The John F. Lopez (JFL) Internship takes place each summer to provide professional development opportunities for undergraduate students. John F. Lopez (JFL) Interns are currently enrolled undergraduate students who demonstrate leadership potential, willingness to be challenged, and the desire to share their talents and skills with their community. Named in honor of NHI Board Trustee John F. Lopez, the John F. Lopez Internship is designed to honor the spirit, creativity, and talent exemplified by its founder. Of NHI’s 100,000 alumni, John F. Lopez was recognized with the creation of this internship due to his contributions to the growth of NHI. John was a student participant in the very first Texas statewide LDZ program in 1983. He also volunteered for eight successive years of NHI programs, served as a full-time staff member in Maxwell (NHI Headquarters), and is now a member of the NHI Board of Trustees. Among other contributions, John founded the College Register and internship programs.



The purpose of the John F. Lopez Internship is to provide undergraduate student leaders a means to expand their professional capacities to work as mentors, research assistants, program planners, event promoters, and other opportunities within the scope of NHI’s work. The internship also helps JFLs critically examine areas where they could contribute their talents to the community as future leaders.


About NHI

The National Hispanic Institute aims to expand the base of leadership in the Latino community. Annually, NHI conducts leadership programs for students ranging in age from high school freshmen to college seniors. Programs of the National Hispanic Institute include the Great Debate, the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, Collegiate World Series, Abroad Language Programs, John F. Lopez Internship, Collegiate Leadership Network, and Celebración. Special consortiums of the National Hispanic Institute include the College Register and Community Leadership Center. Annually, 80-100 undergraduate institutions actively work with the Institute in Latino student outreach and our community leadership council actively seeks out and mobilizes students to engage in NHI leadership experiences. Additionally, NHI achieves its level of community impact through the contribution of volunteer parents and 1,000 NHI alumni each year.

Our annual report in 2018 showed that 98% of NHI’s 2,500 students enroll in college, and 27% pursue out-of-state education. NHI members enter their college campus communities already having completed 2-3 years of leadership development, and many aim to serve in leadership roles in clubs and organizations. Since 1979, NHI has served over 100,000 youth in more than twenty states and six countries. Notable alums include Adriel Lares, CFO of Fastly; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman, New York D-14; Ms. Xochitl Torres-Small, Congresswoman, New Mexico D-2; Mr. Nicholas Gonzalez, Actor and Executive Producer, Hollywood, CA; and Lina Hidalgo – Harris County Judge (Texas), among others.


How You, Your Business, or Your College Can Participate

Colleges and universities sponsor students to participate in the John F. Lopez Internship for 10 weeks during the summer. The internship program curriculum includes projects based learning at the National Hispanic Institute, office duties/responsibilities, research initiatives, participation in a minimum of two (2) summer leadership programs and training with NHI President & Founder, Ernesto Nieto. John F. Lopez Interns also have the opportunity to represent their university/college department as student mentors and advocates for their sponsoring university.

Long-term learning initiatives include independent projects carried out at the office of the National Hispanic Institute. Independent projects are generally in the field of research and development, cultural/historical creations, project management, and student education. All summer interns are required to give a public presentation to NHI’s executive staff as well as present a written report to their sponsoring institutions.


2020 Update – Working from Home due to Covid-19:



JFL interns and NHI Microinterns will be asked to work from home, and provide their own equipment for work, including: a quiet space to work, a professional background for digital conferences, a cellular telephone, computer equipment with capacities for work/meetings/calls, a head set for listening, professional attire for online meetings, and basic office supplies such as pens and a notebook.


Living & Working in Maxwell

The National Hispanic Institute office is housed in a three-story Victorian-style home on 46 acres of land in Maxwell, Texas. JFL Interns live in the nearby town of San Marcos, a small university town of about 80,000 people located 10-15 minutes from Maxwell. San Marcos is known for its historic charm, proximity to Austin (25 miles to the North) and San Antonio (45 miles to the South), and a beautiful spring-fed river. On a small scale, San Marcos offers all the services of large cities including restaurants, local recreation and site seeing, tubing, cinemas, gift shops, and a large outlet mall. Both Austin and San Antonio offer major airports, cultural/historical activities and cosmopolitan lifestyles.

Financing the Lopez Internship

NHI seeks financial support from institutions of higher learning, business sponsors, and otherwise to support college students’ professional development. These entities may provide funding to NHI to administer as part of our 501 c 3 non profit status, or may provide funding directly to students who are assigned to work with NHI.

● Enrollment offices at colleges/universities seeking to increase their visibility in communities served by NHI may sponsor their current college students to serve as JFL Interns. Interns will serve as mentors in at least two summer leadership programs, and also play important outreach roles for you at our digital college fair, correspondence with students and parents, and general questions about their college experience.

● Institutional relations and public affairs offices may be interested in broadening the institutional brand among parents and students in NHI’s broad national and international network. Interns will be able to make headway in digital branding through NHI’s mediums.

● Departments within universities that are specifically seeking for their students to learn more about working with Latino communities, and bringing their work-life experiences back into the classroom to enrich the learning environment.

● Federal funds specially designated for you to increase diversity, serve underserved populations, or increase outreach into special populations may be identified to support current students who can be assigned to work with the NHI student community.

● Businesses that wish to sponsor an intern may do so, and NHI observes the same practices for all interns.

Contact Us

The timeline for sponsoring a student is through June 15, 2020, but please contact us at any time for openings.

Interested universities, businesses, and students should contact the Office of Special Projects at the National Hispanic Institute at (512) 357-6137 to work out financial arrangements.


Criteria for admission into a internship position include the following:

  • 3.0 grade point average or higher
  • Demonstration of leadership qualities in school and/or work
  • Completed application
  • Completion of at least one year of college at the time of the internship
  • Recommended: Former participation in National Hispanic Institute programming

Students should be prepared to ask for an official transcript and write a 500 word essay describing their interest in being a JFL intern and any anticipated contributions to NHI as well as the JFL Internship Program.


Students, colleges, and businesses interested in arranging JFL Internship should submit student applications and letters of sponsorship intent to the National Hispanic Institute no later than June 15, 2020 Sponsors should make out all contributions for the summer internship to the National Hispanic Institute. Contributions are due prior to the student’s first day of work, and must fully cover the $2,500 stipend and $500 administrative fee. Travel will not be required for Summer 2020 JFL Interns due to COVID-19.

Contact Information

Please complete the 2020 JFL Application along with any required documents no later than June 15, 2020 and return to:

Alma Raymer
Associate Director for Enrollment & Institutional Relations

Non-Profit Organization

The National Hispanic Institute is a private, 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. All contributions to the John F. Lopez Internship are tax-deductible.