Transforming Lives through Legal Education

building_advocates_hero_vertEven as a young girl watching TV crime dramas, Aissa Olivarez wanted to be a lawyer.

Yet it wasn’t until she spent four years as a bilingual teacher in her native Texas that Aissa’s career goals came into sharper focus. Now the third-year law student says she plans to pursue a career in education and immigration policy. At UW Law School, she has already begun putting the legal theory she learns in the classroom into action — with remarkable success.

As a student attorney with the school’s Immigrant Justice Clinic, Aissa helped win asylum for a former police officer from Mexico and his family. Threatened for years by a Mexican cartel, they can now remain safely and legally in the United States.

She recently spent a summer in Texas interning with ProBAR, a national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in the U.S. “Before I left home, I thought, ‘Put me anywhere in the world, and I’ll make a difference,’“she says. “Lately I’ve been thinking that my heart might lead me back to South Texas. I know the terrain, and I’m familiar with the work that needs doing.”

Aissa’s commitment to serving others hasn’t gone unnoticed in Wisconsin. She has received multiple student awards for leadership, academic excellence and service, including the Children’s Justice Project Fellowship for outstanding contributions to children’s law.

Scholarship support made it possible for Aissa to attend UW Law School and turn her childhood dream into reality. When you give to UW Law, you change the lives of world-class students like Aissa, so they in turn can change the lives of others.