The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey’s Scholarship Winners
Cynthia Vera ’18: “The HBA-NJ's dedication and commitment to helping diverse students like myself is truly noteworthy and I cannot thank them enough for this opportunity.”
In June 2016, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) honored Alyra Liriano ’17, Anaïs Paccione ‘17, and Cynthia Vera ’18 at its 35th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala. Each year the HBA-NJ presents scholarships to high-achieving Latino students.
Our award recipients shared their appreciation following the Gala:
Alyra Liriano ’17
I wanted to be a voice for anyone who feels unheard, ignored, or neglected in any way because I knew that feeling all too well. You know that saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them”? Well, that’s why I decided to go to law school. I knew that one honest future attorney could not change the world and implement real justice across legal systems. But, I also knew that I could do my part in positively affecting and maybe even changing someone’s life. So, upon graduation, I want to use my juris doctorate degree and skills set where they would be best employed: with the people.
Anaïs Paccione ‘17
I knew from a young age that I would pursue a law degree. At my performing arts high school, I had dreams of becoming an entertainment lawyer. I majored in Media Studies in undergraduate school at Vassar College, and from then onwards I planned to connect my passion for the arts to my desire to be an attorney. I am the first in my family to graduate college and pursue a law degree. Making my family proud has been my driving force through it all.
Much like myself while growing up, I know that many young students of color may not have any ties to a network of attorneys or the legal community. Success in law school is often difficult to achieve if you do not have the advice of someone who has gone through it before you. When I am an attorney I plan to be a mentor to these students, guiding them through law school and the competitive job search. First generation college and graduate students, especially, need this network of mentors.
I was honored to receive this recognition from the HBA-NJ. The organization is committed to giving back to the community and supporting law students. Scholarships like this one make a significant difference in the lives of diverse law students like myself. The HBA-NJ's support system is essential in strengthening the Hispanic presence in the legal field. I am grateful to be a part of the organization, and plan to remain active in furthering its objectives for years to come.
Cynthia Vera ‘18
The legal field is ever expanding and the law of the land changes every day. To have the chance to gain the skill and ability to effectively navigate through a legal minefield and help shape society for the better is what inspired me to pursue a law degree. Because the law touches so many components of everyday life, education is key. Everyone deserves to know and understand the law that governs them.
As a Hispanic, I have seen first-hand how a language barrier heavily impedes justice. I hope to use my law degree to help those who feel beaten up by the system or helpless because of their lack of legal training. I am truly blessed and honored to have been selected by the HBA-NJ to receive a scholarship. This organization has served as a guiding light throughout the various hurdles and headaches of my 1L year. The HBA-NJ's dedication and commitment to helping diverse students like myself is truly noteworthy and I cannot thank them enough for this opportunity.
Pictured, from left, are Alyra Liriano ’17, Anaïs Paccione ’17, and Cynthia Vera ’18. Paccione.