Roadmap Scholars Initiative

Roadmap Scholars Initiative

Roadmap Scholars Initiative

UVA Law School

Aspen AnderssonAspen Andersson

Hometown: Clayton, North Carolina

Undergraduate School: University of North Carolina, Pembroke

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My biggest influences are my parents and my extensive book collection. I have watched my mom and dad work tirelessly to raise and provide for my sisters and me; they have inspired me to chase my wildest dreams. I thank my parents for teaching me to lead with kindness and pursue happiness. As for my mini library, I have always been a daydreamer and a “nerd.” I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow from a variety of authors and stories throughout my life. My parents and my books have shaped me into the person I am today.

What's a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

My father is from Sweden, and he speaks Swedish to my sisters and me at home. I was fortunate enough to travel to Sweden when I was younger, and I hope to return to study abroad and practice my Swedish in the near future. Growing up in a multicultural household exposed me to many different perspectives and encouraged me to explore international law. I hope to couple my unique point of view and skills with a legal degree to pursue a career as a U.S. ambassador or as a lawyer for the United Nations.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I applied to this program because I wanted to surround myself with a diverse group of individuals who are as passionate about the law and justice as I am. I also wanted to gain valuable insight on the law school admissions process by building interpersonal relationships and connections with the impressive faculty and staff at UVA. I knew this program would be an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in the legal field while receiving financial support and establishing one-on-one mentorships with alumni and professors.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

“You could argue with a wall!” That was my mother’s favorite thing to say to me as a child. (I had a serious back-talk issue!) In retrospect, those little quarrels equipped me with a valuable set of skills for law school. I want to be a lawyer so I can use my knowledge and energy to empower and educate those around me. It’s one thing to pull up a seat to the table for yourself, it’s another to prop the door open and pull up seats for others. I believe law school will afford me the opportunity to elevate the voices of those in need and to fight for equity and justice for all. I’m tired of waiting for change — I’m ready to be it.
 


Makayla BibbyMakayla Bibby

Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia

Undergraduate School: University of Virginia

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My parents are my biggest influences. I can say confidently that my parents have been by my side through everything and they have supported me wholeheartedly my entire life. My parents have given and shared with me unwavering determination and faith, which has carried me through various experiences. They have shown me what it means to be kind, loving, caring and just with all people. I carry their example with me every day.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

I love to laugh. Just about anything will make me crack a smile or cramp with laughter. Whether it’s through actual comedy or quirky conversations with friends, I will take any excuse to laugh. I find that it is important to realize and seize the moments of joy and happiness in life.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

The program is an excellent opportunity to gain some exposure to the law and an understanding of what is required in legal practice. I wanted to come away with a better understanding of what law courses would entail, what a legal career would look like in my area of interest, and how the law and legal reasoning is presented in everyday life.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

In the recent past, I have become increasingly interested in policy and the influence of the law in government and societal structures and behaviors. I am fascinated with legal rationale and the political application of the law. I believe that being a lawyer will allow me to balance my interests in policy and government with a deep and applicable understanding of the extent and potential of the law, to help create and maximize the law to address our nation’s most pressing concerns.
 


Cheyenne ButlerCheyenne Butler

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Undergraduate School: University of Virginia

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My family remains my biggest influence. They’ve brought me up with so much love, patience and determination, all while cultivating a sense of leadership within me. It is through God and my family that I find the strength and encouragement to embrace my authentic self and turn my aspirations into accomplishments.

What's a fun fact or experience about yourself that you’d like to share?

For the spring semester, I volunteered with UVA’s VISAS (Volunteers with International Students, Staff, and Scholars) program. As a language consultant, I partnered with an international student to assist them with their English conversation skills on a weekly basis. I found the experience highly enlightening, as it allowed me to engage in cultural exchange while sharpening my skills in conveying information. As someone who aspires to work internationally, the experience provided me with a wonderful opportunity to practice engaging with someone of a different cultural background in a professional setting.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

As a Posse Scholar, I understand the value of community when it comes to having access to support in and out of the classroom. The Roadmap Scholar Initiative’s cohort-based structure provides a vibrant community of individuals who have similar career and education goals. Therefore, the opportunity to be a part of a program and support system specifically geared toward law school preparation immediately intrigued me.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

My interest in becoming a lawyer lies within my desire to help promote and protect the welfare of women and children internationally and domestically. I believe the law remains historically and presently a crucial mechanism for the protection of vulnerable populations. Therefore, I believe as a lawyer I will have the opportunity to serve as a problem-solver when it comes to gender-based issues within the law.
 


Carson Livingston CrossCarson Livingston Cross

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Undergraduate School: Lees-McRae College

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My grandfather is my biggest influence. The summer after my junior year of high school, my grandfather, despite having cancer, agreed to take me on a tour of the South to look at colleges that we thought would be the best fit for me. He died while we were on this tour. The last conversation I remember having with him was his advice to me to use the intellectual gifts that God has blessed me with to try to create change for people like us, the working class. Since my grandfather’s death, I have felt his hand on my shoulder with every choice I have made. I believe that he has guided me through college and into this program. It is my firm belief and hope that he will continue to guide me through my future.

