Class of 2014 FELLOWS
Colorado State University
Alexis Clark is a senior at Colorado State University, with a major in Business Administration, a minor in Legal Studies, and certificates in Managing Human Resources, International Business, and Leadership in Organizations. She has been very active at CSU, involved in many clubs and organizations. She is a member of multiple honor societies, a member of the Business Diversity Leadership Alliance, President of Pre-Law Club, and President of the Student Legal Services Advisory Board. As a full-time student, Lexi also has always worked full time. Currently, she is Supervisor of Customer Relations with Frontier Airlines. Alexis studied abroad in Spain the first semester of her senior year because one of her Mentors urged her to do so.
As the first in her family to graduate from high school, Alexis has always had to find her own answers and create her own path. Her parents rooted the drive to be successful in her and showed her, through their life, what she wants. Alexis has seen members of her family struggle with the law and seen how the legal system can take advantage of them because of their lack of education. Alexis has wanted to become a lawyer since the second grade. Alexis has been able to sit in a courtroom and loves every aspect of the law. She has seen the corporate side, government side, and smaller firm side of the law. She loves that you can take so many avenues with the law. She states, “A case is a like a puzzle, each side of the case is given the same pieces and it is up to them to make the best finished puzzle.” Alexis has had multiple internships. She has interned at the City Attorney’s Office, at a law firm in Fort Collins, and at Frontier Airlines with the in-house counsel. As a first generation mixed woman, Alexis, with the aid of LSYWC, is on her way of completing her dream of becoming a successful attorney.
East High School
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Guadalupe Gonzalez comes from a very traditional family whose main focus in life is following religion and getting an education to become someone in life. Her parents did not have the opportunity to get an education and they want her to take advantage of the great opportunity she has to go to college. She was born in Denver, Colorado, but her family is originally from Mexico and immigrated here in 1995.
Guadalupe’s biggest passion is learning something new. She enjoys going to school and meeting new people. She believes that meeting new people gives her the chance to have a broader perspective on life. She aims to be a good influence to others. She currently attends Metropolitan State University in Denver, where she will major in social work and minor in Spanish. Her decision to study social work comes from her desire to help people.
Guadalupe is participating in LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede because she wants to gain support from people who are already familiar with the law and who can advise her on what classes to take to be prepared for law school. Participating in this program will make her confident in herself and help her achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer
Arrupe Jesuit High School
University of Colorado-Boulder
Alma Hinojosa is from Aurora, Colorado. She is in her last year at CU-Boulder, majoring in English Literature with a minor in Ethnic Studies and a certificate in Leadership Studies. Alma’s passion for education has fueled many accomplishments, like studying abroad at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Studying in Tel Aviv has allowed her to understand people, traditions, and culture in a way that cannot be taught in a classroom setting. During her time there, she learned the basics of Hebrew, played goalie for the Tel Aviv University soccer team, and visited areas such as the West Bank.
Upon her return to Colorado, Alma landed an internship at Ball Corporation Headquarters, where she has spent the last two summers. She interned for the Diversity and Inclusion Department, and she learned the importance of a diverse workforce that supports company growth. She also learned the steps necessary to maintain an inclusive and safe environment for all people. During her last year at CU-Boulder, Alma is doing undergraduate student research for the Aquetza Academic Summer Program, focusing on Mexican@ and Chican@ youth sociopolitical development, particularly through science education. After college, she would like to impact her community by obtaining a law degree with a focus on education policy and working towards improving the public education system.
Arrupe Jesuit High School
Jasmine Luna is a first generation Mexican-American, born and raised in Denver, CO. She is currently a senior at Regis University, majoring in Business Administration. After graduation in May 2018, she plans to take a gap year before applying to law school. Her goal is to be enrolled in law school in the fall of 2019.
Jasmine has dreamed of becoming a lawyer since she was a little girl. In high school, she joined her mock trial team and enjoyed the adrenaline rush she felt while standing in front of a jury to deliver an opening statement. Through her mock trial coaches, she discovered Law School Si Se Puede and knew she could not pass up the opportunity to become a Fellow. She has taken advantage of every opportunity the program has had to offer. Jasmine is interested in being a lawyer because she wants to make a difference. She wants to be able to be the voice for people who may not necessarily be able to be heard.
The program has reinforced Jasmine’s desire to become a lawyer throughout the years. She earned an internship at the Denver City Attorney’s Office. There, she saw how the city and county courts work and with what type of cases. She also earned an internship at Molson Coors Brewing Company, working closely with their in-house lawyers. Jasmine discovered that transactional work was also something she might be interested in pursuing. Law School Si Se Puede’s exposure programs have made Jasmine open to and interested in exploring even more areas of the law.
Tomas Manriquez-Hernandez was born to a family escaping persecution by the cartels in Michoacán, Mexico: to a father who was nearly beaten to death and to a mother who was determined to cross the border with him in utero following the incident. Tomas’ parents have now earned legal status, but their experiences earmarked him with a grit and determination that set him on a path to pursue a career that meant more than prosperity for himself. He is a recent graduate of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, where he double-majored in Political Philosophy and Citizenship and Civic Engagement. Tomas intends to take these law and policy studies and effect change not only among his closest circles, but also in the communities that have raised him.
