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2022 UCLI Staff Message

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This year was a year of change for the staff of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion office! This summer we said goodbye to Layla Shaaban and Lizzie Jarrett, and welcomed Emily Zárate who joined as UCLI’s new Administrative Coordinator in September 2022. We are each grateful for the chance to be part of this organization and to work towards UCLI’s mission. Here are some of our 2022 highlights:

Kaitlyn: I loved working with UCLI’s interns and board members to launch UCLI’s first ever Fundraiser Luncheon. It was a first for all of us, and putting it together took collaboration and creativity. When we started advertising the event to legal employers in the state we had no idea what type of response we would get. We were thrilled when over 200 people attended, and when many of those attendees told us that it was a very “not boring” event – which I have learned is high praise in the legal community. This was all thanks to the dynamic presenters who shared their stories and passion. I also loved watching Justice Durham’s surprise when the Fellowship in her name was announced.

Jon: The UCLI Pre-law Symposiums were the highlight of this year for me. It took incredible collaboration and effort to make these happen. I made it to and through law school almost by happenstance. I know I made many mistakes along the way. It was truly an honor to work with so many great professionals to provide resources and encouragement to over 125 aspiring future lawyers who will hopefully now have a clearer path to law school and practice.

Emily: For me, the highlight of this year was working closely with UCLI’s interns to create outreach videos. It was incredible being able to collaborate with such creative interns and staff to find the right production company, create video concepts and then execute and watch our ideas come to life. It was such a privilege to have been able to interview many inspirational individuals who play a huge role in advancing goals of equity in the state of Utah. This project has been extremely rewarding because I know that these outreach videos will inspire someone out there to go to law school.

Other big milestones and accomplishments in 2022 include a new partnership with the 4H Refugee Youth Internship Program, the launch of the Utah Legal Inclusion Fellowship, scholarship awards for LSAT preparation and Bar review, and many other great developments that have expanded UCLI’s reach to a greater number of young people, undergraduates, and law students in Utah.

As 2022 draws to a close, it is gratifying to reflect upon everything that has been accomplished within the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and in our broader Utah community. We are so grateful to all of you for contributing to these important causes. The good that was done this year would not have been possible without your passion and efforts. This newsletter highlights just a few of the many notable achievements of 2022, and we hope you feel pride and satisfaction as you review these successes.

Warm holiday wishes to you and yours!


Kaitlyn Pieper, Executive Director


Jon Wayas, Associate Director


Emily Zárate, Administrative Coordinator

Congratulations to the 2022-2023 Durham Fellows

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On March 24, 2022, the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion held its First Annual Fundraising Luncheon at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. At this event, UCLI announced a new fellowship in Justice Durham’s honor: the Justice Christine M. Durham Fellowship. This fellowship is intended to facilitate the legal education of an individual who shows a demonstrated commitment to and great potential for pushing forward the cause of justice, equity, and inclusiveness in Utah’s legal profession. Someone who, like Justice Durham, will make the legal field a better place for all who follow.

Through the Durham Fellowship, UCLI aims to support two law students (one from the S. J. Quinney College of Law and one from J. Reuben Clark Law School) with an annual stipend that can be put towards tuition, housing, food, or any other living expenses while they pursue their legal degree. Funding of up to $1,500 will be awarded to support each law student fellow, who will partner with UCLI Leadership Council and staff on law student programming.

This fall, after a competitive application process, two Durham Fellows were selected. We are pleased to announce the Durham Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year:

Amy Nichole Briceno, a 2L at the University of Utah’s S. J. Quinney College of Law

Breeze Kauakokoipohaiapuninamoku Waipa Parker, a 2L at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School

Please read more about Nichole and Breeze in these news articles. 

