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Hi my name is Brooke and I am from Modesto, CA. I attended University of California, Davis for my undergraduate education and spent two years traveling and working before coming to law school. I lived in Punta de Mita, Mexico, and that experience changed my life. Not only did I learn Spanish and acquire an obsession for Mexican culture, I also realized what a privilege it is to be an American. There are so many things that I always took for granted, but after living in a foreign country, I realized how lucky I am just to be a U.S. citizen. In particular, I am lucky to live in a society with such an intricate legal system designed to protect our citizens and guarantee justice. As a strong believer in our legal system, I want to do everything I can to ensure that others also have faith in it. I want to be part of the California Innocence Project to make our legal system stronger, and fight for anybody who has been denied the privileges of being an American. I am honored to be part of a team with such competent, passionate, and good-hearted people that are working to restore justice for those wrongfully convicted.
Hi! My name is Dana and I am from Asbury Park, New Jersey (infamously known as the “Jersey Shore”, although it’s nothing like the TV show). I earned my undergraduate degree at San Diego State University in Criminal Justice with a double minor in Psychology and Sociology. I have always been fascinated by the criminal justice system. Upon learning about the California Innocence Project several years ago, I knew I would attend California Western School of Law to fulfill my dreams of working with the organization. My ultimate goal as an attorney is to go to work each day feeling like I have a purpose. I don’t think there could be anything more gratifying than helping an innocent man or woman gain the freedom they deserve.
My name is Gemma. I am from a small town in New South Wales, Australia called Lennox Head. I have been living in San Diego since 2011. I originally moved to the states to swim and study history at San Diego State University. I am a dual major studying both my Masters in Social Work at SDSU and Law at California Western. I have a desire to work in criminal defense focusing on clients from vulnerable populations. This past summer I elected to work in the adult felony division of the San Diego Public Defender’s Office. Now I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to work with the California Innocence Project and give a voice to those who have been wrongfully convicted. One of the major tenants in the field of social work and law is the empowerment of our clients. I look forward to empowering my clients by giving them a voice and the opportunity for the liberty the justice system has stripped away from them.
Hi, my name is Priscella and I am a third year student at California Western School of Law. As a native San Diegan, this city is filled with childhood memories and dreams, including my long-time desire to attend law school every time I drove past California Western. After years of working and starting a family, I decided return to school. I earned a BA from California State University San Marcos where I majored in Criminology and Justice studies and minored in Psychology. This is where I developed a formal awareness of the social constructs that underlie the disparity in opportunity and miscarriages of justice while my minor added an essential understanding of research and an ability to critically approach it’s validity. During this time I also spent a year at the San Diego County Alternate Public Defender’s office, which gave me an invaluable opportunity to see the reality of what I had learned and assured me that criminal law is what I wanted to pursue. The opportunity to work with California Innocence Project is a privilege where hope to touch the lives of those who have lost so much more than their liberty while gaining in-depth understanding of what leads to wrongful convictions and the obstacles endured in remedying injustice.
Hi, I’m Dani! I grew up in San Diego, then moved to Santa Barbara where I studied the History of Art and Architecture, and Art Studio at UCSB. I graduated college, and didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was going to do next. I dabbled in large scale abstract oil paintings, worked as a professional photographer, went to bartending school, and fully embraced the concept of living “like there’s no tomorrow.” I spent the next 8 years after college wandering aimlessly in the desert until a near death experience forced me to ask myself, what would I be doing if I wasn’t afraid? A year later I was starting law school at California Western. I realized a capacity that I would have never believed possible. I also realized that no matter how many mistakes I had made up to that point, I was given the tremendous gift of a second chance. Starting my second year of law school and working with the California Innocence Project I’m privileged to work with a purpose, advocate for those who have been wrongfully convicted, and be that last chance.
Hello! My name is Payton and I’m a second-year student at California Western School of Law. I am originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and am the oldest of four children. I didn’t grow up with the most ideal of circumstances and was forced to come to terms with life’s hardships at a pretty young age. I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of South Dakota where I studied political science and journalism. After graduation, I worked in print journalism as a crime reporter covering local crime and breaking news. My experience as a journalist combined with the obstacles I’ve faced in life resulted in an awareness for the injustice people face every single day. In my first year of law school, I developed a clear and undeniable interest for criminal defense work. I interned with the San Diego Primary Public Defenders Office and now hope to continue that work with the California Innocence Project. My one ambition as I enter this program is to make a lasting impact on the lives of those who have been wrongfully convicted and one day give them back their rightfully deserved freedom.
