2012 Recipients

Vanessa Torres — 3L at California Western School of Law — Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovzky and Popeo, P.C. Scholar $2,500 

Harvard University — B.A. in Psychology
Vanessa grew up in San Diego and attended Sweetwater High School.  She applied and was admitted to Harvard University. She has volunteered in Africa where she had a life changing experience, which allowed her to appreciate even more the opportunities that she had here in America.  She wants to be a role model for Latino youth and spends much time teaching, tutoring and mentoring inner-city students.  She is currently interning with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She hopes to participate on a global scale in a way that can benefit the international Latino community.

Silvia Romero — 3L at University of San Diego School of Law — Sony Scholar $2,000

Stanford University — B.A. in Psychology
Silvia  is  the  granddaughter  of  farm  laborers  and  her  story  embodies the American dream. While in college, Silvia wanted to give back to the Mexican immigrant community and she did so through the International Institute of San Francisco.  She helped undocumented immigrants, who were victims of domestic violence, complete U-VISA and VAWA asylum applications.  As a law student at the University of San Diego, Silvia is the current Co-President of USD La Raza Law Student Association.  During her second year of law school she was awarded a CALI Award for being the top student in her Child Rights and Remedies class. She is interested in pursuing a career in child advocacy and this past Spring she became a certified legal intern for Minor’s Counsel at the Dependency Legal Group.

Ricardo Elorza — 1L at Thomas Jefferson School of Law– Union Bank Scholar $2,000 

University of California, Los Angeles — B.A. in Political Science
A  native  of  Oaxaca,  Mexico,  Ricardo  has  worked  hard  to  ensure  a  successful  future. Ricardo  came  to this country as a child and through hard work and determination learned the language and excelled in school.  His hard work was rewarded when he was admitted to UCLA.  He understands that his success is due not only to his commitment to hard work but also thanks to the many mentors he has encountered in his life.  Ricardo understands the importance of great mentors, this is why he joined a non-profit organization in South Central Los Angeles that enables young people to attend college.  Ricardo created the Personal Statement and Resume Review Program where they reviewed high school students’ personal statements and resumes in preparation for college. He was also recently chosen as the Interim President of this organization.  Ricardo wants to be a role model to other Latino youth who face the same challenges he has faced and overcome.

Rosibel Mancillas — 4L ‐ Part time at University of San Diego School of Law — Latinas in the Law Scholar $2,000 

University of San Diego — B.A. in Political Science
Rosibel  came  to  the  United  States  when  she  was seventeen  years  helping  her  mother  deliver newspapers at 2:30 in the morning.  She continued to help her mother throughout college, while at the same time working full time and carrying a full course load.  Now in law school, she continues to work full time and attends law school part time.  Even with a full time job and her law school course load, she finds the time to give back to the community.   She volunteers one day a week with Legal Aid Society of San Diego, handling family petitions, permanent resident card renewals/replacements and naturalization cases.  She has also volunteered with the Holy Family Church in Linda Vista.  Rosibel also has found time to mentor a young teenage Latina through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  She is committed not only to her education but to the empowerment of others.

Gisela  Acevedo — 3L at California Western School of Law — Silvia Garcia Scholar $2,000 

University of California, San Diego — B.A. in Political Science
As the president of CWSL’s La Raza Law Student Association, Gisela focused on guiding Latino first year law students, the San Diego Latino community and the community in Tijuana.  During her tenure as president, she led the organization in a fundraiser for an Orphanage in Tijuana and volunteered at various Latino based events in San Diego.  She has had to overcome tragedy in her family and financial struggles but through it all she pushes forward using her father’s example and her mother’s battle against cancer as her driving forces.  She has had many internships, among them Casa Cornelia Law Center, Office of the City Attorney, City of San Diego Domestic Violence & Special Victims Unit, Community Law Project and Employee Rights Center.  Through her various internships she has been able to assist other Latino and underserved people of San Diego.

