Meet Our Fellows
Colorado State University
Alexis Clark was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and then moved to Orlando, Florida, when she was ten. She came to Colorado when she was fourteen. She graduated from Cherokee Trail High School and is now studying at Colorado State University. Alexis applied to be a Fellow because LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede will provide opportunities to complete internships and come into contact with professionals in the legal field. She also hopes the program will provide her with the guidance she needs to navigate her undergraduate career at CSU. Being a first generation college student, she believes the mentoring offered through this program is essential to her success.
Alexis has known she wanted to be a lawyer since she was a very young girl. For Alexis, law is interesting because it is like a puzzle: lawyers from opposing sides start with the same facts in their case but try to arrange them in different way to show how their side should win. She wants to learn the art of arranging puzzle pieces for a case in order to advocate for her clients. Because she is the first in her family to graduate from high school, her family originally thought that her dream of becoming a lawyer was an unattainable goal. But both they and she now know that, if one is not afraid to dream big and work hard, even the biggest of dreams can come true.
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 was born in Durango, Mexico, and was raised in Aurora, Colorado. She is the daughter of parents who every day invest sweat and tears because they want their daughters to strive for better opportunities than they had. Alma is also an athlete. She runs cross-country and plays basketball and soccer. She is a student at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Sociology. Those who know Alma say that education is her sport because of the intense devotion she has for learning. Alma’s passion for education fuels many accomplishments, like being the third person in her family to graduate from high school and go on to college.
College will allow Alma to enter a vibrant statistical group: highly educated Latina women. After college, she would like to have an impact on her community by obtaining a law degree with a focus on education policy in order to work towards improving the public education system. At a young age, Alma knew that her neighborhood schools were failing local children and that too many students like her had to travel across town to get an education. She believes a public education system should empower students not simply to enter the work force, but to be life-long learners for society. She sees it as her future duty and responsibility to bring justice to the education system by giving future generations an opportunity to attend any local school and not have to worry about falling behind.
Alma is a LAW SCHOOL...Sí Se Puede Fellow because she needs mentors to guide her in pursuing her goals. Although Alma would like to think that she could accomplish anything on her own, she knows that even the strongest need help, and college is a confusing and complicated process to a first generation student. Because her parents are unable to answer many of her questions, Alma hopes her mentors will familiarize her with the college process and will help her realize her dream of becoming a lawyer.
Arrupe Jesuit High School
Jasmine Luna was born in Denver, Colorado, and is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents immigrated to the United States to escape the poverty and to give their children an opportunity to achieve the higher education that they themselves lacked. Jasmine graduated with honors from Arrupe Jesuit High School and is attending Regis University on a full-tuition scholarship. At Arrupe, Jasmine participated on her high school’s mock trial team and now coaches that team.
Jasmine has always known that she wanted to be a lawyer, but participating in high school mock trial allowed her to discover why. She realized that nothing felt better than the adrenaline rush of standing in front of a jury and beginning to deliver an opening statement. As a little girl, Jasmine always liked standing up for people when they were treated unfairly (especially when her brother would pick on her sister). Now, Jasmine wants to be able to stand up for someone in a courtroom and bring them the justice they deserve. She wants to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer to set a good example for Hispanic women and demonstrate to them that achieving a higher education is possible. She knows LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede will help her to achieve these goals.
Tomas Manriquez-Hernandez is a first-generation Mexican-American, born three months after his mother came to the United States. The summer before entering high school, Tomas suffered the loss of his childhood best friend, with whom he had made a bucket list of resolutions that included everything from getting girlfriends to getting shot. It was then that he realized how precious life was, and how fast and unexpectedly it could be taken away. The year after his friend’s death, Tomas committed himself to losing weight, a big target on their shared bucket list, and lost fifty pounds in under a month. Tomas has been and continues to be driven to lead a successful life, not only for himself, but also, for Grant. He is set on making the world a better place in Grant’s memory.
