Major: Political Science-Legal Studies
Hometown: Fresno, CA
Luz took a big risk and she’s the first to tell you that she has never regretted it! She left a full-time paid job with an apparel company which was fun and exciting, but not her true passion. She had to overcome the fear of leaving a secure job to return to school. With a big smile Luz says, “It was well worth the risk – it has been an amazing ride!”
She first heard about CLIC in a class talk and her curiosity was piqued enough to attend an orientation meeting. The rest is history. She is now the co-director for CLIC’s Disabled and the Law department.
Her enthusiasm about her hands-on experience and direct client contact is palpable. “It is so powerful to know you’re making a difference in people’s lives. As students we are the face of the program.”
As a co-director for Disabled in the Law, Luz gets to appear in front of a court judge to advocate for a client who has been denied his/her social security disability benefits. She researches and gathers documents to prove that a client is eligible for those benefits. Once a claim is filed, it takes up to a year to gather evidence before the hearing. She finds the work incredibly rewarding. “I feel like I’m making a difference altering someone’s life in a good way.”
Working at CLIC and carrying a full load “keeps me on my toes, contributes to my time management skills and provides me with insight to administrative work in the law. It’s fascinating to read about administrative law in class and then go to work at CLIC and actually apply that knowledge.” In addition to her individual client caseload, Luz hires, trains and supervises six other interns in the department. She describes herself as someone who gets along well with people, is professional with clients and co-works, a good communicator, and both passionate and adaptable at what she does.
Luz is particular gratified by the work environment at CLIC. “Everyone here cares about what they’re doing, and you sense that the minute you walk in. Great relationships develop among the staff. There is wonderful camaraderie when you can share what it takes to do the job with others who sympathize and understand.”
Luz is multi-lingual and is fascinated by linguistics. She isn’t sure of long term career path, but after graduation would like to work in a law office for a year for additional experience and then maybe go onto law school.
In Luz’s words:
“Never be afraid to reach out. We come to school often feeling very independent. You quickly realize you can’t do it alone. Surround yourself with mentors. Put yourself out there to advisors, professional staff and faculty — they are all helping hands for the path you are on.”