My name is Madison and I am from the colorful state of Colorado. Growing up my family moved a lot, (I lived in 5 states by the time I was 12) but eventually we settled down in Colorado. In May of 2015, I graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Business Administration. After taking a few criminology classes in undergrad and learning of the injustices in the American criminal justice system, a passion sparked inside me and I decided to pursue law school. I specifically chose California Western School of Law because I knew I wanted to be apart of the California Innocence Project. I am determined to help our clients fight for their freedom and prove their innocence once and for all. Over the summer, I served as a law clerk for the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office, which strengthened my passion for criminal defense. Serving justice is my passion and that is what I am here to do!
Hello! My name is Kristen. I was born and raised in beautiful San Diego. I graduated from San Diego State University in May 2015 and received my Bachelor of Art in Political Science. I always had the idea I would go to law school, but it wasn’t until my involvement in the campus community at SDSU that I learned about the impact my work could make on others. While at SDSU, I developed a strong passion for helping those who could not help themselves and this passion continues to flourish while in law school. When I started at California Western School of Law, I was presented with more opportunities to help others and that is where I learned about the California Innocence Project. After finishing my first year of law school, I interned at the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office where I learned even more about the legal system and interacted with clients about their legal issues. I am honored to intern at the California Innocence Project and believe this opportunity will allow me to continue to fuel my passion in helping others who are in need. I look forward to combine what I have learned and my passion to help wrongfully convicted individuals attain their deserved innocence.
Hello, my name is Danica. I was born and raised in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. After high school, I migrated to Southern California to attend San Diego State University, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. I worked for California State Assemblyman Brian Jones from 2011 until the fall of 2015, when I enrolled at California Western School of Law. As a Senior Field Representative for Assemblyman Jones, I became the office expert on firearms applications, constituent inquiries related to the Department of Justice, and navigating the bureaucracy associated with rectifying inconsistencies on criminal history records. I took great joy in assisting these individuals to rectify issues on criminal history records and reinstate their Constitutional Rights.
I believe in the core foundation and principles upon which our justice system was built and am concerned about the current paradigm shift taking place within the justice system. The erosion of the crucial concept “innocent until proven guilty” has become my greatest motivation to practice law. Resolving highly emotional, personal, or complex problems is immeasurably fulfilling to me, and I am honored to work with the California Innocence Project, seeking liberty for the wrongfully convicted.
Hi, my name is Chris. I am a second year law student at California Western School of Law and a newcomer to the city of San Diego. I grew up in Santa Barbara, California but also lived in Los Angeles while I earned my Bachelor’s degree at California State University, Northridge. I played soccer in high school and while in college and still play in a league for fun here in San Diego. I was raised by a hard-working, single, mother of two who came to this country at the age of 15 from Mexico. My mother worked tirelessly to provide for my brother and me, and even sometimes had to bring us along with her to work because she had no other alternatives. Growing up under this unique perspective has motivated me in ways that are unimaginable. I believe it is this perspective, together with the many other perspectives that I have come to understand, that will help me contribute with the California Innocence Project. It is an honor to have the opportunity to help the innocent and I will also work tirelessly to help those that have been wrongfully convicted.
Hi, my name is Ashley, and I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I earned an undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico in Philosophy. I have always known that I wanted to become a lawyer, specifically a criminal lawyer in hopes of helping people who may not have the resources to help themselves. I am currently in my second year of law school at Cal Western School of Law. Before coming to law school I worked as a criminal paralegal for seven years. Working as a paralegal allowed me to gain an understanding of how the legal system works and more importantly how each case can have an effect on society as a whole. My goal as a clinical student is to expand my knowledge about the California criminal justice system and hopefully make a difference in at least one life.
Hello, my name is Alma, and I was born and raised in San Diego. I earned my undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in Criminal Justice. After completing my undergrad my goal was to attend law school and give back to my community. Before undertaking that goal I worked for the County of San Diego Probation Department and the District Attorney’s Office. Working for both these offices helped reinforce my goal of helping my community and attending law school. After four years of gaining work experience I felt ready to start my law school career. I’ve completely immersed myself in the law school experience and opened my mind to all sides of the law. I became interested in the California Innocence Project after reading testimonies of the wrongfully convicted. I am honored to have been selected to work with CIP and hope that I can contribute my skill to this noble cause.