MALDEF Announces Winners of the 2010-2011 Law School Scholarship Program / Extends Deadline for the 2011-2012 Law School Scholarship Application!

The Postmark Deadline for the 2011-2012 MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program has been extended to January 2, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA – To provide additional opportunity for more law students across America to apply to this year's scholarship, MALDEF has extended the postmark deadline for the 2011-2012 MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program to January 2, 2012.

Since MALDEF’s founding, the civil rights organization has awarded scholarships to students who are committed to working to advance the civil rights of the Latino community in the United States. In recent years, MALDEF has annually awarded 5-10 scholarships of $5,000 each.

MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Program is open to all law students who will be enrolled at an accredited United States law school in 2011-2012. Applicants are evaluated for their academic and extracurricular achievements, for their background and financial need, and, most importantly, for their demonstrated commitment to advancing Latino civil rights in their careers.

Applications are still available, CLICK HERE

MALDEF is also pleased to announce the 2010-2011 MALDEF Law School Scholarship Winners!

Paul Aguilar
Southwestern Law School
Paul Aguilar became passionate about public policy while serving as a political intern taking constituent calls on AB 60, California legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Through his experience as a political intern and as a field deputy working directly with constituents and policy makers, Paul also became committed to utilizing laws to advance the rights of people without rights. He continues working as a policy analyst to support his law school education, and remains confident that “with the right leadership and political activism”, there will be positive change in this nation’s public policies for Latinos.

Glenda Aldana Madrid
Yale Law School
Glenda Aldana Madrid came to the United States from Guatemala as a child, determined to push herself from English-as-a-Second Language courses in seventh grade to Honors English in the eighth grade. While an undergraduate, Glenda supported future Latino students by contributing to La Vida at Harvard: The Latino Guide. Passionate about rights, she spent a summer interviewing members of the Guatemalan judicial branch to further discussion of democracy and access to justice in Latin America, and later worked at the Human Rights Foundation. She hopes to utilize her law degree to continue similarly advancing the civil and human rights of Latinos in the United States and abroad.

Edith Castaneda
Loyola Law School
Edith Castañeda hails from the Coachella Valley, from a family of Mexican immigrants and farm workers in the grape fields of California. Edith has gone on to support public interest organizations that serve her hometown, including California Rural Legal Assistance, Bet Tzedek, and the Pomona Self-Help Legal Access Center. She plans to dedicate her career to giving back to her community, and says, "It gives me a great sense of fulfillment to be able to help the people who originally inspired me to attend law school – people like my family and community members back home."

Aidin Castillo
UC Davis School of Law
Aidin is now a two-time recipient of the MALDEF Law School Scholarship. A long-time immigrant rights activist, since her first award, she has gone on to represent immigrant clients in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court of San Francisco through the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic and to develop an immigrant integration curriculum for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. Aidin has been a strong advocate for equitable educational policy in California, and served as a representative for the California DREAM Network. She hopes to become an immigration attorney and one day provide Latinos “the ethical and socially responsible legal assistance” that so many in our community do not receive.

Roberto Chavez
University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Roberto Chavez grew up living in the borderland of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and retains 'endless images' of trials along the border. Interning in the federal courthouse in El Paso, he witnessed many individuals in dire situations, and realized how he could assist as a lawyer. He says, "being a lawyer alone does not provide opportunities to other people, I believe in getting involved and giving a hand to those people who want to succeed". Roberto has spent recent years mentoring future law students and working with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid as a start toward giving a helping hand.

Oscar Espino
UCLA School of Law
Oscar Espino found hope at an alternative high school, where he achieved pride in his humble beginnings and was motivated to excel academically. He has always worked hard to support himself and his family, recalling "selling newspapers and searching for cans after school" even as a child. Today, Oscar says that "education has empowered me" to become a lifelong advocate for the Latino community. While in law school, he became that advocate for Latino civil rights, and specifically for the DREAM Act, earning the respect of countless community leaders as an activist. Most recently, he served with Community Lawyers, Inc., supporting the Wage Justice Center in protecting the rights of low-income workers in Los Angeles.

Lizbeth Najera Munoz
Santa Clara University School of Law
Lizbeth Najera Muñoz says she has an “innate imposition to live by the American tradition of pulling myself up by my bootstraps”. She is motivated by her challenges, and even found working at a KFC/Taco Bell in a poor Los Angeles community an “invaluable source of inspiration” because it gave her the “privilege of knowing the personal stories” of co-workers and customers “affected by poverty and crime”. Lizbeth has been a longtime activist around immigrant rights, and works with the California DREAM Network. Through her leadership in this and other Latino student-serving organizations, she realized the value of a legal education in supporting her service to her community.

Susana Naranjo
UC Hastings College of Law
Susana Naranjo has always sought to bring attention to the plight of immigrants, having immigrated to the United States herself. In college, she sought to ensure that mainstream campus activist organizations took a stand on immigrant rights, but when some would not, she started her own activist organization, mobilizing students for the 2006 May Day march. In her service at a wage recovery clinic, Susana encountered "heinous stories about labor and sexual exploitation", and at the Restaurant Opportunities Center, met many immigrant workers who believe themselves without rights. She says the "unconscionable dehumanizing experiences faced by Latina/o immigrants fuels my desire to prepare myself to defend the legal rights of my community".

Esmeralda Santos
UC Hastings College of Law
Esmeralda Santos says "my educational aspirations were motivated by the first day I worked in the fields" at twelve years old. She has gone on to work among farm workers in her community in a new capacity, including developing affordable housing projects for farm workers in California's Central Valley. She also spent time in North Carolina organizing farm workers to unionize with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. Knowing the importance of access to education, Esmeralda is a lifelong advocate around keeping public colleges affordable for students like her, and has organized students around financial aid protection. She feels these activist experiences will benefit her when she eventually serves farm worker communities as an attorney.

Rosa Erandi Zamora
Columbia Law School
Rosa Erandi Zamora has always sought to support younger students who came after her, whether at her California Central Valley high school, the Latino community around her Orange County, California campus, or the Latino community around her Washington Heights, New York law school. Most recently, Erandi established "Street Law en Español", know-your-rights workshops for the Spanish-speaking community in New York City, and worked with the Legal Aid Society of New York’s Immigration Defense Unit, the National Immigration Law Center, and MALDEF. She says, "I understand the power of attorneys to promote social justice and systematic change, and I am eager to do my part."

Applications are still available, CLICK HERE

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," 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