Featured Lawtina: Nayelly Dominguez
Nayelly Dominguez is a rising 2L at Texas A&M University School of Law. She was born in the United States, but she is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants from Guanajuato, Mexico. Nayelly is extremely proud of her Mexican culture, and there is not one year that she does not go to Mexico at least once. "iY arriba mi Uriangato!" She graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) with 3 majors in Engineering Management, Information, & Systems, Economics, and French. After SMU she pursued a career in Consulting at EY, traveling around the country solving IT and business issues for large companies until she decided to pursue her lifelong goal of going to law school.
"My fearless ambition has always been an attribute I am proud of, but that many have seen as not normal for a Mexican-American girl. Since I was a small child, people around me told me to “tone it down” and act more “normal” when I'd provide my opinions over current topics. After a choir trip to Italy when I was 15, I discovered a passion for cultural immersion and travel. As I enjoyed a tutti frutti gelato in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence and gazed at the Creation of Man inside the Sistine Chapel, I was no longer living vicariously through textbooks. I had finally earned my place as a citizen of the world. Two years later when I was fundraising for a cultural exchange to Budapest, my tias suggested that it was time to aplacarme with the “crazy” traveling since "eso no es de nosotros." Before I could even reach a glass ceiling, I was being forced into a cultural box that I was quickly outgrowing.
Due to my uninvited perspectives, private schooling, foreign trips, and other “out of the box”ambitious pursuits, my parents were often questioned as to why they allowed me to engage in these activities. Their reply was simple: asi es ella—"that’s who she is.” Because they grew up with societal and financial limitations in southern Guanajuato, my mama and papi, Josefina and Dagoberto, raised me with freedom of thought and expression, and, more importantly, the desire to seek out opportunities they never had themselves. When I was 18 and earned the Chris Meyer Memorial Scholarship, the only full scholarship in the U.S. offered by Abbey Road programs, to study French and live with a host family in France, my parents trusted me to make my own decisions and sent me abroad with their blessing. Every time I called home my parents were eager to hear the new words I had learned, and I could sense their excitement as I described my views of the Mediterranean. Despite my parents not being able to relate to any of my new experiences, they constantly sacrificed their comfort to celebrate and encourage my intellectual tenacity and adventurous spirit, traits upon which I have built my identity and character, and which I consider to be my edges.
Bolstered by the support of my parents, I finally realized I was different, and above all, that my uniqueness was beautiful! I celebrated my ambition and my uniqueness by fully embracing it. In college I chose to triple major in three diverse subjects: Engineering Management, Information & Systems (EMIS), Economics, and French. I enrolled in the maximum amount of credit hours every semester while simultaneously interning at a Fortune 500 company. I received public service fellowships to work with high school students in Brazil and Indonesia, and even decided to study abroad again in France for a semester. When I was offered a position at EY, I quickly took it and embraced every challenge, trip, and adventure that each project brought. Even more so, when I finally pursued my lifelong dream of attending law school, I embraced the challenge and completely immersed myself in this journey, a journey that is completely fitting for me, and one that I know will be rewarding. Despite having friends and family from my own culture question my projects and my moves, I continue to be motivated by my passions and interests. I allow my spirit to be led by my unabashed drive combined with my thirst for learning. For you see, it is perfectly okay to want more and even better to pursue it!
Whenever I speak to younger Latina girls I encourage them to want more, and to know that it is okay to have ambition and drive, as my parents have instilled in me. Through my non-profit, the Hispanic Debutante Association of Fort Worth, I encourage my students to seek out opportunities and work with them so that they may be as prepared as possible to pursue their goals and achieve everything they want and more. Never should a girl, much less a Latina, be questioned for pursuing better opportunities for herself. I will always support them, and celebrate them pursuing their passions.
As an attorney I will finally be able to continue using my gifts to give meaning to my work as I gave meaning to my passions and my ambition. Above all, as an attorney I will be able to honor the little girl who never “toned it down” and honor my parents, who allowed me to be me."
You can follow Nayelly on Instagram @naye_dom_vamonos