Congratulations to the 2022 class of LMJ Scholars.

Vanessa Agudelo
Nathnael Alazar ⋅ 2022 LMJ Scholar Recipient

Microsoft Scholar
Columbia University in the City of New York

Originally from Springfield, Virginia and the son of Eritrean immigrants, Nathnael Alazar graduated summa cum laude from the University of Chicago in March 2022 with a B.A. in Public Policy and Political Science. And while he loves to talk about sports, especially on his DMVSportsZone YouTube podcast, Nathnael’s primary interests lie in immigration, criminal justice, and education. In college, he helped immigrants file for visas, secure housing, and receive mental health, remote learning, and financial services during COVID-19. He also led college access programs for high school students and represented low-income and minority clients in police abuse and post-conviction cases. His most enduring work, however, came with the Fairfax NAACP back home, where he organized “Cops vs. Kids” basketball games to ease community-police tensions, researched Fairfax County’s school-to-prison pipeline and pushed for reform to the district’s School Resource Officer program, and advanced the nationally-recognized 2020 renaming of his high school from Robert E. Lee to John R. Lewis.

Now, as a 1L at Columbia Law School, Nathnael has continued assisting others. He has represented New York public school students at their suspension hearings, hosted voter protection education sessions at Black churches in Dallas, Texas to protect Black ballots ahead ofthe 2022 midterms, and researched and wrote about critical affirmative action cases on theFrederick Douglass Moot Court. Nathnael hopes to only do more of this work throughout lawschool and beyond, with the hopes of one day becoming a civil rights attorney and elected representative in Virginia.

Vanessa Agudelo
Claudia Diaz Martinez ⋅  2022 LMJ Scholar Recipient

MCCA Scholar
University of California – Irvine

Claudia is a proud migrant from Oaxaca, Mexico. Her personal experiences and studies sparked her interest in pursuing the legal profession and advocate for marginalized communities. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Political Science and Chicana/o Studies. After graduation, she represented clients before the Department of Homeland Security in immigration relief, as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. Working as an Accredited Representative under an anti-immigrant administration emphasized the importance of having diverse attorneys in the legal profession, from impact litigation to the private sector. She is attending UC Irvine School of Law, where she will focus on developing skills to ameliorate social injustices and continue to diversify the legal profession.

Vanessa Agudelo
Sara Gomez Bohorquez ⋅  2022 LMJ Scholar Recipient

Chevron Scholar
Columbia University in the City of New York

Sara Gomez Bohorquez graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Media Studies, a minor in Politics, and academic honors in 2018. As a first generation immigrant from Colombia, Ms.Gomez Bohorquez is passionate about immigration law and immigrants’ rights. Her interest in the law arose when she interned at The Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project and at Badilla Quinteros, P.C., a boutique immigration law firm. Following graduation, Sara worked as a legal assistant at the International Refugee Assistance Project, where she joined both the litigation team and the direct legal services team to advocate for the rights of refugees. Ms.Gomez Bohorquez is currently a first-year law student at Columbia Law School.

Vanessa Agudelo
Arianna Hopkins ⋅  2022 LMJ Scholar Recipient

Bob Bostrom Scholar
Fordham University

Arianna Hopkins graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science in 2022 from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Arianna has spent her professional career advocating for underrepresented and marginalized communities in political and legal spaces. She is a 2-time Congressional Intern on Capitol Hill and has spent time at the NC District Attorney’s Office where she found her passion for the law and how she can contribute to diversity in it. Arianna is currently a first-year law student at Fordham University School of Law.

Vanessa Agudelo
Divine Kickingbird ⋅  2022 LMJ Scholar Recipient

MCCA Scholar
University of Arizona

Divine Kickingbird is a citizen of Navajo Nation, she is Hasht l’ishnii (Mud Clan) born for the Naahilii (African American clan). Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Naasht’ézhi dine’é (Zuni Clan) and her paternal grandmother’s clan is Naahilii (African American Clan). Divine earned a Master’s of Science degree in Forensic Science from Syracuse University and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Gonzaga University. The lack of justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous people lead her to pursue a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law with an emphasis in Tribal Law. Ms. Kickingbird is currently a first-year law student and plans to serve as a legal advocate for Indigenous peoples after graduation.

Vanessa Agudelo
Veda Tsai ⋅  2022 LMJ Scholar Recipient

Robert Half Legal Scholar
The University of Texas at Austin

Veda Tsai is a Texas native and first-year law student at the University of Texas School of Law. She is proud to be the first in her family to pursue law. Ms. Tsai graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Texas at Dallas with Collegium V Honors and as a National Merit Scholar. With a background in health sciences, she combined her love for medicine with a passion for advocacy as Mock Trial team captain, Mediation captain, and Moot Court national competitor.

Prior to law school, she served as the founding Chair of the Student Advisory Board for the Center for Asian Studies at UT Dallas, a space for building bridges across cultural divides andpromoting new educational opportunities, such as new language classes. Ms. Tsai is honored to have been a part of efforts to build inclusive teams for traditionally underrepresented groups inthe legal industry. Her teams have gone on to become two-time international mediation champions. She continued to promote diversity in higher education as a National Merit StudentDirector, Honors College Speaker, and a Freshman mentor and assist students in their transitionto college.

During her undergraduate studies she interned with Congressman Colin Allred in Washington,D.C. as a Bill Archer fellow, where she was nominated as a Stennis Congressional Intern. Ms.Tsai’s final internship before law school was at the Federal District Court for North Texas. She looks forward to exploring opportunities at a law firm with a commitment to diversity and pro bono work.

Pin It on Pinterest