We would like to offer a special thank you to our 2022-2023 Durham Fellowship Sponsors: 

Utah State Bar Construction Law Section

Justice Christine M. Durham Family

Justice Paige Petersen

Justice John Pearce

Larissa Lee

Casey Jones

Susan Eisenman


Amy Nichole Briceno


Breeze K. W. Parker

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Meet Amy Nichole Briceno, 2022-2023 Durham Fellow S. J. Quinney College of Law

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Amy Nichole Briceno is a 2L at S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, and the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Nichole’s life reality as an immigrant, though challenging, has instilled in her a desire to lead, serve, and work in tandem with her colleagues to improve the unstable environment for minorities in Utah.

Nichole’s personal and professional experiences have given her first-hand knowledge about the challenges racial and ethnic communities face when searching for legal representation. She has interned with the District Attorney’s Office, where she associated with Spanish-speaking families who were experiencing abuse. Throughout this internship, she saw the need for more Spanish-speaking prosecutors as she translated for attorneys. She worked with undocumented families who feared deportation because they could not afford legal representation. At Utah Homicide Survivors, she worked with Hispanic families of homicide victims. She saw how difficult it was for Hispanic individuals to find affordable and quality legal advice in this state. She translated legal documents to ensure Spanish-speaking families understood the legal procedures of their case.

During her undergraduate experience, Nichole was the first Latinx President of the Student Alumni Board of the University of Utah. As President, she made it a priority to diversify a board that historically only consisted of white students. Under her leadership, they diversified their alumni engagement and expanded student outreach. After graduating, she spent the year mentoring first-generation college students from immigrant backgrounds. Feeling passionate about giving back to the school that gave her so much, Nichole founded the Briceno Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded yearly to an undocumented/DACA-recipient student who epitomizes leadership and service.

Earlier in 2022, Nichole was elected Treasurer of the Minority Law Caucus (MLC) at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. As Treasurer, one of her goals for this year has been to establish an MLC Scholarship specifically for members that have devoted their time to MLC and show commitment to helping minority communities in their law career. Additionally, she has undergone the Pro Bono Initiative training to assist in Immigration Clinics. 

In the future, Nichole intends to support marginalized communities throughout her career as an attorney. As she says, “quality representation begins with a diversified legal community. To diversify our attorneys, we must first diversify law schools in Utah.” Nichole is focused on providing mentorship to increase minority student applications and retention in schools. She will continue to be devoted to supporting marginalized communities after graduation. 

UCLI looks forward to working with Nichole this academic year as the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow and thanks the many donors who made this opportunity possible. 

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Meet Breeze K. W. Parker, 2022-2023 Durham Fellow J. Reuben Clark Law School

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Breeze Kauakokoipohaiapuninamoku Waipa Parker is a 2L at J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, and the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Breeze is a Native Hawaiian woman whose life experiences have been a beacon to her ‘lāhui,’ or Hawaiian community, in her legal career.

Breeze was born and raised in Kalihi, Oahu. Although Oahu may sound like a paradisiacal dreamscape, Breeze shares that “money was always scarce, and I remember cleaning houses with my mom after school every day so that I could help them keep up with our family’s bills. As I looked around me growing up, I noticed that it was minorities like me who struggled the most. It was families like mine who had to deal with a combination of poverty, underfunded school systems, and racial bias. I wanted better for myself. I wanted better for my lāhui.” Breeze realized that the way she could make it better was by pursuing higher education. 

Breeze graduated from Brigham Young University as a co-valedictorian of the anthropology department in April 2021. During law school, Breeze has been volunteering at the Timpanogos Legal Center on a weekly basis. She has assisted attorneys in immigration, divorce, and custody consultations with members of the Provo community. This past summer she also had the opportunity to serve the Hawaiian community through a six-week in-person legal internship at the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation deals exclusively with Native land disputes, ancestral trusts, and water rights. During the internship, Breeze worked closely with attorneys who specialized in each of these areas to meet with clients, do legal research, and prepare cases for trial. After this internship, Breeze returned to Utah to serve as a judicial intern for Justice Diana Hagen in the Utah Supreme Court – learning more about how the judicial system works in Utah. 

