By John Lynds
The late Judge Mario Umana, a liberal Democrat who as a senator and judge inspired his family and constituents in East Boston with the philosophy that we all have an obligation and duty to contribute to the subtotal of humanity. Since 2010 his legacy has been honored in a very special way through the Mario Umana Fellowship in Public Service.
This summer, three East Boston High School students were picked and are currently participating in a prestigious public service fellowships this summer.
Nicole Oliveira, 17, Ivan Martinez, 17, and David Wilson, 18, have all been selected to work a paid internship in public service and/or law. The Fellowship, co-founded by State Rep. Andrian Madaro and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s Ernani DeAraujo, seeks to give East Boston students opportunities similar to the Latin School based Ward Fellowship Program that both Madaro and DeAraujo participated in while students there.
This summer, Oliveira chose to work in the arena of law and is at the East Boston District Court doing an internship with Judge John MacDonald while Martinez and Wilson chose government and are doing internship for City Councilor Sal LaMattina and State Sen. Joseph Boncore respectively.
“At Boston Latin, Ernani and I experienced how an internship in government can transform a young person’s life,” said Madaro. “We wanted to give the same opportunity to kids at East Boston High.”
Oliveira is the Umana Fellowships first female recipient and is a rising senior at East Boston High School. She’s received awards and recognition for her athletic success in volleyball and indoor track.
Oliveira said she is interested in anything related to law and hopes to one day have a career in criminal law. She sees the fellowship as an opportunity to learn how government services help people in need.
“I love that they really treat me like a member of the courthouse staff and not as a kid,” said Oliveira. “They have been giving me a lot of responsibilities like looking up past cases to compare to cases before the court. It’s so exciting. I’ve always been interested in law so when it was offered to me it was such an opportunity I couldn’t turn it down. So far this has been everything I could have hoped.”
Martinez is also a rising senior at East Boston High School. His course load includes AP Language, AP Calculus, AP Spanish, Chemistry Honors and American History Honors.
He’s been recognized for his leadership roles in the Debate Team, TAG Club, and Swim Team. He is interested in learning how common progress and honest public management and increase the wellness of a community and its people.
“I have always been interested in politics so working in City Hall is a great opportunity,” said Martinez. “I love meeting all the people in the community and at City Hall and learning about all the work that they do. The workplace environment at Councilor LaMattina’s office is so interesting because we are always trying to help people.”
Wilson is a rising senior as well at East Boston High School. Wilson is a Junior ROTC marksman, and is enrolled in AP History, AP Language, and Honors Computer Science.
His said his goal is to observe how public service helps people in the community he was born and raised in. He would like to learn how collaboration between law enforcement, elected officials, and community members can help make East Boston a safer, better neighborhood.
“I have always been a student of history and government has always played a big hand in history,” said Wilson. “When I found out about the fellowship I immediately jumped at the opportunity to work in a government office. It has been really cool to witness first hand how government and policy play out. I could not have asked for a better job opportunity.”
City Councilor Sal LaMattina said it is always a pleasure to have a Umana fellow in his office each summer.
“They are some of the brightest kids that I have ever met and they are very eager to learn the ins and outs of city government,” said LaMattina. “I think that this is an excellent program and applaud Rep. Madaro and Ernani DeAraujo for creating opportunities like these to the youth of East Boston.”
Sen. Boncore said the Mario Umana Public Service Fellowship is an incredible program that provides High School students with the early opportunity to gain substantive experience in Government.
” David Wilson, is an absolute asset to my office,” said Boncore. “He worked diligently with me and my office in tracking Senate sessions, following legislation, and on constituent services. David displayed an uncommon passion for public service, I am proud to have him as a member of my team, he has a bright future in Government.”
DeAraujo added, “The Umana Fellowship would not be possible without the support of the East Boston community. We especially want to thank our elected officials, sponsors, and all those who help make the program a success.”
This summer’s Mario Umana Fellowship in Public Service recipients Nicole Oliveira, Ivan Martinez, David Wilson. All three East Boston High Schoolers have all been selected to work a paid internship in public service and/or law.