Hometown: Queens, NY
- University of Pennsylvania, 2004 | Fine Arts
- MFA, Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Job: Independence Foundation Fellow, Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Program: Full-Time Day
I participated in the Law & Public Policy Program, which led me to my involvement with Ceiba, a coalition of Latino nonprofit organizations that advocates for the financial wellbeing of the Latino community in Philadelphia. From tax return preparation, to voter protection, to affordable housing and neighborhood preservation advocacy, I learned to apply an array of skills and legal instruments to benefit my local community. My mentor, Will Gonzalez, has taught me to value accuracy over speed, to be humble, and to advocate with confidence.
Life in Philadelphia
Do yourself a favor: Get to know Philly. As a born and bred New Yorker, I am proud to call Philadelphia my chosen home. Even if you are not a sports fan, I urge you to experience the absurdity of cheering on your local teams with the two most beguiling and notorious furry mascots in professional athletics. Indulge in soft pretzels, cheesesteaks (yes, you can find vegan ones too), and frozen treats Philadelphians call “water ice.” Pizza here is actually really good, and so are the tacos in South Philly. Aside from the food and the mascots, what I love most about Philly is that it is a little big city– you can develop authentic relationships with like-minded professionals and contribute to the community in meaningful ways.
Professor Knauer was most influential in shaping my legal education because she encouraged me to follow my passions and to believe in the power of the law to make a difference. When I said I wanted to learn about U.S. policy and disaster recovery in Puerto Rico, she said I could do that. By the summer of 1L year, I was working at HUD headquarters in Washington, D.C., the agency that oversees long-term disaster recovery. When I said I wanted to learn about local government and policy affecting the Latino community in Philadelphia, she said I could do that. By 2L year I was interning at City Council and working with my local community advocacy organization on civic engagement and housing. When the pandemic hit and I decided to give up an international internship opportunity to focus on the needs of my local community, she said I could do that. I ended up helping to serve hundreds of families with financial assistance through Ceiba during the summer months, and secured a post-graduate public interest fellowship addressing wealth inequality and neighborhood preservation in the Philadelphia Latinx community. Each step of the way, Professor Knauer was my most supportive teacher and greatest advocate.
Temple Law Lessons
- Remember what motivated you to come to law school in the first place, and stay true to yourself. If they happen, the failures won’t matter as much as you think they will. For every door that closes, there is another one that will open. The important thing is to dust yourself off and keep on going. Your character and conviction will speak louder than any blip on your transcript.
- There may not be a right answer; what matters is how you arrived at your conclusion. As Professor Baron once said, “Life is not a road, and you’re not on it.” I can’t say I understand exactly what she meant, but maybe that’s okay.