This past fall semester, Breeze has continued to serve Utah’s community this semester by working with Dean Michalyn Steele as one of her research assistants in her Federal Indian Law casework. Breeze shares that “working on indigent research for indigenous communities has been rewarding because it has deepened my purpose to support other minority communities. I look at my law degree as not something for myself but as a tool for the betterment of every community around me. I carry my lāhui and ancestors with me, and with each boundary I trespass, each stereotype I break, and each limit I exceed, I make a statement to the world. I show them that we young Polynesians are capable; we are more than our demographic and socio-economic status; we are more than our gender and the color of our skin; we matter and like those who feel our pain, our voices matter.” As a lawyer, Breeze hopes to close racial gaps in each community she serves in, and to promote fairness and a just system for all. 

UCLI looks forward to working with Breeze this academic year as the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow and thanks the many donors who made this opportunity possible. 

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West High Mock Trial Team

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The West High School 2022-2023 mock trial team consists of 13 dedicated and diverse high school students who have formed a community in and outside of Utah. Apart from mock trial, their interests range from competitive fencing to researching in labs at universities. They are creatives, small business owners, chess players, crocheters, and community participants. 

In order to compete nationwide, the team spends countless hours developing and executing a fundraising strategy so all who want to participate in national competitions are not limited by financial burden. The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion has had the privilege to help contribute to their fundraising efforts and help them achieve their goals as a team. Beyond competing and interacting with other driven and unique high schoolers across the country, mock trial has provided these students with invaluable opportunities. 

A few of the students expressed that before mock trial, law school didn’t seem like an option for them. It was an intimidating and foreign field. Sharayu, a student who has been in mock trial since her freshman year and a co-captain of the team said, “I have a place in the legal community, if I want it,” when describing the impact mock trial has had on her life. The students all expressed gratitude to the legal community, especially here in Utah. Mock trial provides them with a chance to get to know and compete in front of law students, attorneys, and judges. 

Students in mock trial get to develop refined public speaking, argumentation, and critical thinking skills. They also are able to be part of a team that works together to understand and solve complex problems. The diverse make-up of West High School’s team allows for important perspectives and ideas to be shared and discussed. When the team competes, they get to apply these skills and perspectives. Every year they compete in the prestigious national Empire competition, they improve and the results speak for themselves. When they return home, they frequently place in state competitions. Because of generous donations, they were able to compete last year in the Empire competition in Chicago. Taking what they learned, they competed this year in the same competition but in Baltimore, Maryland. They placed second in the whole competition.

The students expressed deep appreciation for all who contribute to their fundraising efforts. Without the generosity of those who donate, this would not be possible. The students would like to say, “thank you so much” to the generous legal community in Utah. Because of every contribution, their team is able to compete at the highest level and learn the dynamic of a legal field that is eager to welcome and mentor them. 






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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training for Legal Employers

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Throughout 2022, the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion’s staff members continued offering DEI training to law firms, organizations, and governing bodies throughout Utah. UCLI offers these training sessions to any interested legal employers in Utah. These sessions can also help fulfill requirements for participants in UCLI’s Certification Program. Popular topics for these training sessions include implicit bias, review of diversity data for Utah and Utah’s legal community, and best practices for building inclusion in the workplace.

These sessions are often held as a lunch time meeting with 1 credit of Ethics CLE being awarded to attendees. Here are the firms and organizations UCLI has been able to reach in this last year:

  • Utah State Bar – Character and Fitness Committee
  • Strong & Hanni
  • Snell & Wilmer
  • TraskBritt
  • Kirton & McConkie
  • Mountain Mediation
  • Greenberg Traurig
  • Dentons
  • Utah Association of Legal Administrators
  • Department of the Interior – Salt Lake City Office

We are grateful to each firm or organization who has graciously hosted us and appreciate your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. If your firm or organization is interested in having UCLI present please contact us at .