Firsthand experience with the disenfranchisement and abuse of migrant workers, along with the racism and violence in communities of color, only strengthened Tomas’ ability to tackle these problems through law and policy. Thanks to programs like Law School Yes We Can, Tomas has access to mentors and role models who have succeeded and strive to better their community, and they have his same caramel complexion and large deep-set brown eyes. Tomas intends to attend law school and become a prosecutor to balance the scales and ensure that regardless of background, justice is sought. Following his work there, he plans on entering local politics to advocate for the beautiful black and brown communities that have raised him.
Arrupe Jesuit High School
Jennifer Tamariz is a first generation Mexican-American and graduate student at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work. She was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and also attended Loyola University as an undergraduate on a full ride scholarship. She will be graduating in May of 2018 with her Masters in Social Work, specializing in children and families. At Loyola University School of Social Work, Jennifer was awarded the Pathways to Academic, Career, and Employment Success Scholarship – a scholarship awarded to incoming MSW students who come from economically, academically, ethnically and/or environmentally disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate academic success, community engagement and promise in the social work field.
Jennifer’s experiences have inspired her to change the status quo and reduce barriers to equality among all communities. Upon graduation, Jennifer wishes to gain a few years of experience working with children and families, particularly serving the Latino community, prior to attending law school. Jennifer attributes much of her success to Law School…Yes We Can. Her Mentors are some of the most supportive people in her life, and through the program, she has had the opportunity to meet extremely influential Latino leaders. She also served as a legal intern with Molson Coors during the summer of 2017. Jennifer plans to attend law school and develop more tools to advocate for others, as so many legal problems are often intertwined with social and economic issues. Earning a Juris Doctorate will allow her to become an involved leader, helping to create law and social policies to provide comprehensive services and meet the diverse needs of various populations. Jennifer is determined to achieve her career goals despite any obstacle that may come her way.
Silver Creek High School University of Colorado-Boulder
Jesus Valdez is a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. Although at the moment he is still undecided, Jesus is seriously considering a major in International Affairs. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and immigrated with his mother to the United States when he was two. Up until high school, Jesus called Kansas City his home. He moved to Boulder at the beginning of his freshman year of high school and attended Alexander Dawson. He later transferred to and graduated from Silver Creek High School.
Jesus is a fellow with LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede because he is aware of the great opportunities that come from being a part of this program. Moreover, he believes many students from underrepresented groups, like him, become lost in the college process and the law school admissions game. Jesus believes that being well informed and “mentored up” will make this very new process a little bit easier. He is very excited to be able to rely on mentors who have recently gone through the law school admissions process, along with more senior mentors who can give him advice on the pros and cons of pursing different types of career within the law.
Adams City High School
University of Colorado-Boulder
Viridiana Valdez is a fourth year student at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is on track to graduate in May of 2018 with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Spanish. She hopes to continue onto law school in the fall of 2018 to become an attorney in the field of employment. The topic of employment and wage theft is important to her because she has been able to see the tremendous impact it has on people through her internship at Towards Justice. In Colorado, wage theft is an increasing problem impacting many employees, especially those of color. Viridiana hopes to help those people get justice and paid what they are due for their work. Viridiana will be the first in her family to have attended and graduated from college.
Ever since Viridiana was in the seventh grade, she has had her mind set on attending law school and becoming an attorney. This desire and dream arose from her love of helping people, and she believed that becoming an attorney would grant her the power necessary to provide that help. As she grew older she learned that, while it was impossible to help every person in need, she could still help many people with a legal problem. Like many teenagers who are applying to college, she was discouraged when she received her one rejection letter. She then began to doubt and question her career goals of becoming an attorney and thought she was probably heading in the wrong direction. That is until she heard of Law School… Yes We Can.
Viridiana’s dedication to Law School…Yes We Can comes from not only her gratitude towards everyone involved in the program, but also because of the continuous effort to inspire and motivate the Fellows. Everyone involved in this program is nothing but eager when it comes to helping students succeed, from the Founders, to the Board Members, to the Mentors and even the other Fellows. Viridiana strongly believes Law School… Yes We Can is responsible for so many of her doors opening and will encourage anyone thinking about attending law school to apply and take part in this program.
Arrupe Jesuit High School
Melissa Vazquez is a student at Loyola University-Chicago. The daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, she was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She attended Arrupe Jesuit High School, where she fell in love with community involvement and service.
She discovered her interest in the legal profession during a two-year internship at the Arvada City Attorney’s Office. In the summer of 2012, she was accepted to participate in the Hispanic National Bar Foundation Law Camp in Washington, D.C., where she further developed an interest in attending law school.
