Featured Lawtina: Maria Fernanda Alfaro

Obtaining a higher education degree is difficult, obtaining three is very aspiring when you come from immigrant families working extra hard to make our family dreams come true. CONGRATULATIONS MARIA! You and your family are an inspiration! Keep thriving!

“My name is María Fernanda Alfaro and I was born in Heredia, Costa Rica.  When I was a child my family moved to the United States of America, where we lived for the majority of my life as undocumented immigrants. Unlike most of my peers in high school, I spent my nights cleaning offices with my mother and sister in order to earn the money we needed to hire an immigration attorney. I graduated from a high school that had been deemed a "drop-out" factory and made it a personal goal to prove the label wrong, while simultaneously helping everyone I could along my journey. While completing my third year of undergrad and after many, many years of saving and waiting, we became legal permanent residents! I became the first individual to obtain a college degree in my family. My maternal grandparents had a total of 16 children making it economically impossible for my mother to obtain an education passed the 6th grade.” Maria excelled in academics and has overcome so much!

In undergrad, she attended the University of Houston and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish, summa cum laude, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish, summa cum laude in May 2013.

Maria continues, “this is just a glimpse to some of the many situations I have endured in my journey to obtaining a JD. Growing up in material poverty has given me a unique perspective and an appreciation for all opportunities I am granted. I am in awe of God's mercy over my life and all that He continues to do.” Amen! Preach, sister!

During her time in law school, Maria was awarded the St. Mary’s University School of Law Pro Bono and Public Service Award, Adele Advocate for the Poor Award, the St. Mary’s University School of Law Women in Law Leadership Award, the Center for Legal and Social Justice Pro Bono Program, Excellence in Pro Bono Award , the Center for Legal and Social Justice Pro Bono Program, Outstanding Second-Year Pro Bono Volunteer Award, the Dean’s Academic Award, Spring 2018, the St. Mary’s University School of Law Legal and Cultural Spring Break in Mexico at University of Guadalajara, Spring Break 2018 and an International Certification on Mexico’s Legal System, and the St. Mary’s University School of Law Institute on Chinese Law and Business at Beihang University, Beijing, China, Summer 2017. WHOO! That’s incredible!

Maria just graduate this month as a Juris Doctor from St. Mary's University School of cum laude! She has accepted a job offer with the Texas Grande Legal Aid (TRLA)."Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is Texas' largest provider of free legal services. TRLA provides legal counsel and representation to 23000 Texans annually." http://www.trla.org

We are clapping and cheering you on, Maria! Congratulations again!