Rafael Hurtado — 3L at California Western School of Law — Scholarship Recipient $1,500  

University of California, San Diego — B.A. in International Studies, Political Science
Rafael understands the importance of having the support of a community, particularly a community that shares and understands your background.  As the first of his family to attend school at the graduate level, Rafael struggled with finding someone who could help him through the law school process or could offer support. Fortunately for Rafael, during his first year of law school he found the support of a new family,  CWSL’s La Raza Law Student Association.  He is currently the Treasurer for the La Raza Law Student Association and the President of the International Law Student Association.  Over the summer, Rafael interned at the Ministerio Publico de Chile in Santiago, Chile, where he researched and co-authored an article regarding the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as an individual right.  He looks forward to using his legal education to help the Latino community and motivate those how may feel lonely in higher education.

Aldo Gallardo — 1L at Thomas Jefferson School of Law — Scholarship Recipient $1,500 

Northwestern University — B.A. in Sociology
Aldo  has  dedicated  himself  to  the  Latino  community  dating  back  to  his  college  years. While  at  Northwestern  University  he  was  elected  president  of  the  University’s  Latino Student Alliance.  Through this organization he fostered a safe space for Latinos, organized educational events for both the University and the Evanston community , and he volunteered his time to increase minority enrollment on campus.  Before law school, he directed a multicultural resource center that assisted monolingual, low-income immigrants in Rogers Park, one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods.  During his time there he coordinated an education forum and college fair for undocumented immigrants and organized an HIV/AIDS awareness event focusing on communities of color.  He also served on the executive board of the Latino Alumni Association Northwestern University.  After law school, Aldo hopes to advise businesses and individuals on how to navigate immigration laws and continue with anti-discrimination work.

Veronica Carrillo — 2L at Thomas Jefferson School of Law — Scholarship Recipient $1,000 

San Jose State University—B.S. in Justice Studies
As the Vice President of the Thomas Jefferson La Raza Student Association, Veronica is committed to supporting its members so as to ensure that they all succeed as law students and can therefore some day be in a position to contribute to the community.  Veronica has been committed to helping those in need since her college years.  During her junior and senior years of college she was a volunteer with AmeriCorps.  She volunteered over 600 hours preparing legal documents for self represented litigants in family and civil court at the Santa Clara County Superior Court.  Currently, she is a volunteer with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program where she works with low-income domestic violence victims.  Veronica hopes to pursue a career in public interest to help those who are less fortunate.

Edith Polanco — 1L at Thomas Jefferson School of Law — Scholarship Recipient $1,000 

Willamette University—B.A. in Spanish and Sociology
Originally from Zapopan, Mexico, she immigrated to the United State as an infant with her parents. During her college years she pondered the question of where she belonged.  With time she has been able to overcome her struggles with cultural identity and has come to realize that she is not limited to one culture, but instead has chosen to embrace both the Mexican and American cultures.  She has spent much of her time involved with the Latino community.  As a member of CAUSA, Oregon’s Immigration and Civil Rights Coalition, she had the opportunity to lobby at the state capitol and make a presentation about the DREAM Act at a MECHA conference.  She looks forward to helping the Latino community with their immigration needs in its native language.

 Adriana Quintero — 2L at California Western School of Law — Scholarship Recipient $1,000 

University of California, Berkeley—B.A. in Political Science and Spanish
Born  and  raised  in  San  Diego,  Adriana  has  seen  first  hand  the  effect  of  cross-border issues like immigration.  Since high school, Adriana has been involved in her community, from volunteering at a local elementary school to providing care for orphans at Casa Cuna in Tijuana, Mexico.  This past summer, Adriana interned at the Employee Rights Center in City Heights and helped many indigent clients with immigration issues.  She has also participated in several of the San Diego Immigration Rights Consortium workshops.  Her commitment to the Latino community led her to assume the position of President of the La Raza Law Student Association at California Western School of Law.  She is interested in pursuing a career in immigration and criminal defense so that she may help those underrepresented and often disadvantaged minorities.