Sophomore year of high school, Tomas and three of his friends were assaulted near his school by a local gang solely because one of his friends was from a different neighborhood. Suddenly, he realized that life could change in an instant and his accomplishments and dreams, including being top of his class, captain of the frisbee team, and wanting to change the world could be taken from him unless he prepared himself. As a result, Tomas learned to box to ensure he would never again be unable to protect himself or his friends. That same passion stretches into law for Tomas. His goal is to become a prosecutor of those who would hurt the innocent.
Arrupe Jesuit High School
Jennifer Tamariz is a student at Loyola University Chicago. She was born in Denver, Colorado. Pursuing her dream to become a lawyer, Jennifer has interned at a Denver law firm and the Colorado House of Representatives. During high school, she was selected as one of twenty-five students nationwide to participate in the Hispanic National Bar Foundation Future Latino Leaders Law Camp: a nine day law camp held in Washington D.C., where she trained and participated in a mock trial competition.
As a first generation college student, Jennifer aspires to become a lawyer so that she can help people who need it the most and have a positive impact on their lives. Because neither of her parents completed high school, it has been difficult for Jennifer to find support throughout her college experience. She believes that LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede will provide the support system she needs. Serving as a role model and mentor to younger generations is another motivation to participate in this program. Jennifer believes the Hispanic population is underrepresented in the legal profession and wants to work hard with other students to change this unjust reality.
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 student at University of Colorado Boulder. She is a proud Colorado native and is also proud of her Hispanic background. Viridiana enjoys helping other people and, for that reason, she is very involved in her community church. Her goal in life is to gain admission to an outstanding law school and become a successful lawyer.
Hearing about LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede could not have come at a better time for Viridiana because it has motivated her to continue to pursue her dreams of becoming a lawyer. Viridiana is a first-generation college student and, as a result of this program, she will not have to go through the college experience on her own. Being a a mother and a father Fellow also motivates her because she no longer fears walking into this new experience by herself with no direction. Becoming a lawyer is important to Viridiana because she believes it is a start to changing the world. She says she wants to make a major difference in people’s lives. Her plans for the future are to stay in Colorado because her family is here and family is an important aspect of her life. Viridiana feels honored and blessed to have been selected to take part in LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede and is excited to continue this new journey in her life.
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
Dimitrius Wells is a student at the University of Denver. He is currently double majoring in International Business and Marketing with minors in communications and science. He was born in Nebraska, where his father served in the military, and then moved to Colorado at the age of seven.
Since he was a young child, Dimitrius has always wanted his career to deal with the law. In the future, he wants to be a corporate attorney or family attorney. To fulfill this goal, he started to take part in student government—through elementary, middle school, and high school. He also joined the high school mock trial team and was a participant in the Colorado state championship competition.
Dimitrius applied to be a Fellow in the LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede program because he knows it will open many doors for him in the future. Dimitrius classifies himself as “African American” and he knows that he is considered to be within the “minority” group of America. However, he also believes that, by being part of this program, many will not look at him as just another “minority” in America, but rather as an individual. Dimitrius believes in equality of access to education and thinks that LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede is a program that goes a long way toward making that belief a reality.
South High School
University of Colorado-Boulder
Jesse Zamora studies at the University of Colorado and is majoring in political science with a minor in American Indian studies. Jesse’s story begins with his parents leaving the city of Juarez, Chihuahua, in search of a better life in the United States. He has lived in Seagraves, Texas, and Omaha, Nebraska, but settled in Denver, where he was raised and spent the greater part of his life.
As a young boy Jesse always knew that education was only one way to move out of the conditions he grew up in and to realize his full potential. Jesse has received various scholarships including the Daniels Fund scholarship. He was also a Gates Millennium scholarship finalist.
Jesse became a fellow in LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede because he felt he had to be better prepared for the long road ahead of him. Getting into law school, succeeding in it, and working in the legal profession are steps he keeps in mind constantly. Jesse thinks advice and support from experienced lawyers and law students are invaluable resources.
Jesse wants to become a lawyer because of his history. Since colonial contact, he has seen that where he comes from has become a lawless land. Because he knows firsthand the effects of lawlessness and how it impacts individuals, communities, and cultures, Jesse hopes that through becoming a legal practitioner he can bring justice and restoration to those who have been wronged and systematically abused.
“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)