Joanna Lopez, a political science and Spanish major at Case Western Reserve University, was surprised when she opened a letter recently and a $2,500 check from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund fell out of the envelope. She had forgotten that she applied for the scholarship that she also won during her first year at the university.
The student from Elyria, Ohio, applied for the scholarship and submitted an essay that answered questions on how she is a leader and how she would improve Hispanic education.
Lopez's answers won her the support that she will apply towards her education at Case that will come to end early when she graduates in May.
The pre-law student plans to attend Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in the fall. She will pursue her interest in becoming a child advocate lawyer and eventually a prosecutor and a family court judge.
"I hope to change the legal system," said Lopez. "Some things are unfair—especially when you have a 17-year-old locked up for life for smoking marijuana and someone convicted of murder out of jail in a few years. As a judge you have to take many things into consideration, and maybe rehabilitation would be better instead of arbitrarily putting someone in prison."
While at Case, Lopez has served as co-president of Alianza, the Hispanic student association, and as secretary of the African American Society. She is listed in the Who's Who in American Colleges, is a member of 3.0 and Up Club and nominee for a Dorothy Pijan Leadership Award.
What she has liked best about attending Case is that she was able to connect to the broader Cleveland community through tutoring of third- and fourth-graders two hours each Saturday morning at the Church of the Covenant. She also volunteered at Buhrer School, a predominantly Spanish-speaking school on Cleveland's west side, and at the East Cleveland Library.
Established in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the nation's leading organization that supports Hispanic higher education by advancing college opportunities among Hispanic Americans. The fund has awarded more than $195 million through 78,000 scholarships.
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