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Screening Event ‘Balancing the Scales’

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The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and Women Lawyers of Utah co-hosted a CLE screening event of the documentary ‘Balancing the Scales’ at the Megaplex Theatre at the Gateway on November 17, 2022. The evening included a catered dining experience by Zao’s Asian Cafe, movie snacks, the film screening, and a presentation by attorney filmmaker Sharon Rowen, moderated by former Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham. See a quick social media recap here

The evening started off with a warm welcome to Sharon Rowen, a trial lawyer and filmmaker based in Atlanta who founded both the law firm Rowen & Klonoski and the film production company R&K Productions. Her documentary, Balancing the Scales, tells the story of women lawyers in America, and has been broadcast nationwide on public television as well as presented to audiences across the globe on both gender equality and filmmaking for organizations including the US State Department, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Verizon and Prudential, and hundreds of law firms, bar associations and universities. We are grateful to her willingness to join us in Salt Lake City for this film screening and discussion.

We then heard from two of the event’s Gold Sponsors: Art Berger, the Managing Director of Ray Quinney & Nebekker, and Greg Matis, the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Intermountain Healthcare’s legal office. Each of them underscored the importance of discussing these crucial topics and their own organizations’ commitments to gender equity. 

Then the documentary film ‘Balancing the Scales’ was shown. It depicted interviews of female legal professionals conducted over two decades – including interviewees like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, and Roe v. Wade attorney Margie Pitts Hames – and provided an insightful look at the story of women lawyers in America. Interviews also included state Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices, women equity partners, minority women, associates, and students. They tell their own remarkable and often hilarious stories that felt relatable to the audience. The film also explored how discrimination has shifted from overt to subtle, and why women are leaving the profession. Finally, the film explained why women being promoted to top positions is good for both society; and for firms’ bottom lines – ending on a hopeful and encouraging note. 

Following the film, participants had a chance to dive deeper into the topics of women in the legal profession through a moderated discussion with Sharon Rowen and former Justice Christine M. Durham. They discussed questions such as how women in the legal profession manage their work life and their home life; how women can engage men to partner as allies; and what firms can do to be more equitable.

We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors. Without them, this event would not have happened and we would like to thank them for their support of this film, the cause, and women in the legal profession in Utah. The firms and companies who sponsored the screening event are:


Workman Nydegger

Intermountain Healthcare

Ray Quinney & Nebeker



Women Lawyers of Utah

Wilson Sonsini

Hone Law

Rocky Mountain Advisory



Lone Peak Valuation Group

Kirton McConkie


If your firm or organization had an idea for an event that you would like to sponsor or partner with UCLI on, please contact us at








Thank You to Our Sponsors!


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UCLI Fall 2022 Pre-Law Symposium

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In conjunction with the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU and the S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah, UCLI hosted its second pre-law symposium for students from communities which have been historically underrepresented in Utah’s legal profession. The 52 students who attended the event, held on-site at BYU’s Law School, ranged from undergraduates to returning students. 

The symposium helped to close the gap between a legal education and the current place of any given student. This was in part achieved through seven scholarships for an LSAT prep course and/or LSAT fee waiver presented byUCLI. These scholarships were made possible through the generous donations of BYU Law School, Kaplan Test Prep, Utah State Bar and ACE Test Prep, and will aid seven future law school applicants in achieving their goals. One recipient, August Molina Pastora, said this scholarship will ease the burden of saving money for the LSAT and allow them to focus on other important aspects of their life as well as their application to law school. Another recipient, Sheri Edwards, is a returning student who, after a career in marketing, decided to follow her dreams and pursue law. About this scholarship she said, “I am a mom, I work full time, and I have three children so a scholarship for a test prep course is incredible. It will save hundreds for my family budget.” We are grateful for those who made this scholarship possible and look forward to August, Sheri, and people like them, to enter Utah’s legal field. The diverse perspectives and talents of all students and attorneys is what makes a robust and successful legal community. Check out what this scholarship meant to the other recipients on our Instagram.  

