Defying the Odds; ¡Si Se Pudo!

By Yoselyn Roman-Rodriguez, Fellow Class of 2018
University of Colorado at Denver

My first year of college was not a smooth transition from high school. I found myself passing classes and struggling to keep my scholarship. I began to question if college was even the right path for me. I knew then that I would have to make a decision – drop out or consider a different major. I decided I would give it another try and switched majors from Architectural Engineering to Political Science. 

My second year of college was smoother but equally difficult. I no longer had studio courses, but instead had courses such as, American Politics– I had entered an unknown world. I relied on my advisor to guide me on my new journey, but there was only so much she could do. However, thanks to her, I applied to the Law School Yes, We Can program. 

After applying to the program, I was filled with anxiety waiting for the program’s response – I was ecstatic. At the interview, I met Judge Arguello who inspired and motivated me after sharing herreasonsto start the program. Being chosen to be a fellow of the program sparked a fire within me – to continue the law school path.

I was so nervous the first day I met my mentors that I anxiously waited for my mentors to find where I was sitting. My team was a perfect match. Russell, Candyce, and Vanessa have done an exceptional job at not only listening but giving advice. I am honored to have them in my life.

I grew up with a single mother and until I met Russell, I did not know what it was like to have a male figure rooting for me. He has been supportive and always makes sure I am on track. I remember the time we had lunch in his office. I was worrying about my LSAT prep course and when I should take it. He listened to every concern I had and then made me realize that if I kept coming up with excuses I would never sign up for the exam. He encouraged me to take risks. But the thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that he believed in me. 

I noticed that I surround myself with empowered and strong women, two of which are Candyce and Vanessa. These two women have taught me not to give up. Candyce always makes sure that I am on track to meet deadlines and with everyday life. Candyce reminds me that its ok to take a step back if I need to and makes sure I recognize the growth I have achieved. She keeps me grounded. Vanessa is always there to root for me, whether it be a good grade or my on-campus activism. Vanessa and I share a special connection because we are closer in age, but also because she makes me realize that I am worthy of wanting more for myself. Vanessa could be studying but still makes the time to hear me out; she is a big sister. 

I can be my harshest critic, but I am extremely fortunate to have my mentors to remind me of my worth. LSYWC has given me the opportunity to bond and share my experiences with people who have already gone through it. I hope one day I can do the same for someone else. 

Networking Not Only in the Field of Law

By Jasmine Luna, Fellow Class of 2014
Regis University

No matter what career path one chooses, it is essential to have mentors to help one network and seek new opportunities.  Since forming part of my high school’s mock trial team, I have had the best mentors, all of whom have provided me with incredible advice and support. This past year I mentioned to my former mock trial coach, Dermot Lynch, that I was interested in majoring in business.  However, I was not completely sure whether I wanted to major in business administration, with an emphasis in finance or international business, or whether I wanted to major in accounting.  

Since Dermot is also on the Board of Directors of LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede, he connected me to Anna Halaburda, a CPA who is also on the Board. I met with Anna at her office and I was able to learn exactly what an accountant does from an accountant herself!  She explained to me that, although both majors I am considering are great options, she could give me her perspective from being an accountant.  I learned that an accountant has a greater opportunity to move up within a company, such as becoming a chief financial officer, rather than being limited to certain paths one may have with a business administration degree.  In addition, accountants critically analyze situations, which is also going to be essential for law school.  Anna also brought to my attention that becoming a CPA also requires an exam, just as law school graduates take the Bar exam.  

After meeting with Anna, I was still confused as to what major would be best for me.  I thought I would think it over through the summer and make the appropriate changes to my schedule for next semester, if I ended up changing my mind.  Fortunately, Anna offered me an internship position to assist her throughout the summer in order to help me decide whether or not accounting would be the right major for me.  This opportunity could not have come at a better time because not only had I had been struggling over the decision as to my major, but also, whether to take a summer course or do something else during the summer.  What better way to make up my mind than from getting personal experience in accounting?  

It has been a few weeks now since I have started my internship and I could not be happier!  From day one, everyone at the office has been nothing but welcoming and helpful.  I am learning something new every day about what an accountant does and what computer software they use.  I began my internship by using the accounting software, Sage 50, to reconcile multiple accounts.  Next, I was taught the whole process of how the online bank statements of companies eventually turn into the information that I reconciled on Sage 50 through a series of steps.  As I begin to gain a better understanding of each task I am assigned, I am being given more and more responsibility.  I am looking forward to seeing how much more I will learn by the end of this summer!  I appreciate that, through this internship, I am given the trust to handle such important accounting processes and data.  I know that I will benefit very much from such an experience, regardless of whether or not I go into accounting.  I am grateful to Dermot for introducing me to Anna, because without that introduction, I would not have had such an amazing opportunity.  I have come to realize how lucky I am to be involved in a program that offers so many connections and networking opportunities to its Fellows.  I am glad to be surrounded by so many people and mentors that not only want to see me succeed, but also, are willing to help me succeed. 

Balance and Opportunity What Do My Mentors Have In Store?

By Alexis Clark, Fellow Class of 2014
Colorado State University

This past school year was challenging overall.  There were some new challenges of trying to balance working full-time with going to school full-time and taking 17 credit hours.  As I think about this past school year, most of my favorite memories have to do with LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede - from being able to tour the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center and having the opportunity to talk to Chief Justice Nancy Rice, to the last workshop which was similar to a “speed dating” event.  We got to meet so many different lawyers and I got to actually hear, from the lawyers themselves, what they do and their favorite part about their job.  Up until that event, I never wanted to be a prosecutor, but the two lawyers who were at the prosecution table changed my whole mindset about what it meant to be a prosecutor.  I also met two fabulous attorneys who work at the Colorado Attorney General’s office and that sounded like the coolest job in the world.  What I am happiest about, however, is that I gained so much knowledge about the different areas of the law and I met a lawyer who is located in Fort Collins, where I attend college.  I was able to intern with this firm all summer.  Truly, LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has been one of the best things to happen to me, not just because of the connections and knowledge it has given me, but also, because when all else is not going as planned, I know that my mentors and LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede will have something in store for me that is going to make me happy and excited.  I am super excited to see what LSYWC has planned for the 2014 Fellows as we enter our junior year and it is crunch time for law school.  It is amazing how fast it is come to be and I am just so grateful that I have this program to keep me going.