Passion for Justice

California State Bar Foundation Awards

USF scholarship recipients at the 2009 California State Bar Foundation Scholarship Reception.

The awards, which were distributed in the public interest, diversity, and Rosenthal categories, will help pay for tuition, fees, books, and other educational expenses.

Only four other law schools have received seven or more scholarships in a year since the program’s inception.

"We are thrilled to have multiple USF law students receive recognition and monetary awards from the California Bar Foundation, especially given the current economic climate our students are facing," Assistant Dean of Academic Services Elizabeth Bernhardt said. "Their achievements make us proud and reflect our goals to help students attain excellence and maintain their passion for justice."

Michael Romero Cagampan 3L and Krista Henneman 3L received public interest scholarships. The award is for law students who commit themselves to a career in public service, demonstrate outstanding academic performance, and overcome personal hardships.

Cagampan, who worked for many years as a social worker advocating on behalf of foster children and parents, hopes to pursue a career as a public defender. He has interned at the Office of the State Public Defender and the Office of the Alameda County Public Defender while a law student.

Henneman, who has worked at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office and served as president of the Women's Law Association and Law Students for Reproductive Justice, also wishes to pursue a career as a public defender. She hopes to address larger social issues by working in criminal defense. She will participate in USF's Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic this year.

Diversity scholarships were presented to Naeema Aden Ahmed 1L, Daniela Conde 1L, and Michael Fortes 1L. The diversity award was created in 2008 for first-year law students who represent a historically underrepresented group in the legal profession. These students have also demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact as community leaders.

Ahmed was born in Somalia and fled to the United States with her family after the start of the Somali Civil War. She has worked for the Orange County Registrar for Voters and plans to pursue a career in international human rights issues. Ahmed also earned a Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship this year.

Before starting law school, Conde worked as a program coordinator for Access OC, a nonprofit organization that provides free, low-risk surgeries for low-income uninsured individuals. She has witnessed the harsh conditions and economic struggles as a daughter of Mexican immigrants and plans to use her experience to advocate for immigrant rights as a public interest lawyer.

Fortes, who received his undergraduate degree at USF, has spent significant time tutoring at-risk inner-city students at a San Francisco public high school. He has also supervised after-school youth programs and worked at a child development center.

Meredith E. Marzuoli '09 and Marie Montesano '09 will receive financial assistance to help pay bar exam expenses through the Rosenthal Scholarship Program.

California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos Moreno, who will be honored by USF's Public Interest Law Foundation this fall, was the guest speaker at the reception.