Reflective of the progress Utah has made, with milestones and checkpoints yet to come, the attendees of the symposium represented various identities. We are excited that attendees represented the future of the Utah legal field. Approximate results from the registration survey show that 4% of participants identified as genderqueer or demigender. 11% identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or pansexual. 39% identified as Hispanic or Latine. 55% identified as something other than non-Hispanic white – including 6% Asian, 10% Black, 6% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 6% American Indian or Alaskan Native, and 6% of respondents identifying as two or more races. Additionally, nearly 8% responded as having a disability. Perhaps most notably, 49% of participants were first-generation college students or graduates. 

Emphasizing the ability and the necessity of having first-generation college students, the keynote speaker Aida Neimarlija shared her experience as a twice refugee and first-generation student. She did not initially consider law school as an option. It wasn’t until after her undergraduate degree that a mentor encouraged her to apply based on her apparent talent for diligence and detail. This led her to an incredible career in the legal industry and she is currently the legal counsel for Larry H. Miller Real Estate. Although Aida’s first intentions were to use a law degree to work in human rights, she shared how a legal career lent itself to change and growth. With a law degree, she was able to try out different things and find what she loved. She shared that the flexibility of a legal career would allow students to find new challenges and new adventures.

Later on, four current law students from both of Utah’s law schools participated in a panel called, “A Day in the Life of a Law Student.” They shared similar feelings about the fulfillment they have found in law school paired with the difficulty of making decisions about priorities. Attendees listened to valuable, first-hand perspectives of how both of Utah’s law schools create great environments for challenge, learning, and growth. 

After hearing first-hand experiences of law school, attendees were then given the opportunity to experience it for themselves. Professor Carolina Nuñez of the J. Reuben Clark Law School led a mock class. Attendees were given a case before the symposium and came prepared to work through it using the socratic method to better understand the case and the legal precedent. Attendees participated in the discussion, challenged each other’s assumptions, and experienced what a law school class might look like. The energy in the room elevated quickly as attendees gained confidence in their ability to learn in this way. 

Participants felt empowered as they made their way to the final session of the day. Kris Tina Karlston, the BYU pre-law advisor, gave an informative workshop on personal statements.  Participants learned the ins and outs of personal statements. Most importantly, they were reaffirmed that law schools are looking for applicants that will succeed, and all students can succeed in law school if that is their desire. 

UCLI expresses gratitude to all those who participated in creating this educational and inspirational experience for students. We express special gratitude to the wonderful sponsors who made this event possible: Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney School of Law, SF Firm, the Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar, Maschoff Brennan, Kirton McConkie, and the Utah State Bar Commission. Thanks to these sponsors, each attendee left with resources and confidence to further pursue their legal education. As one participant shared, “Thank you for putting on that event, it was so helpful to hear from such great deans, law students, and lawyers. It really helped me to widen my perspectives and to get even more excited about applying for law school!” We are grateful for the participation of these incredible students and wish them well in their journeys to law school.


Thank You to Our Sponsors!


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Announcing the 2022 LSAT Scholarship Recipients

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The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion is pleased to announce this year’s recipients for the LSAT Scholarship. Congratulations to the seven recipients of UCLI’s 2022 LSAT scholarship: Valeria Jimenez, Andrea Jimenez, Emily Zárate, Luz Maria Carreño, Heidi Clawson, Mikela Ouimette, and Anna Van Noy. 

UCLI wishes each recipient the best in their journeys, and looks forward to seeing the many contributions they will make to Utah’s legal profession. Please find more information about each scholarship recipient below. 


