Meet the 2016 Summer Interns

Meet the Interns who will work with LatinoJustice for the Summer of 2016


Getting to know Jose Animas:

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Mexico but was raised in Brooklyn, NY.

What school do you attend?

I will be a sophomore at Brooklyn College.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

I am majoring in Marketing and there was an opportunity in the communications department.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

You do you, because at the end of the day you are the one who is stuck with yourself.

What is a hidden talent?

I can understand some French words.

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

I like to make steak sometimes, with various seasonings.

Favorite sport and team?

My favorite sport is soccer. My favorite team is the Mexican National Football team.


Getting to know Julio Avendano

Where are you originally from?

Miami, FL and born to Nicaraguan parents

What law school do you attend?

University of Florida. Go Gators!

Why do you want to become a lawyer?

I want to become a lawyer so I can help people resolve their legal issues and resolve legal issues that people don’t even know affect them. I want to be a lawyer so that I can be a voice for the community.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

I wanted to intern at LJP because being Hispanic, I wanted to learn about the civil rights and constitutional issues facing Hispanics. Not only did I want to learn about the issues but I wanted to be able to help and LJP gives me that exact opportunity.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

Fall down seven times, stand up eight..

What is a hidden talent?

I used to DJ back while I was in high school

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

I love to eat Nicaraguan food like queso frito and tortillas, and basically anything that my mom cooks. I don’t necessarily have a favorite food to make, my cooking skills are basic.

Favorite sport and team?

I love all Miami sports teams, Marlins, Heat, and Dolphins, but the Marlins are my one true love


Getting to know Josalyn I. Ayuso:

Where are you originally from?

Hartford, Connecticut

What law school do you attend?

Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Why do you want to become a lawyer?

So that I may expand my opportunities, grow in all ways that a human is capable of, experience using the law to help others as well as prepare myself to become more than a lawyer, and become a Judge or ambassador.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

I believe the work that LJP does is vital, I want to be involved and exposed to the issues that the Latino community is facing so that I can apply my theoretical knowledge into actual practice and help the lawyers here progress in the work they do. One of my main goals this summer is to narrow down on the type of law I would soon like to practice, interning here would help that goal as well as teach me more about civil rights.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

“Whatever the question, love is the answer.”

What is a hidden talent?

I often forget that I have a hidden talent because I rarely give much time to it, but I have a steady hand for drawing.

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

I love eating and making pollo guisado (stew chicken), and making apple crumble (sweet desert).

Favorite sport and team?

I don’t have a favorite sport or team but I have a favorite thing to do which is dance! (Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, reggae, etc.)


Getting to Know Alexis Garcia

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Edinburg, Texas – a town along the southern border of Texas and Mexico.

What law school do you attend?

I am currently a rising 2L at Cornell Law School.

Why do you want to become a lawyer?

I want to become an attorney because I believe the law is the vehicle for change that best suits my goals and assets. I gained a new perspective on life through my transition from a small town in Texas to the city of New York, which proved to me that change is greatly needed in our nation's social policies. I saw that it was possible to espouse one's own values while also resisting prejudice. My goal is to gain legal and professional skills and use them to expedite the end of intolerance through legal reform. I hope to institute positive change directed towards a more inclusive and accepting society.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

I wanted to work at LJP because I am familiar with this organization and its initiatives (I was a LawBound Scholar in 2013) and thus knew I could gain legal skills, such as writing and research, while simultaneously focusing on a practice area I am passionate about. I knew that LJP's cases pertained to my interest in civil rights and constitutional law (and my interest in supreme court case law) and also my desire to aid my Latino community.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

There are a lot of quotes that sum up my motto or life philosophy of perseverance and self-motivation. One of my favorites is a lyric from the song "Ten Thousand Hours" by Macklemore, which my brother quoted to me in college when I when giving up and called him to tell him I had reached my limit. He quoted "the greats weren't great because at birth they could paint, the greats were great because they painted a lot."

What is a hidden talent?

I can hunt and fish and love to do so with my dad whenever I visit home in Texas.

