Esmeralda Suarez, 3L

When Esmeralda Suarez was growing up in San Bernardino, California, the city went bankrupt. Although she understood how her community was impacted, she struggled to articulate the dynamics. “This experience inspired me to pursue higher education and become civically engaged,” she says.

For her undergraduate degree at UCLA, Suarez studied political science and Chicana/o studies. Through her coursework, she explored how paradigms of race, class, citizenship, gender, and sexuality shape Latino communities in the United States. She also participated in JusticeCorps, an AmeriCorps program dedicated to assisting self-represented litigants in court-based self-help centers. “After graduation, I worked at the Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles, providing free immigration assistance to college students and their families,” she says.

The beautiful thing about Michigan Law is that it opened doors for me that I never knew existed; my career possibilities are endless.”

Suarez is a Mexican-American first-generation high school and college graduate and the first person in her family to pursue law school. Being a law student was never something she had imagined for herself, let alone at Michigan Law. “The scholarship I received gave me validation that the school wanted to invest in my future and welcomed diversity in the classroom,” she says. “I also found a community within the Latinx Law Students Association and the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, for which I am the managing editor.”

Since attending Michigan Law, Suarez says she is more committed than ever to strengthening the law school pipeline for underrepresented students. “In my community, we strongly believe in lifting each other up,” she says. “As I climb the ladder, I’m pulling others up with me. Michigan Law has helped make that possible.”