Full Scholarship Recipients

Valeria Jimenez

Valeria Jimenez is a graduate of the University of Utah. As a first-generation college graduate, she earned an honors political science degree with minors in business and Chicana/o studies. During her time at the University of Utah, she was involved in multiple Latinx-led student organizations to empower the Latinx community through college- and career-readiness, and voter registration efforts. Valeria is currently the Public Outreach Coordinator at the Utah State Courts Office of Fairness and Accountability. She is responsible for public outreach and education of court programs to the public. Beyond her professional capacity, Valeria serves as a committee member of the Wasatch Education Foundation We Rise First-Generation Scholarship Program. She chooses to share her experience and knowledge both within her professional role and personal life with incoming first-generation students to continue a positive postsecondary trajectory of Latinx graduates. 


Andrea Jimenez

Andrea Daniela Jimenez Flores (She/Her) was five months old when she and her parents emigrated from Mexico to the United States. Her parents’ strength, resilience, and immense support made it possible for her to become the first in her family to graduate college while overcoming obstacles presented by her immigration status. Growing up as an undocumented Latina in West Valley City, Utah, enabled Andrea to see that her community was overlooked and underrepresented. The realities of her experiences with her two intertwined identities gave her a passion for social justice and a need to do everything she could to create an equitable society for underserved communities through public service.

Andrea graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with three Bachelor’s degrees in Communication, Political Science, and Sociology. Whilst in college, she made it her mission to advocate for Latinx and immigrant populations. She became a Dream Ambassador and Student Director of the Road Home’s Book Club to emphasize the importance of education for underserved communities. Andrea interned for Utah State Senator Luz Escamilla and the Ibarra Strategy Group, where she was further exposed to the challenges faced by her community at the state and national levels and the lack of representation within government. She held many roles at Comunidades Unidas, focusing on advancing immigrants’ rights, Latinx empowerment, workers’ rights, civic engagement, and eliminating barriers placed on immigrant communities. Andrea recently completed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellowship, wherein she worked on federal policy initiatives affecting disadvantaged communities across the nation. 

Andrea hopes to use her experience as an undocumented person of color to pursue a public interest legal career to advocate for historically disadvantaged communities. Andrea aspires to become a civil rights attorney to ensure that these communities are not overlooked. She hopes to work for a legal nonprofit that protects everyone’s civil rights and uplifts marginalized voices. Andrea dreams of founding a legal nonprofit that prioritizes underserved communities and fervently protects their rights. Andrea’s primary mission is to ensure that everyone has equitable access to representation, regardless of any obstacle they may face.”


Emily Zárate

Emily Zárate is the Administrative Coordinator of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Emily attended Utah State University, where she graduated in May of 2022 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Law and Society Studies. While at USU, Emily worked at the Latinx Cultural Center, an organization which focuses on academic, educational, personal, and professional growth within the Latinx community on campus. During her time at the LCC, she worked closely with first-generation Latinx students to ensure their success on campus by helping them navigate through college. Emily intends to pursue a J.D. next year. Her interests include technology law, immigration law, and criminal justice reform. In her free time, Emily enjoys weightlifting, reading, and hanging out with her family. 


Luz Maria Carreño

Luz M. Carreño has been working with immigrants, refugees, and young female empowerment programs in her community for approximately 12 years. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Utah State University and is originally from Tremonton, Utah. Currently, Luz is pursuing her Master’s in Peace Studies from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan through the Rotary Peace Fellowship. Prior to the Rotary Peace Fellowship, Luz was a case manager at Women of the World where she developed customized case management strategies for clients; advocated for clients facing housing discrimination, wage imbalances, and unfair treatment due to low English attainment; connected clients to local; and assisted with job applications, school registration, and college applications. As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Luz is committed to advocating for equality, affordable housing, and access to higher education for refugee and immigrant women living in the U.S. After the completion of her master’s degree, Luz will return to Utah and attend University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law to pursue the JD Program.