Melissa is the first in her family to attend a four-year college and hopes, through her education, to become successful and provide a better life for her family. Melissa has sometimes encountered difficulties finding common ground with her family. Although they are extremely proud and supportive, it has been hard for them to understand and advise her on the struggles she has faced in college, because no one in her family has experienced the same issues. She applied to be a Fellow with LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede because she believes LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede will guide her through college and she hopes the program will start changing the statistics that define the Hispanic community as underrepresented in the legal field.
Denver SChool of Science & Technology
Colorado State University
Ivette Villa was born in Othello, Washington, to a family of Mexican immigrants. At the age of four, her family moved to Denver, Colorado. Her parents have sacrificed a great deal to allow her to receive an education and follow her dreams. Her family’s sacrifice motivated Ivette to excel in high school and to join programs that would help her in her career. One of these programs was mock trial—an activity she began in 2011 and one which has spurred her interest in law. The thrill of standing up on stage and presenting her argument increased her desire to become a lawyer. She became a team captain in her senior year and, with her team, won the Mock Trial Professionalism Award two years in a row. Ivette’s mock trial coach introduced her to LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede and encouraged her to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Ivette quickly understood the purpose of LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede and the benefits it has to offer. Having had mentors before, she appreciates their support and the commitment they make, so having three mentors guiding her for the next four years of college is truly an amazing advantage and will especially help her when she applies to law school. LSSSP is a critical stepping stone for Ivette to reach her goals.
To Ivette, becoming a lawyer means becoming a defender—a defender that finds balance between the people and the law by making positive impacts. Being a lawyer is a challenge and it takes plenty of grit, but this is precisely what captures Ivette’s interest. Her goals keep her enthusiasm high as she begins her first year at Colorado State University as a first-generation college student.
Denver School of Science & Technology
Dimities Wells is originally from Nebraska, but his family moved to Colorado when his military father retired. When he was younger, he wanted to be the Governor, but he was told immediately that would never happen. It was recommended that he find a career that would be more “fitting.” Young, Dimitrius believed his then family doctor, so he changed his career just slightly, to becoming a lawyer. Much older now, he realizes that the doctor should have never discouraged him, and he realizes that he can become Governor.
Dimitrius is a senior, soon graduating from the University of Denver with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in Finance. He has two minors: Business Law and Communications. He chose Business Law because it enabled him to work with professors who have law degrees, and they were his most interesting classes. He initially chose Finance because he wanted to be guaranteed a job upon graduation. However, he has realized that he can use his degree in numerous fields of law, such as Mergers and Acquisitions, which is what he currently is considering.
With the help of his Mentors and the program, Dimitrius has learned that law is definitely something that he wants to do. He joined Law School Yes We Can because he imagined students of color finally winning in the legal industry. The amount of connections he has made through this program is more than he could ask for, and he is truly grateful for this organization. He has learned that the legal industry is heavily dependent on connections, which is ultimately how lawyers become successful and get a book of business. He hopes to keep in touch with everyone he has met thus far so that we can continue to help each other in the future.
South High School
University of Colorado-Boulder
Jesse Zamora is a Workforce Instructor with Goodwill Industries of Denver, based at College View Elementary. Jesse arrived in Denver after bouncing around places like Seagraves, Texas and Omaha, Nebraska after his parents left their native country, Mexico, to find a better life in the United States. Jesse’s parents made it their mission to live a life of opportunity through hard work.
He grew up in a neighborhood many have passed but never really seen, Globeville. His home was a block away from the underpass where I-70 meets I-25. Highway noise, ground pollution, and a neighborhood of broken homes were constant and may even be to blame for activating his lupus in high school. But none of this deterred Jesse from going where he wanted to go. He promised himself that every morning he went to school, it was with purpose to learn, excel, and prepare for the next step. College gave him the opportunity to learn subjects that he craved and to be part of a larger community. Fast-forward, and Jesse has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science through a Daniels Fund scholarship. It has been almost a year and a half since Jesse graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Bringing those four years to closure began a whole new chapter in his life, reigniting his persistence to keep searching for what he wants to do in life.
His job at Goodwill Industries of Denver has brought him an exceptional amount of joy as he helps people increase their chances for improved futures. His new job has given him perspective on what he can offer these communities through the law. Specialized help is in great demand and there is very little supply. He now sees the need from the frontline versus simply knowing about it, and it inspires him to push himself harder because it will also be a gateway to their improvement.
“Sí, Se Puede” is a phrase born of farmworkers, who, under the leadership of the UFW, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, fought valiantly for equal protection under the law. As a result of the efforts of the UFW, “Sí, Se Puede” has become well known as a call that engenders hope and inspiration in those who face similar battles. We thank the UFW, whom we acknowledge to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Trademark SI SE PUEDE, for granting us a limited license to use“Sí, Se Puede” in connection with our efforts to recruit, in Colorado, students of Hispanic or Latino descent for our law school pipeline program. For more information about the programs offered by the UFW, please see UFW’s webpage (www.ufw.org); UFW Foundation’s webpage (www.ufwfoundation.org); and UFWF’s immigration services webpage (www.sisepuede.org)