BLOG | Larrisa Alire
Who Me?… A Truman Scholar?
July 2, 2019
Recently I was named a 2019 Truman Scholar. The Truman Scholarship Foundation awards approximately 60 undergraduate students across the country who have demonstrated an exceptional dedication to public service a $30,000 scholarship that can be applied toward graduate school. The application process was overwhelming, and required not only three letters of recommendation and a college nomination letter, but also seven essays detailing my leadership experience, my commitment to public service, a problem statement, a policy proposal that addresses the problem statement, and an overview of my plans for post-graduation and graduate school. After being named a finalist, I flew to Kansas City, where I went through an intensive 20-minute panel interview and eagerly waited to hear back.
None of this would have been possible without the unconditional support and guidance I received from the Law School … Yes We Can (“LSYWC”) community from application to selection. While interning for Judge Ramirez, a Board member of LSYWC, this last summer, I told him that I wanted to apply for the Truman scholarship, but was intimidated by the application process. He encouraged me to apply and began helping me draft policy proposal ideas and outlines for my essays. After several rounds of drafts and cutting it close to the November deadline for nomination, I remember calling my team of mentors stressed and anxious, wanting to give up. My mentors Halleh and Lindsey were pivotal in encouraging me to pick myself back up and keep going.
In February, I found out that I was a finalist for the Truman scholarship. The LSYWC community immediately jumped into action to help me prepare for my final interview. First, my mentor Theresa arranged for me to meet with a speaking coach over spring break to prepare for my Truman interview. I also met with Judge Arguello, who offered encouraging words of advice and wisdom. Judge Arguello then introduced me to her former law clerk, a Truman scholarship finalist, who shared interview tips with me. Judge Arguello and Lindsey connected me to a past Truman Scholar, Hetal Doshi, who met with me and discussed what I should expect from the panel interview and how to navigate tough questions. Finally, when my interview finally came, each of my mentors texted me words of encouragement and reminded me that they believed in my ability to become a Truman Scholar.
Now that I’ve had time for reflection, I don’t believe that I would have been able to receive the prestigious Truman scholarship without the support of Law School … Yes We Can. I am grateful for the community that has supported me as a member of Law School … Yes We Can Fellow. I strive not only to make the LSYWC community proud of me, but to eventually give back to the future generations of LSYWC fellows.
Dreams Becoming a Reality through Law School… Yes We Can!
July 2, 2019
I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was in seventh grade. I didn’t know what becoming a lawyer entailed, other than attending law school. This was because I didn’t come from a family of lawyers or even know one personally. I learned about Law School – Yes We Can in high school and that changed everything. Law School Yes We Can is paving the way for me to become a lawyer. Let me tell you how.
The program has allowed me to form relationships with people I really admire, like Judge Arguello. In fact, it was my approaching Judge Arguello at the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association Dinner in 2015, which led to my learning about and applying for the program. At the time, I was a junior in high school. I was invited to the dinner because of my participation in the
Denver Urban Debate League. My partner and I were the only Latino debate duo in the league, and we attended the dinner to receive an award on behalf of the debate team. Judge Arguello was receiving the lifetime award. After reading her biography, I searched for her so that I could introduce myself. She told me about Law School Yes We Can. I was immediately intrigued and determined to apply to the program. I was so excited when I received my acceptance email. Judge Arguello and I also continue to stay in touch.
Law School Yes We Can has given me a roadmap on how to reach my goal of becoming a successful lawyer. I’m more halfway done with my first year of college, but I can confidently say I have a ten-year plan, which very many eighteen year old cannot say! My mentors have assisted me with things like selecting courses to reading over internship cover letters. They also answer my panicking texts; when I think things are going downhill, they lift me up. Halleh Omidi, one of my mentors always reminds me to breathe and that it’s okay to have fun. I get so caught up in the track to law school that I forget I’m only eighteen; she keeps me sane. Another of my attorney mentors, Theresa Wardon, invited me to watch her argument in front of the Colorado Supreme Court. This was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. It really opened up my eyes to what I would be doing in the future, and I loved every second of it. April Connolly, my law school mentor, guides me through the expectations for law school. I see her working hard every day, and that inspires me to do better too.
The events sponsored by the program have proven very helpful as well. They give me an opportunity to hear from and interact with lawyers. I also value that these people want to help me, and other fellows, get into law school. The most impactful event I have attended so far was the holiday dinner. There, the guest speaker, Dr. Ramos, was beyond inspirational. His words reminded me of why I am working so hard to become a lawyer. I am doing this for myself, my family, and the future generations that are following me. Additionally, Law School Yes We Can offers me LSAT Prep, guidance, and overall preparation for my future.
In conclusion, Law School Yes We Can is setting me up to achieve my dreams. I know that there is a lot of work ahead of me, and likely many obstacles to overcome, but I am confident that with the help of Law School Yes We Can, I will be successful.
“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)