Ciara Fernandez

Q & A With Yegge Scholarship Recipient

Ciara Fernandez

Written 11-10-2011

I am a second year law student focusing on Human Rights, including child advocacy, Indigenous Rights and Health law.

Community Involvement /Activities?

I am a member of the Latino Law Student Association, as well as the Children's Legal Advocacy Group. I recently volunteered with the Dandelion Project, a Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center project dedicated to community gardening and mentoring for foster children. This Spring Break I participated in Sturm's brand new Alternative Spring Break program in Farmington, New Mexico, close to the Navajo Nation. I spent the week writing a script for an instructional video on how to litigate domestic matters as a pro se litigant. I also assisted in conducting client intakes at free legal aid clinics, where I helped offer legal advice to indigent clients.

Experience at DU?

DU law school has been so incredibly welcoming. It is a special school that really believes in its students and offers countless opportunities for them to experience the real world outside of school through clinical work, externships, mock interviews and numerous student organizations. I am also impressed with the entire university's system because it creates a strong connection between the students and administration by keeping the students well informed of events, new developments on campus, security issues, and opportunities to give feedback to improve the system. I actually get to see the entire campus everyday when I walk to school. The walking helps to relax my mind after a brain-stretching day in Conflict of Laws. I have learned more about the world and about myself than I ever expected. I think it's because I often ask myself why I chose Law, just to ensure that I am still making the right decisions. I have had my doubts, like any normal person, but at the end of the day, when I get back home, I am excited for the next day and the next year. It requires a unique combination of endurance, optimism, and creativity.

What the Yegge Scholarship has meant to you?

The Yegge Scholarship continues to build my confidence in succeeding in law school and motivates me to try my best and persevere. It widens my support network and reminds me that generous individuals are invested in my education and are pushing for me to succeed. It also assures me of the possibility for other diverse students and students from low income families to be able to attend law school because the scholarship makes it a little more affordable and makes them feel personally welcomed.

Plans for the Future?

I have many interests in possible Public interest law career fields. I am interested in Human Rights, with an emphasis on the rights of children, Indigenous rights, and the rights of victims of crime through restorative justice. This summer I plan to volunteer in the Dominican Republic for a few weeks working to improve the confidence and life skills of adolescent girls. I also hope to have a public interest internship with an organization in Denver that specializes in advocacy for victims of crime in civil lawsuits. In the future I can see myself working in Denver, but maybe travelling and around the world in a legal capacity to implement restorative justice programs or advocate for human rights. I could also see myself doing Guardian Ad Litem work, or working on an Indian reservation. I also fantasize about working or volunteering for UNICEF and UNESCO.

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