Major/School or College:
My name is Lucia Urizar, I was born and raised in Guatemala. I graduated with a dual major in International Relations & Political Science.
Where you will be working and residing post-graduation?
I will be attending law school this upcoming fall at Syracuse University College Of Law.
Any honors, achievements, or involvements from your time as a student that you’d like to note:
When I made the shift into my collegiate career, I was committed to enriching my academic experience with extracurricular activities. My participation in International Young Scholars, a program designed to promote the educational achievement of Somali-Bantu refugee children in the Syracuse city area, allowed me to mentor an impressionable refugee girl named Sangabo for over three years. My time with her strengthened my commitment to helping others, showing me the true power of donating my time.
Empowered by the benefits of a higher education, this year I created a mentoring program to help and motivate students at my former high school pursue a college degree. Understanding the legal procedure of creating a non-profit organization, I drafted contracts to protect the program from risk working with minors. And I drafted proposals describing the objectives of the program that were presented and approved by the parent association, and school board. I currently oversee, and manage the entire program myself with the help of the high school’s college advisor. Besides education, my interest in law also grew through my work for several institutions ranging from the Office of the Attorney General of New York, to the country’s largest financial institution, JPMorgan Chase.
During the fall semester of my junior year, I assisted attorneys at the Centro Internacional de Toledo Para La Paz in Madrid, Spain where I was studying abroad for the semester. This international institution aims to peacefully solve legal issues around the world. I worked to transcribe important meetings that would help Bolivia to resolve social conflicts derived from the adoption of its new constitution. This past summer, I worked as a summer associate for the Legal department of JPMorgan Chase Bank in their Mortgage bank.
My contributions to the SuCasa, a project designed by Chase in partnership with the Hispanic National Bar Association to provide Latino families with free homeowner educational seminars, were vital to the successful implementation of the program. I conducted legal research and gathered information on materials on state foreclosure procedures and government run mediation programs. The information I gathered has served as the backbone for the educational seminars and resources now being made available to the Latino families.
How did you benefit from being an OTHC scholar?
The Our Time Has Come scholarship not only provided me with financial assistance but also with an academic and moral support. The Office of Program Development, provided of the scholarship, has helped me and my twin sister successfully to take advantage of many opportunities. For example, networking events. Being an OTHC scholar, I learned that Latino students are misrepresented in many fields, especially law, and that acknowledge has fueled my drive to become an attorney.
What words of advice or encouragement would you offer to current students?
I would strongly encourage current students to pursue every opportunity they can, to meet people, to reach out to supportive offices, and to give back to their communities. And the most important advice I can give them is to READ their emails. Many students discard emails without reading them, and many times they miss out on opportunities. Before I started school at Syracuse, a former SU student repeatedly told me to always read my emails. I did so, and was able to take part on amazing opportunities and adventures. For example, I went camping with other students through the Student Leadership Institute and went white water rafting with the FullCircle mentoring program.
What would you say to encourage alumni to support the OTHC scholarship?
Students of color do not always have people that believe in them. Most of them are first generation to attend college and do not count with the academic and financial support that students with college graduate parents enjoy. Having someone believing in us by supporting the OTHC scholarship provides us with the academic and personal motivation to succeed as a way to thank the supporters. My twin sister, Gabriela Urizar, and I moved to New York from Guatemala at the age of 14 years old. Struggling with the language and culture, we faced many obstacles and many people did not believe in us. Thanks to the support of many believers, she and I have graduated with competitive GPAs from Syracuse University. I will be attending law school in the fall at Syracuse University College of Law and she will be working for a law firm.
What are you looking forward to most as an alumna of SU?
As an alumna of SU, I am looking forward to reach out to students of color at SU, to share my experience with them and to assist them in any way I can. I also look forward to connect with other alumni that benefited from the OTHC scholarship, and to be able to come together to give back to the scholarship.