Applications for 2015 MALDEF Law School Scholarship due Friday, January 15, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA - Today, MALDEF announced the twelve recipients of its 2014 law school scholarships, doubling the number of law school students receiving the scholarships from last year. MALDEF has annually awarded scholarships to five or more law students of up to $5000 each. Additionally, MALDEF announced that the application for the 2015 Law School Scholarship is now open, and that applications are due Friday, January 15, 2015.

“We once again saw an abundance of highly qualified applicants for a limited number of scholarships, and we felt compelled to award more scholarships than usual this year,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “We look forward to the significant contributions each of our recipients will make in their legal careers to civil rights in the United States.”

The 2015 Law School Scholarship is open to all students who are enrolled at an accredited United States law school in school year 2014-2015. MALDEF awards scholarships to law students who seek to further the civil rights organization’s mission and commitment to advancing the civil rights of Latinos across the United States through their legal careers.

The recipients of the MALDEF Law School Scholarship undergo a selection process by a national Law School Scholarship Committee of leading attorneys. The 2014 Law School Scholarship Committee included: Manuel Berrelez of Vinson & Elkins; Victor De la Cruz of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; J. Jorge deNeve of O’Melveny & Meyers; Alfred Fraijo of Shepard Mullin; David Garcia of Southern California Edison; Martha Jimenez of the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina; Glenda Martinez of Univision Communications; Natalia Martin of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Aracely Munoz Petrich of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association; R. Omar Riojas of Kelley, Goldfarb, Huck & Roth, PLLC; Jose Sanchez of Sidley Austin LLP; Gabriel Sandoval of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya Ruud & Romo; Bernardo Silva of The Walt Disney Co.; and the Honorable Michael Stern of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. MALDEF Board member Jose Sanchez of Sidley Austin LLP chaired the committee.

MALDEF utilizes a national Law School Scholarship Committee of leading attorneys to select our scholarship recipients. Jose Sanchez, MALDEF Board Member and Partner at Sidley Austin LLP, served as the Chair of this year’s Committee, said, “It is an honor to support this year’s recipients, who represent the exceptional talent of the next generation of attorneys. MALDEF’s Law School Scholarship Program is an investment in them as much as it is in the future of our legal profession. We thank the major funders of this Program and the members of MALDEF’s Law School Scholarship Committee for truly understanding the importance of this investment, as well.”

Applicants for MALDEF scholarships are evaluated on three main criteria: 1) personal background and financial need; 2) academic and extracurricular achievement; and 3) demonstrated commitment to serving the Latino community, shown through a record of service to the Latino community and future plans for service.

Applications for the 2015 MALDEF Law School Scholarship must be postmarked by January 15, 2015 and are available for download through our website here:

MALDEF thanks the Hearst Foundation, Wal-Mart, Toyota, the Law School Scholarship Committee, and other donors for their generous support of our 2014 Law School Scholarship Program.

Donations may be made to support MALDEF’s future law school scholarships here.

MALDEF’s 2014 Law School Scholarship Recipients:

Mabel Arellanes Serrano

University of New Mexico School of Law

Mabel Arellanes Serrano is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant family. Her family’s sacrifices enabled her to become the first in her family to graduate from college. Since the age of fifteen, she has been actively involved with Somos Un Pueblo Unido in New Mexico, as an immigrant’s rights advocate and grassroots organizer. One of her proudest accomplishments with Somos was helping to pass the New Mexico Dream Act. After graduating from the University of New Mexico School of Law, she plans to continue advocating for the rights of immigrants as an immigration attorney.

Nancy Arévalo

University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Nancy’s family immigrated to the United States as a result of the civil war in El Salvador. Upon arriving, family members worked tirelessly as farmworkers in California’s Central Valley. Nancy is the first in her family to graduate from college, receiving her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Literature from UC Berkeley. Before law school, Nancy worked for the National Senior Citizens Law Center advocating on behalf of low-income older adults. This summer, she interned with La Raza Centro Legal, providing immigration and employment legal services to low-income communities. Nancy is committed to public interest law and would like to focus her legal career on immigrant and farmworker rights.

Stephanie Hyland Zacarias

Southwestern Law School

Stephanie Hyland Zacarias is the eldest of three children raised by a single mother battling addiction. After graduating from Pitzer College, where she worked extensively with day laborers, Stephanie spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow at the International Organization for Migration in Costa Rica. As a law student, Stephanie focused on the intersection of criminal and immigration law and co-litigated a case before the Ninth Circuit. Stephanie is committed to advocate on behalf of marginalized groups and would like to pursue a legal career in criminal and immigration law.