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

I love all types of cuisine (I am a true garbage disposal and eat just about everything!) but I especially love Tex-Mex food, BBQ, and Thai food. I don't have a favorite food to cook, but I enjoy experimenting with new recipes whenever I have spare time. I recently learned to make panna cotta!

Favorite sport and team?

My favorite sport to play is badminton, although I rarely get to play since its availability at school gyms is limited. I don't have a favorite sport team and I don't watch sports very often.


Getting to know Erwin Fernandez.

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from New York City.

What law school do you attend?

I attend Fordham University school of Law.

Why do you want to become a lawyer?

Earning a J.D. will allow me to pursue a career that combines my passions for teaching, research, community service, and legal advocacy. It will also provide me with the opportunity to work on accomplishing my goal of establishing programs throughout the nation that provide motivational and academic support for inner-city students.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

Growing up as a Latino in a low-income neighborhood and working since the age of thirteen was instrumental in shaping my outlook on life, as well as my future academic research. As a teenager, I worked in a supermarket, pharmacy, and factory to help support my family. The public schools in my neighborhood were not prepared to provide us with a quality education. My classes were typically overcrowded and we were frequently forced to share tattered books. These experiences have instilled in me a sense of duty to educate underserved communities about available resources and individual rights. I wanted to intern at Latino Justice because it would enable me to accomplish this goal through its fight for civil rights for Latin@s.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

YOLO.

What is a hidden talent?

Dancing, and many others that I have not discovered (Haha!).

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

Arroz con guandules, tortas de carne, tostones o maduro, y ensalada de papa.

Favorite sport and team?

Favorite sport to watch: football and baseball. Favorite sport to play: basketball. Favorite sports team: The New York Yankees.


Getting to know Kelsey Peña

Where are you originally from?

Weston, Florida

What law school do you attend?

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Why do you want to become a lawyer?

I wanted to use my opportunity to attend law school as a way to help bridge the gap between marginalized individuals and our justice system.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

I wanted to learn how to advocate for a community that I believe faces constant discrimination. LatinoJustice is at the forefront fighting for the Latino community. I believe in their mission and hope to help in protecting the rights of Latinos.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

“Every action of our lives touches on some chord that vibrates in eternity.” –Edwin Hubbell Chapin

What is a hidden talent?

I have seen every single episode of Law and Order Special Victims Unit. It’s not so much a talent as it is an accomplishment—there are 389 episodes!

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

I love cooking Italian food but I think my favorite is sausage and peppers on Italian bread

Favorite sport and team?

Florida State football!


Getting to know Rachel Searle

Where are you originally from?

Johnstown, Colorado – If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it is in the middle of nowhere with a population around 10,000.

What law school do you attend?

I am a rising 3L at New York Law School

Why do you want to become a lawyer?

I have always wanted to go into a career where I can help people and most of the big problems that people need help with stem from legal issues. By knowing the law, I can challenge injustices and help others to navigate the system.

Why did you want to intern at LJP?

LJP is at the forefront of a lot of the issues I hope to work on such as voting rights and workers’ rights. I wanted to learn how to use impact litigation, community outreach, and other lawyering skills to affect a large community. It is really great to learn from people who are experienced in this field and so passionate about the work they do.

What is your motto or life philosophy?

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I like this because nothing is ever perfect and we cannot let the idea of perfection deter us from trying to make something better.

What is a hidden talent?

This may not be a talent, but one of my hobbies is posting on a Facebook page I have called “Bagels of New York.” Every time I eat a bagel, I take a picture of it then post it with a caption that is similar to a Humans of New York post, but something that a bagel would say.

What is your favorite food to eat/make (take note that we might ask you to make it!)?

I love chocolate in any of its forms. I especially like to make brookies; they are part chocolate chip cookie, part brownie, all delicious.

Favorite sport and team?

I don’t follow sports very closely, but I love the Olympics and am really excited for them to start this summer. I especially love watching swimming because I used to swim. I will be keeping an eye out for Missy Franklin.

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