What's a fun fact or experience about yourself that you’d like to share?

Since I’m from Ohio (the world’s most boring place), the only things to do for fun growing up were sports. I chose swimming as my sport and ended up swimming in college.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

For a long time, when I talked to people at social functions and told them I wanted to go to law school, they would react in one of two ways. If they wanted to go to law school, they would brag about what firm their dad worked for. If they didn’t want to go to law school, they would ask me if I knew any lawyers. I don’t know any lawyers, and I don’t have a dad, let alone one that works for a big law firm. My lack of connections in the legal industry made me feel as though I didn’t belong in the community. When I saw my college’s announcement about the Roadmap Scholars Initiative, I saw it as a way to gain the connections I would need to be successful in the legal field, and hopefully reach my goal of helping the working class.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

I would like to do something to help the middle and lower classes, although I’m not yet sure what that will entail.
 


Tamyah JohnsonTamyah Johnson

Hometown: Anderson, South Carolina

Undergraduate School: North Carolina A&T

Who are your biggest influences and why?

I am most influenced by my family and my faith. My village is what motivates me to endeavor and strive for success. Christ is the source of my strength.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you’d like to share?

I danced ballet and played the violin for eight years.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I applied to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative in order to fortify my future as a legal professional and experience the storied institution of the University of Virginia School of Law. This program has exceeded all expectations set forth and has been a blessing directly from above. My network has expanded through the relationships formed among the astounding legal professionals of this university and my gratifying fellow scholars.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

My aspiration in life is to create a means to excel for underrepresented and underserved individuals. As a future legal professional, I intend to initially focus on cases for the protection and wellbeing of children, along with special victims. My experience as a Roadmap Scholar has also reminded me of the importance of legal education and has inspired me to pursue academia at the latter end of my career.
 


Alan MaciasAlan Macias

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Undergraduate School: University of Virginia

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My biggest influence is my family. My mom and my two sisters have been with me every step of the way. They ingrained in me the importance of integrity and always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you’d like to share?

I was in the U.S. Navy for five years. I value that experience a lot because it reinforced my passion for public service.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I applied to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative because the idea of taking seminars from UVA Law School professors seemed like a no-brainer. I also work better with a team, so the idea of learning with a cohort seemed very interesting.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

I am interested in becoming a lawyer because I believe in public service and giving back to underprivileged communities. Historically the law has not been administered equally throughout minority communities and I want to play a role in changing that.
 


Samantha NavarroSamantha Navarro

Hometown: Hampton, Virginia, and La Ceiba, Honduras

Undergraduate School: Christopher Newport University

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My parents. They have played a pivotal role in shaping me into the person I am today. They influence me not to be afraid of my aspirations and always strive for success. Without their sacrifices and support, I would not be able to be here today.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

I like scary movies.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I applied to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative because as a first-generation, low-income and minority student, it renders me the opportunity to learn more in-depth about the legal profession and everything it has to offer. The program also provides ongoing support and aids students in navigating the law school admissions process, which would be advantageous for students like me who are interested in pursuing a legal career but lack exposure and access to learn about the process.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

Growing up in Honduras, a country where corruption prevails and justice is overlooked, made me realize the importance of a fair legal system. A career in the legal field can provide me with the opportunity to advocate for social equity, protect the rights of the most vulnerable and establish minimum standards of behavior in our society.
 


Dianey NavorDianey Navor

Hometown: La Puente, California

Undergraduate School: University of California, Los Angeles

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My biggest influences are my parents. They are the epitome of unwavering strength, who continue to overcome obstacles in the face of adversity. They influence me to continue the heavy fight and take up space in places my ancestors only dreamed of.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

I love solving 1,000-plus-piece puzzles.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I was drawn to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative by the unique commitment to guiding aspiring law students through firsthand exposure. The number of first-generation, low-income Latinas in law is very small, so I wanted to ensure that I was seeking opportunities and resources that would support me in the process of applying to law school. This program is one of its kind and as part of the inaugural cohort, I have found a community of students with similar aspirations for a career in law.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

As a lawyer, I will be actively involved in the development and advocacy of positive change by initiating intellectually generous conversations. I will be keenly equipped to interpret the language that sets the foundation of the rights of the people in this country and understanding the ways in which certain communities are affected by this language.
 


Blessing Roland-MagajiBlessing Roland-Magaji

Hometown: Arlington, Texas

Undergraduate School: Scripps College

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My grandmother has described her grandchildren as being her wildest dreams come true. As a woman who came from colonization to living in America, she has taught me to not let my circumstances or the narrative of my life define me, but to embrace who I am, work hard and keep faith, and I am so grateful to her for doing that for me. Nina Simone taught me similar lessons on embracing who I am, but she also taught me to feel beautiful and to feel all my emotions about the past and the future. While I still am chasing the freedom she describes as having “no fear,” I am grateful that she has taught me through her words and as a representation of Black women everywhere that your value cannot be defined by [other] people, and freeing yourself from that is a beautiful thing. As I journey the world with my identities and continual experiences that have put me in places I wouldn't like to be, Black women and nonbinary folks have inspired me by pursuing the life and the world they want to see, and I hope I can do that for the rest of my life.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you’d like to share?