Olga Medina

University of Texas School of Law

Olga Medina is committed to advocating on behalf of Latinos in the fields of law and public policy--a passion she developed as a result of growing up in a working-class, Mexican immigrant community in Texas. During law school, she interned for the Immigrant Rights Project of the ACLU of Texas and the Domestic Policy Council at The White House. Most recently, she worked at, an organization promoting policies to keep the U.S. and its citizens competitive in the global economy. Prior to her legal education, she worked as an immigration policy associate for the National Council of La Raza. She graduated from Stanford University with honors and distinction, and in May, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law.

Hugo Meza

Santa Clara University School of Law

Hugo Meza is an only child raised by a single mother. He worked weekends at a flea market for $30 a day to help his mother make ends meet. After graduating from UC San Diego, he worked for the Victim Witness Assistance Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of crime. As a victim advocate, Hugo helped bridge the gap between Spanish-speaking victims and the assigned prosecutor. He ensured that a victim’s language barrier would not hinder the opportunity to receive justice. This experience inspired Hugo to pursue a legal education, and he aspires to one day become a criminal prosecutor.

Ana Graciela Nájera Mendoza

University of California Los Angeles School of Law

Ana Graciela Nájera Mendoza is this year’s Hernandez-Stern Law School Scholarship recipient. She was raised in South Los Angeles by a Guatemalan mother who exemplified hard work and perseverance while working low-wage jobs. Her upbringing has inspired her to pursue social justice-focused legal advocacy. She was a 2012 Summer Law Clerk at MALDEF and was selected as one of eight law students in California to be a 2013 CELA Employee Justice Fellow. Ana Graciela will continue to work on employee justice-focused representation.

Monica Newcomer Miller

University of New Mexico School of Law

Monica Newcomer Miller spent a large part of her childhood in rural Guatemala where her parents accompanied Mayan subsistence farmers in efforts to protect their families and crops during the civil war. This led her to pursue a career serving Latino immigrants in the U.S., many from her childhood home of Guatemala. She worked in immigration legal services for ten years before she decided to pursue a law degree at the University of New Mexico to better advocate for Latino immigrants, particularly battered women and children. After graduation, Monica plans to practice immigration law in Albuquerque, NM.

Juan Quevedo

University of Tennessee College of Law

Juan Quevedo is an immigrant from Mexico. After discovering his family met the necessary elements to qualify for adjustment of immigration status, he successfully coordinated his family’s seven-year immigration case. This process made him realize the role that the law can play as a powerful tool in providing protection for people in need. For that reason, he is focused on becoming a public servant–a drum major for justice–with a particular focus on issues related to immigration and criminal law. He will bring the lessons he has learned, the compassion he has sought, and the tenacity that drives him into his legal career.

Evelyn Rangel-Medina

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Evelyn is a community leader and strong advocate. At age seven, she walked across the U.S.-Mexican border as an undocumented immigrant. Evelyn credits her mother's sacrifice to her becoming the first person in her family to attend college. At the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law she is a Phoenix Fellow, and serves undocumented youth through the DACA Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center. She has also served indigent clients at the Public Defender's Office in Contra Costa County. Evelyn is dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil and human rights of Latinas/os and immigrants.

Sandra Ruiz

Loyola Law School

Sandra is a student at Loyola Law School. She was born and raised in East Los Angeles, and has experienced first-hand the struggles undocumented families endure living with the permeating fear of deportation. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she held leadership positions in Mujeres Unidas para Justicia, Educación y Revolución (M.U.J.E.R.) and Union Salvadoreña de Estudiantes Universitorios (U.S.E.U.). At Loyola Law School, she was part of the first class of students to participate in the Home Base Immigration Clinic. She has spent her law school summers at C.A.R.E.C.E.N. and Public Counsel. She is also Co-Chair of the Immigration Law Society at Loyola. Sandra plans to practice immigration law.

Cristopher Santos

New York University School of Law

Cristopher Santos was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico and moved to the U.S. at the age of 12. He is a proud graduate of UCLA, where he was elected the first undocumented student government officer. As a law student, Cris has worked at the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, at MALDEF, and at the New York State Attorney General’s Office. He also served as Co-Chair of Latino/a Law Student’s Association and is a Staff Editor for the New York University Law Review. His immigrant background motivated him to pursue a career in public interest law.

Elizabeth Toledo

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Elizabeth Toledo is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants. Her mother’s struggle as a single mother inspired Elizabeth to work towards creating opportunities and new paths for Latinas. She attended Villanova University and served in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Now, at Berkeley Law, she is part of the Women of Color Collective, La Raza Law Student Association and is Managing Editor for the Berkeley Journal of Gender Law & Justice. Elizabeth serves as a resource and mentor for rising Latino lawyers. She plans to become a litigator.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund