiefs of staffs and senators. Trying to balance my work hours, academic curriculum and my efforts in the case against PROMESA became nearly impossible. Both supervisors and professors started to call my attention for not being present but I knew that for Puerto Rico I had to persevere for the cause.
We soon tried to gain the attention of the media but no one wanted our story because it was not headline worthy. We were aided by a coalition of diaspora Puerto Ricans that continued to call and email senatorial offices against the PROMESA bill. Soon, the finals days of our lobbying came when the bill reached the Senate floor for the voting process. I had invested most of my free time and resources to this cause only to hear that the bill passed and that a fiscal control board was now to be imposed on Puerto Rico. I had given it my all and I had failed. Never had an experience left me with such a foul aftertaste. Many who said that they would support us backed off as quickly as money came to follow, and even our own government lobbied against our cause. Many people we were trying to defend condemned our actions but we persevered. So far, PROMESA has consumed more than 20 million dollars from the Puerto Rican government in its operational upkeep costs alone. Although this experience definitely gave me the necessary experience to function fluently in a lobbying and legislative environment, it served as a starting point towards my discontent with contemporary ways of government. If it were not for this experience I would have never considered by optimist irrational in the first place and I would have not delved deeper into the legislative arena in the hopes of enabling others to fight against what they disagree with.
HCUPR: How does your experience in your internship combine with what you’re studying?
As a student of Political Science my internships in government have helped me better understand the practical and legal concepts of federal, state, municipal and unitary governments. My work in the US Department of Commerce, The US House of Representatives and the State Senate of Puerto Rico has helped me put into practice and criticize that theoretical knowledge of government functionality that is provided to me at the University. As a student of Political Science, I seek to develop new ways of thinking politics to allow the enablement and empowerment of people living under a political system. It is essential that I see how government currently functions to better envision how it should function and enact reform.
HCUPR: Someone you look up to. Why?
Definitely my mother. She is my living concept of a promethean hero that sacrifices all to give others a chance at success. I could think of a thousand historical figures such as Churchill, Albizu, FDR, Wallace, Rachmaninoff, Joan of Arc, Luther, Allende, Garibaldi, Kepler and Socrates that I could speak of in an endless cliché of false emulation as many do but truly all of these pale in comparison to my mother’s capacity of enablement and empowerment. When I was bullied and made fun of, she was the one that would instill a sense of transcendence in me that I still do not understand. She constantly inspires and enables others to do selfless acts of kindness through her work as the Executive of the Boy Scouts of America in Puerto Rico. She literally has created an upwards of people doing good deeds and if that is not heroic I don’t know what is. She cares little for rules and is a rebel by heart and has always followed her morality and sense of social duty. Whenever I’m in need of council, she is there for me and many others and reminds me that you only live once. Not only has she saved my father’s life several times and built the lives of my siblings, she has made me who I am today. She made me into an enabler. I am forever in her debt. She is also my provider so I’m sure that if I were to use this question to mention anyone else I’d be roofless the next day and with good and just cause.
HCUPR: A phrase that has impacted you. Why?
“Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven”- John Milton, Paradise Lost
There is no nobility in submission. We must all be followers and leaders in diverse point of our lives but to forsake one’s self for the commodities that another can provide is to forsake your only chance at absolute happiness and freedom. Regardless of how selfless of kind your pursuit may be it is the principle of a free life the constant aspiration for control over one’s own matters. Individual freedom is the absolute sin of which heavenly paradises are built of. Whether it be in the malebolges of Hell or in the gates of Saint Peter it is you who must take control over your own matters and nobody else. We should all live and die by freedom and should we be enslaved, let it be only by the unquenchable desire to make other more free than what they currently are.
HCUPR: Any challenges that you had overcome that made you who you are today?
Although I’ve had very close brushes with death, and I’ve seen both the darkest and most beautiful trenches this island has to offer, I must admit that it is merely by association of those that have suffered directly rather than me being directly impacted. My mundane troubles pale in comparison to those of my companions, friends, colleagues and workmates. Because of this, and my obsessive desire to enable others, I have always had a rather unorthodox tendency of making other people’s problems my own. A suicidal empathy I would call it, where it was imperative to provide a solution to the strife of others. If I had to speak of one problem I would reference some cases of bullying in my late years of elementary and early years of high school that made me appreciate myself because of my “stand your ground” policy. Besides this, I’m not the owner or proprietor of most of the troubles I’ve solved or at least tried to dealt with that have for better or worse changed me.
HCUPR: Any words to the students at the University?
We tend to live a very rushed lifestyle where we have little to no time for ourselves. We march robotically from the classroom to the work place and from the office to our homes and press the repeat button every evening in hopes that tomorrow shall be better. This aspiration to a better tomorrow has blinded in the road towards achieving a better today. We forget to appreciate ourselves and even less so love ourselves. We seek to be the suit of beauty, cliché intelligence and the actors of a non-personal romantic scenario and over all we seek to be in the front page of any matter that might not even be pertinent to ourselves. To all of you I say: reject the standards of common and the orthodox. Reject complacency and the building block demography that consumes our individuality. To be a leader for others you must first be a follower of your own desires and dreams. This is not to say that you shouldn’t work hard, which you must definitely do, but certainly when you are doing so, make sure that you’ll be prideful to know that you shall be the very best at it in your own way. Regardless of what you are studying, doing, working and/or researching on you owe yourself an oath of self-loyalty which you must never break for any feeling of contempt of commodity that you see fit when you feel you are about to break. Aspire always to the top and to absolute happiness. To keep this oath, it is imperative that you dedicate time to yourself and cherish your own dreams and desires. Sit in a garden and contemplate nature, go to your favorite music stop and listen endlessly to the tracks, rejoice in the chaos of a mosh pit or in the rhythms of a good salsa night. Do not let others always consume your time, lest it be those you owe your life to. if you work for a better tomorrow or a more intense today remember, always aspire to be happy. You have only one lifelong chance to do it. Finally, look at those around you. Many of them are facing troubles they can’t handle by themselves. Respect their limits but always be proactive in aiding them when they are in need. There is no nobler pursuit than enabling others in their quest for happiness and freedom.
HCUPR: Describe yourself in 3 words.
Charismatic, Enabler, Ambitious