Our Fellows
State House Fellowship Program 2012 Fellows
Bernadette Rietz Hometown: Oak Harbor, Washington and the Phillipines

School/Major: Northeastern '14/International Affairs  |  Ethnicity: Filipino-American | Other Language(s): Mandarin Chinese, Filipino/Tagalog

Activities: Office Assistant, International Student Scholar Institute at Northeastern University; Refugee Resettlement Intern, International Institute of Boston

Who I am: I come from two worlds that have fused together to create the unique heritage I associate with today.  I am a first-generation Filipino whose mother immigrated to the United States when I was just a year old. We came to America with my father who was in the Navy at the time. Coming from a multi-cultural household, my mother being Filipino and my father being American, I had the opportunity to experience the world from two different perspectives. My dad, who was raised in the United States for his entire life, had values of individuality, creativity, but also an innate sense of cultural awareness and sensitivity. My mother on the other hand was raised in the Philippines in a single-parent household for most of her life. She taught me the importance of hard work, education, perseverance, and family values.  She is my greatest role model.

What AAWPI means to me:  The most important lesson I will take away from the fellowship program is the importance of believing that, as Asian-American women, we should be more present, we should be more engaged, and that we should have a voice. Otherwise, we let other people make our decisions or we allow ourselves to fade into the background.

Placement: State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester),
Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses
Leading the movement
to engage and empower
Asian-American women
in politics and government