OUR STUDENTS

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Bobby - CIP Student 13

NATHALIE

My name is Bobby I am honored to be a part of the CIP. I recently transitioned to the legal field after 9 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. Upon graduation I hope to be a prosecutor for the federal government. In the meantime I hope to be exposed to the criminal defense side of our justice system. As a potential future prosecutor, I believe it is vitally important for the balance of our criminal justice system for different entities to be able to understand each other’s perspectives. I have gained valuable life experiences through the Corps in places like Afghanistan, Japan, etc. Now I look forward to gaining experience in public defense that will season me to be a prosecutor.

ASHLEY

Born and raised in the Mountain West, the great outdoors of the Rockies taught me there is nothing more important than living a life of free will and sovereignty. To truly come to know one’s self, one must be placed in very uncomfortable situations, far and away from the comforts of home, streets, and stores. This ‘call of the wild’ showed me what I was truly capable of: to find food when I had none, to sleep without a bed, and find my way back home without a GPS. The most exhilarating aspect of nature is the encounter with the unknown, and having the autonomy to navigate one’s self through the unknown. For these reasons, among others, I chose to move to San Diego, CA and work with the California Innocence Project, to hopefully one day help an innocent individual return to navigating the channels of life, truly free and unburdened from a crime they never committed.

Lesley - CIP Student 12

MONICA

Hello, my name is Monica. I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and I am a native Spanish speaker. I completed my undergraduate career at the University of Arizona and studied Psychology and Pre-Law. There, I took a course in Forensic Psychology that ultimately changed my life. Part of this course highlighted the many errors inherent in eyewitness testimony and the countless wrongful convictions that followed. I was deeply moved to learn the stories of the victims who were incarcerated for a crime they did not commit. I cannot think of a greater injustice than this. I knew then that I wanted to attend law school to become a voice for the voiceless. After graduating, I worked as a Paralegal and assisted injured workers with their Worker’s Compensation and Social Security claims. Two years later, I committed to further my legal career and I enrolled at California Western. I learned about the California Innocence Project and immediately knew this was my chance to advocate for the voiceless. I am incredibly blessed to work for this tremendous program and to fight for those who have had their freedom stripped from them.

TOM

After having a life changing epiphany in 2011, I realized I wanted to be an Attorney. From the moment I made my decision, I knew I wanted to use the power of the law to help others. Naturally, when I learned about the California Innocence Project, I knew I wanted to be involved. I immediately applied to California Western School of Law and elected to attend CWSL based on the hope of being selected for the California Innocence Project program.

When I was selected for the project it was a dream come true! Along with the rest of the C.I.P. staff, I am determined to make a tangible impact on the lives of C.I.P. clients and will work tirelessly to help exonerate victims of wrongful convictions. C.I.P. is a non-profit organization and we need your help to continue our work. Please help donate and/or volunteer to help us reach our important goal!

COURTNEY

Hello, My name is Courtney. I am 23 years old, born in raised in the Chicagoland area. Before coming to California Western, I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of California – Santa Barbara. There, I studied Political Science with an emphasis on American Politics. Most recently, I served as a law clerk for the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office in Murrieta, California. I currently work as the President of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, an Honors Instructor for Legal Skills and a mom to my three dogs & one cat. I feel very honored to be working as a clinical intern for the California Innocence Project this year. I was raised to stand up for people who everyone else has turned their backs on. This is exactly what CIP does. This program gives people a second chance at life.

RACHELLE

I received my bachelors degrees in Chicana and Chicano Studies and Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles. I am currently studying law at the California Western School of Law. I am a native Spanish speaker, born and raised in National City, South Bay San Diego. I take pride in my community and am committed to investing in its development. My passion for public interest law and human rights stems from my family’s and my community’s struggles within the legal system. I am devoted to the California Innocence Project because it’s mission compliments my personal interests and my career goals. I am grateful to all who will assist me in providing justice to the factually innocent and wrongfully imprisoned.
Amy - CIP Student 7

AMY

Like most, my childhood was one of limitless idealism. Even at a very young age, I loved learning about the legal system. I had this grandiose idea I could single-handedly change the world through practicing law. After a series of life altering events, I lost the youthful idealism and I viewed idealism as a luxury, a fantasy for the naïve, which was inapplicable in the real world. My life’s direction turned from law and I obtained a Masters Degree in Political Science. I then volunteered for AmeriCorps and worked with at-risk youth in Los Angeles. From there, I worked as a grant writer and mentor program manager for a non-profit assisting probation and foster youth. I found myself acting as an advocate for minors. After a few years, my idealism returned. However, it was no longer the saccharine, naïve idealism of my youth, but one forged in the face of adversity. This neo-idealism was rooted in the experience that one does not have to single-handedly change the world, merely the life of another, to have a meaningful impact. This is how I ended up at CIP. I want to advocate for those who have been wrongfully convicted and help them get their lives back, one client at a time.

AUSTIN

My name is Leah. I am from Colorado and studied at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. I double majored in Social Work and Political Science, with a minor in Spanish. During my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Valparaiso, Chile. After graduation, I returned to South America for several months. During these trips, I witnessed and learned about some of the injustices that exist in Latin America. These experiences are part of the reason why I was driven to pursue work with the California Innocence Project. My long-term goal as a former Social Worker pursuing a legal career is to work myself out of a job. I hope to one-day rest assured that I contributed to effectively advocating for social justice in a way that has made the world a better, safer, and more accepting place. In pursuit of these goals, I joined the California Innocence Project because I recognize it is an organization that works relentlessly toward justice.

MADELYNN

I am the true definition of a homegrown Hoosier. Born in northern Indiana, I attended the beautiful and amazing Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. My undergraduate degrees were in Anthropology and Spanish. My anthropology degree opened my eyes to different cultures and ways of life. The border crisis and young immigrant children were my inspiration for applying to law school. As a law student, and eventually as an attorney, I want my main focus to be on helping other people build their lives into something they can be proud of. My inspiration for my work in this program is my younger brother. His smile and determination throughout his battle with the legal system has inspired me to help those that get caught up in all the technicalities. I am so inspired and ready to free the wrongfully convicted.

SIRIANNA

Having known what it feels like to have a loved one in prison for years, I was very interested in becoming part of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law. I want to help innocent people and innocent families have a second chance to be a “whole” again. Incarceration isn’t just the prisoner’s punishment, it is also a punishment that prisoners’ mom, dad, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, and partners experience. And if that prisoner is wrongfully convicted, then the injustice extends to the entire family. I wouldn’t wish that punishment on anyone. Your sponsorship will help reunite innocent families. Thank you for your time and donations.

GOLI

I was born in South Korea, raised in California, and spent 6 of my favorite years living in Iowa. During those years, I attended Coe College where I studied political science. Before my last semester of undergrad, I never once considered the possibility that an innocent person could actually go to prison. Then one day, I found myself interviewing an exoneree for my senior research project. Two years later, I began the law school journey to become a public defender. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the truly talented and dedicated individuals that make up the California Innocence Project. I am excited for the work ahead in continuing to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.