Carlos Hernandez, gulfton student, in front of supreme court building

Carlos Hernandez participated in a semester-long School for Ethics and Global Leadership program

One week after the House of Representatives announced its Impeachment Inquiry on September 24, 2019, Carlos Hernandez from YES Prep Gulfton was in line at 4 a.m. for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing at the Rayburn House Office building. He was one of 24 students with the School for Ethics and Global Leadership program who were able to witness first-hand as Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified. Hernandez and many of these students would later be seen on the New York Times homepage, sitting behind Maguire.

Building upon his YES Prep experience

Carlos Hernandez, a junior at YES Prep Gulfton, is the fourth member of his family to attend YES Prep. His two older sisters and older brother all attended YES Prep and he wanted to have the same experience they did. “When my older sister was at YES Prep Gulfton, she had the opportunity to participate in a summer program at Sewanee: The University of the South and do another summer program in Colorado.” Therefore, when Carlos was looking into Student Enrichment Opportunities he could participate in, he decided he wanted to take the experience a step further.

School for Ethics and Global Leadership

With history being his favorite subject, and interested to learn more about ethics, Carlos applied during his sophomore year to study away for a semester at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership (SEGL) in Washington D.C. He was pleasantly surprised when he learned he was accepted in SEGL’s Fall 2020 Class. 

The School for Ethics and Global Leadership is a selective, semester-long residential program for motivated high school juniors from across the United States. SEGL offers a unique curriculum emphasizing ethical thinking skills, leadership development and international affairs.

Being present for history

When the impeachment inquiry was announced by the House of Representatives last fall, members of Carlos’ class were interested in viewing the hearings live. SEGL students were some of the only public guests allowed into the testimony of Joseph Maguire, with a majority of the remaining seats in the room being given to journalists from major media outlets. Following the hearing, Carlos was interviewed in Spanish by reporters from Voz de América where he had the opportunity to share his perspective, in his first language!

At SEGL, Carlos also had the opportunity to attend special seminar classes that were taught by: Lissa Muscatine, who was Hillary Clinton’s top speechwriter for nearly twenty years; Ambassador George Moose, who was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the Rwandan Genocide; Eric Schmitt, a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times; among many others.

Carlos Hernandez being interviewed by reporter

Life after SEGL

Leaving YES Prep and Houston to study for a semester was challenging. However, Carlos acknowledges that studying at SEGL created a lot of opportunities for him. “All 23 of my peers at SEGL gave me new things to think about.” The SEGL director challenged each student to learn one new thing about each other, saying if you hadn’t you failed the experience. Carlos shared that thanks to these new perspectives and new experiences, he is driven to help his community and make it better.

Being back at Gulfton this semester, Carlos is still keeping up with the latest impeachment updates. “I am still keeping in touch with my friends from SEGL. I got a New York Times subscription and read it on the commute to school each morning. We are always asking each other ‘Did you hear about this?’ or ‘Are you watching this?’ We were even live-tweeting about primary debates. A lot of us have very different opinions about current events, but we all have a passion. I am seeing how the world is changing and want to stay on top of it.”

I am seeing how the world is changing and want to stay on top of it.”

Applying for YES Prep Student Opportunities

Although Carlos missed Houston and his family and friends, Carlos loved living in D.C., even if for one semester. “It’s our nation’s capital and we lived in a dorm on Capitol Hill. Each morning I would go running by monuments. I would walk by the Capitol and Supreme Court building to attend classes.” Studying away for a semester also helped him feel more comfortable with the idea of moving away for college. “I am more equipped to do it now and ready to go after my goals.”

As for other YES Prep students who are considering applying for one of many Student Opportunities presented by YES Prep, Carlos' advice is, “Just try it and apply. I had doubts about applying to SEGL. I turned in my application right before the deadline and didn’t think I would get in. I had a blast and loved the program. It would have not been possible if I had not tried. Get out of your comfort zone. If it’s not scary, it’s not fun!”

SEGL Class of Fall 2019

Deadline to apply for School for Ethics and Global Leadership is February 17, 2020

SEGL recruits students from YES Prep each year. Applications are currently open. For information on applying to SEGL contact William Keaton, the Student Opportunities and Special Events Associate or your campus Student Opportunities Coordinator. The deadline to apply is February 17, 2020.


William Keaton has worked at YES Prep since 2018.  He currently serves as the Student Opportunities and Special Events Associate on the Home Office’s College Initiatives Team. William graduated from Schreiner University with a BA in Political Science and Mathematics and earned his Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2013 from Ball State University. Prior to coming to YES, William worked for various colleges and universities, including spending four years as the Assistant Director of Student Life and First Year Experience at Eastern Kentucky University. A career educator focused on College Access, William Keaton volunteers with the College and University Food Bank Alliance and with Toastmasters International where he helps facilitate their education programs. In his free time, he can often be found at Sugar Land Skeeter’s games or the movies.