Marianna Nava’s Personal Statement on Receiving the Barb Currie Diversity Scholarship
I am extremely grateful to have been selected as the recipient of the Barb Currie Diversity Scholarship, which will bring me one step closer to my goal of becoming an attorney. Upon graduation, I intend to become an immigration attorney to work with foreign nationals providing legal representation during the legalization process. As an aspiring attorney, I want to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic groups enjoy the benefits and protections of the law and be the “voice” of persons who often feel voiceless, vulnerable, and misunderstood by the people that represent them.
Foreign nationals seeking legal residence in the United States come from many backgrounds and life experiences, but they all have something in common: their lawyers are their lifeline. A person’s pending immigration case can affect all areas of life, such as their ability to apply for a job, attend school, and drive a car. Immigration cases can also intersect with other areas of the law, such as criminal and family law. These complicated legal matters need the supervision of attorneys; unfortunately, access to quality legal representation often depends on socioeconomic status. Despite making up a sizable portion of the United States population, minorities and people of color are still grossly underrepresented in the legal profession. According to the American Bar Association, as of June 20, 2022, less than 6% of all attorneys in the United States are Hispanic, and the percentage is significantly lower for female attorneys, many of whom share stories similar to mine. Scholarships like Barb Currie Diversity Scholarship make it possible for dedicated students like me to pursue our educational goals without financial strain.
I can identify with the challenges faced by members of a diverse and underrepresented population as I am an immigrant from Brazil. My family immigrated to the United States when I was only twelve years old. Moving to a different country and going through the naturalization process at such a young age was difficult. My family did not speak English at the time, and the naturalization process was scary and intimidating. I became my parent’s translator during our immigration interviews and fingerprint appointments. I helped them fill out all the necessary paperwork while also trying to understand the daunting process myself. I also remember our family's experience with our attorney and the sacrifices our family made in order to meet his financial demands. Thus, I am able to empathize with those who are facing daunting legal proceedings since I have been in their position and understand how they feel. I aspire to one day provide my clients with a different experience and ensure that they feel like their voices are heard.
I also hope to put the skills I have learned so far in law school into practice to help make a difference in my Latino community. To prepare for a career as an immigration attorney, I am currently participating in my law school’s Immigration Clinic representing clients with their pending immigration cases. I currently represent several individuals who seek legal permanent residency in the United States. This experience prepared me for a career as an immigration attorney by exposing me to the legal issues I will argue after I have my license to practice law, such as Asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile cases, and Temporary Protected Status cases. Through this experience I also gained insight into broader systemic issues, such as implicit bias, racism, socioeconomic disparities, and mental health issues. This learning experience has helped to prepare me to become a zealous and informed attorney.
The Barb Currie Diversity Scholarship will help me achieve my dreams of becoming an attorney and serving my community. Scholarships like this help remove socioeconomic and systemic barriers to higher education and enable people like me to be one step closer to achieving their dreams.
Thank you so much for your time, consideration, and generous support.
For more information about how you can help support and donate to the FDCC Foundation’s Barb Currie Diversity Scholarship, please contact Foundation President Steve Farrar: email@example.com.