Partial Scholarship Recipients

Heidi Clawson 

I recently graduated from Brigham Young University with my bachelor’s in Psychology. During my undergraduate years, I participated with wonderful groups that worked to uplift and unite the community such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girls on the Run, CASA, 2ft Prosthetics BYU, and Mission Nutrition. In addition to volunteering, I worked professionally as a forensic technician at the Utah State Hospital and a caretaker for young adults with special needs. I currently work as a caseworker for DCFS Child Protective Services Special Victims Unit. I support young adults and children to find their voice, receive the help they need, and encourage their growth. This scholarship will not only enable me to make my educational dreams of law school a reality, but it will also help me in my efforts to promote an equal voice and treatment for all through the law.


Mikela Ouimette

Mikela is currently enrolled in the Master of Criminal Justice program at Weber State University, where she recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies minor. In law school, she will continue studying criminal justice, along with a dual degree Master of Public Policy program. Mikela’s personal experiences and study of criminal justice has opened her eyes to the injustices in our society and the criminal justice system. This education and experience sparked a great passion for social justice issues and promoting diversity. She believes that people should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in life, but societal barriers and disadvantages keep this from happening. After passing the bar, Mikela plans to work as a criminal defense attorney. She also wants to work in legislation to advance social justice reform, with a priority focus on criminal justice reform, drug reform, poverty and its subsequent issues, healthcare accessibility, affordable housing, human and equal rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.


Anna Van Noy 

Anna is a senior at Utah Valley University studying political science. She received an associate’s degree in French from Weber State University. She had the opportunity to intern for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and has been involved in various organizations. Anna is excited for how this scholarship will help her work toward improving equity and inclusion in Utah. She also loves to make playlists and be outside with friends and family.


Valeria Jimenez


Andrea Jimenez


Emily Zárate


Luz Maria Carreño


Heidi Clawson


Mikela Ouimette


Anna Van Noy


UCLI would like to thank the generous sponsors and partners who have made these scholarships possible:

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Meadowlark Initiative

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The Meadowlark Initiative began in the 2020 school year. Mr. John Arthur, who is known by his students as ‘Captain’, and UCLI have teamed up each year to provide mentoring to his sixth grade class. UCLI attorneys and law students are paired with sixth grade students from the class. Each Friday mentors and students meet via Zoom. Captain briefly explains the writing assignment the students have been working on, and then attorneys and students are sent to breakout rooms to work one-on-one to help improve writing skills. There are different topics every week. They may be given writing prompts like “Was it fair that women and children were given priority as the Titanic was sinking?”, or are given assignments like writing engaging and informative autobiographical essays. We are excited to aid Captain, who was designated the 2021 Utah Teacher of the Year, in his enthusiasm and vision for his students’ learning. The hope for the mentoring is to help the students build confidence and dream big for their lives as they transition into junior high school. It also provides the opportunity for these students to meet and be mentored by attorneys who are friendly and genuinely care about their success. For many of these students the mentoring is the first chance they’ve had to talk to attorneys.

Meadowlark Elementary is located in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City and nearly 75% of the students are from a diverse background. Each year approximately 25-35 attorneys and law students participate as mentors. The commitment is minimal- 30 minutes on most Fridays during the school year – yet incredibly impactful. In letters to their mentors, students shared the following sentiments: 

“You increased my writing. Now my writing skills are better than ever! I also want to be like you when I grow up and I know what I want that to look like.”

“Thank you for helping me with my writing. I really like talking to you about the projects we did in class. Writing was hard at first, but then you helped me a lot and it got easier! I am a better student thanks to your help.”

“Captain chose me you to me because I’m speaking Spanish and now I write you a letter in English! Thank you for everything you helped me in what I did not understand.”

Recruiting for each school year runs from August through September. If you are interested please contact UCLI Associate Director, Jon Wayas at . Everyone is welcome. However, there is extra need and opportunity for mentors who speak Spanish.

Check out this 2022 video of Captain and a handful of the incredible UCLI Meadowlark volunteer mentors here

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