A fun fact about me was that I was an Irish dancer for years in Ireland, and I think that my big blonde Irish wig — which felt glued to my head — is the reason we won a championship when I was 7. I’ve competed in every traditional Irish sport or tradition (dancing, rugby, hurling and Gaelic football).

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I applied because I wanted to be able to understand whether becoming a lawyer was going to be an option for me. Also, mentorship and community support has carried me through all levels of schooling and life in general. As I navigate my experience at a predominately white institution and being a first-gen student, I longed to be in a program where I am surrounded by supportive people and a place where I didn’t feel like I was “missing anything.” I also was really excited about the idea of exploring different areas of the law to help solidify my interests.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

When I entered college, I had a skewed view that the only way to uproot my family from poverty was to pursue medicine. In high school, I did much volunteering in a medical hospital. What I enjoyed was assisting people in reading their paperwork or calling their providers to help advocate for better materials. I didn’t realize at the time that my interest in medicine was from the standpoint of understanding the discrepancies in medical access and medical care, along with a lack of accommodation for people’s needs. In the last two years, I have started to look at these concerns through the lens of the law. As a result, I became interested in looking at the law as an avenue to address the medical malpractice and scientific theft that not only damages people but also has a significant disparate effect on BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of color] communities.
 


Diane PfeiferDiane Pfeifer

Hometown: Originally from Tooele, Utah; last 2½ years in Red Springs, North Carolina

Undergraduate School: University of North Carolina, Pembroke

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My grandmother was a divorced, single parent in the 1950s raising a daughter while working two jobs. She’d been raised in a religious culture that stressed the importance of a traditional family where the mother was a homemaker. In order to create a life for both her daughter and herself, she had to step outside of societal norms. It was because of her fortitude that I became passionate about working hard to become who I wanted to be, and recognized that I could be and do anything.

What’s a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

I’m a mother to four and a grandmother to five wonderful and amazing humans. I become a better person each day by seeing the world through their eyes, imagining their ideology of true equality is realized.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

As a first-generation and nontraditional college student, I strongly believe I need to demonstrate to both my children and grandchildren that they can achieve whatever they set out to achieve. I’ve dreamed of being a lawyer for as long as I can remember. Originally, I thought that dream was just beyond my grasp. When the Roadmap Scholars opportunity became available, I realized that dream was within reach. The mentoring, coaching and connections the Roadmap Scholars Initiative offers are instrumental to becoming an attorney.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

Through my both my professional and personal experiences, I’ve seen the injustices that happen to people through a breach of data privacy. I believe that I have an opportunity to make positive impacts in our future of technology by ensuring we have adequate and equal laws and rules to protect our citizens. By becoming a lawyer, I can help protect our future generations.
 


Kayla RichardsonKayla Richardson

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Undergraduate School: Hollins University

Who are your biggest influences and why?

My family, both blood and chosen, is my biggest influence. They encourage me to be better every day and I wouldn’t be who I am without them in my life. Because of them, I will always strive to push myself to be better so that I can make the world around me more positive. I continue to work hard so that one day I can possibly be able to give back even half of what they have given me.

What's a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

I’ve lived in five states and I wasn’t a military kid.

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I knew that Roadmap would provide not just short-term benefits, but long-term as well, whether that be in the form of LSAT preparation, connections or getting an overall better understanding of law school and what I want to do with it. Longevity is something that was unique to this program.

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

I'm interested in becoming a lawyer because I want to represent the underrepresented and I recognize that I need to be the change that I want to see.
 


Jonah VazquezJonah Vazquez

Hometown: New York City

Undergraduate School: Vanderbilt University

Who are your biggest influences and why?

Albeit a bit cheesy, my mom has had the greatest influence in my life. A woman robbed of opportunity by systematic inequity, she inspires me on every step of my journey to do not only what I love, but to do it well. With everything I do, I carry the knowledge that she deserved better from the system. I’m working to one day fix that system.

What's a fun fact or experience about yourself that you'd like to share?

In high school, I got CTE-certified in AutoCAD [software used for modeling construction, electrical and other diagrams]. I thought I wanted to be an architect before deciding law was the field for me! 

Why did you apply to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative?

I knew it was for me when I read about the long-term support from not only UVA Law, but from my fellow Roadmap Scholars. I’m a Posse Scholar and Posse has made me absolutely cherish what it means to have a group of peers support you. I wanted, from the bottom of my heart, to bring that same familial love to the Roadmap Scholars Initiative. Thankfully, I’ve gotten so close to a lot of my fellow Roadmap Scholars and I wholeheartedly wouldn’t have chosen to spend this summer any other way. I’ve met loving, passionate, intelligent and inspiring individuals to learn, laugh and even sometimes cry with. I applied to the Roadmap Scholars to create family built on shared passion. Without a doubt, I’ve found more than that. I’ve found leaders of tomorrow who I can say I love and am so thankful to have gotten to know!

Why are you interested in becoming a lawyer?

There’s change to be made and I’m tired of waiting. Undoubtedly, “We, the people...” deserve so much better. I'm here to make it happen.