Briana Ramos RLAW'20 and Mario Valdivia RLAW'21 have been selected to receive scholarships from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania.
"Receiving this scholarship has provided me with the opportunity to do something I previously could only dream of," said Ramos.
The scholarship will enable her to spend the winter session learning about Non-Profit Corporations/Tax Exempt Organizations while building a home in an impoverished rural village in the Dominican Republic in partnership with Cambiando Vidas, an established 501(c)(3) in the Dominican Republic modeled after Habitat-for-Humanity. This opportunity will help her toward reaching her goal of practicing in Corporate Governance and Real Estate Law while also building her own real estate investment company after graduation.
"As a native of Camden, NJ, I never imagined that I could one day become an attorney, but it is through the hard work, mentorship and leadership from individuals like Carmen M. Garcia, Jacqueline Romero, and organizations like HBA–PA that I am reassured that limits of class have not limited my capabilities and worthiness to pursue my dreams to ultimately become a contributing member of this prestigious discipline," said Ramos.
Valdivia said he was honored to be one of the 2018 recipients of the HBA–PA Legal Education Fund Scholarship and that obtaining this scholarship would not have been possible without the help from Director of the Minority Student Program Rhasheda Douglas and Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest Jill Friedman," he said.
"My law degree will be used to serve individuals that are taken advantage of, disenfranchised, and deprived of legal representation simply because of their vulnerabilities," said Valdivia. "Legal aid should not be a luxury; therefore it is my duty for the rest of my legal career to help equip these communities with the proper resources when they need it the most."
According to Friedman, Valdivia is one of a select group of students admitted to Rutgers Law School as Social Justice Scholars. As part of the highly selective program, Valdivia receives a scholarship, summer funding for public interest work, a faculty mentor, workshops, and preferential access to leaders in public interest law.
“Mario knew from the start that he is here in law school for a purpose," said Friedman. "He has seen wage theft and abuse of vulnerable immigrant workers, and he wants to learn how to empower individuals and communities to take their power.”