Past Recipients

2017 Award Recipients

20th Anniversary Scholarship Recipient

Paul Monge-Rodriguez
UC Berkeley School of Law


  Paul Monge-Rodriguez is the eldest son of Salvadoran immigrants who settled in San Francisco, CA after escaping civil war and political turmoil in their native El Salvador. Growing up in the Bay Area, Paul went on to pursue a BA in Global Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As an undergraduate he focused on social justice advocacy around worker and immigrant rights, served as president of the university’s student body and graduated summa cum laude with election to Phi Beta Kappa in 2011.

After a year in New York City government working as a policy analyst for Mayor Michael Bloomberg on designing anti-recidivism interventions for young men of color leaving the justice system, Paul returned to San Francisco to work as a political organizer for the region’s largest public sector labor union, SEIU Local 1021. Paul has organized to address educational inequities within San Francisco public schools as the policy director for Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, a non-profit organization with a thirty-year legacy of advocating of low-income communities of color in San Francisco. Additionally, he has served as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Youth Commission where he was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to represent the unmet needs of San Francisco’s children, youth and their families.

Paul earned a Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University and is pursuing a law degree at the UC Berkeley School of Law. He currently serves on the University of California Board of Regents, representing the needs and interests of more than 260,000 UC students across the state.

Cindy Avitia Immigration Justice Fellow
(in conjunction with the Katherine & George Alexander Community Law Center)

Gilberto Orozco
Santa Clara University School of Law

Gilberto Orozco is a first-generation Mexican-American, and the eldest child of 6. Since the age of 11, he has worked as a gardener to sustain himself and to provide for his family. Through this work, he has personally experienced and witnessed the exploitative conditions that many immigrants endure—and had a daily reminder of why he wanted to pursue a professional career.

Gilberto was the first in his family to attend college. In addition to overcoming the challenges of coming from a Latino household where neither parent had the opportunity to attend school past the fifth grade, Gilberto commuted daily from Mountain View to Santa Cruz, all while working full-time as a landscape gardener and carrying a full course load.

In addition to participating in clinics at the Katherine & George Alexander Community Law Center, Gilberto brought real-world immigration law experience to the fellowship, having worked for over two years as an immigration assistant/paralegal and law clerk at Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Gilberto has also provided numerous hours of pro bono service to immigration clients. The Charitable Foundation and the Law Center were proud to select Gilberto as the 2017 Cindy Avitia Immigration Justice Summer Fellow.


Daniel Hernandez Scholarship for Community Service

Maya Younes
Santa Clara University School of Law

Maya Younes


Maya is a third year law student at Santa Clara University. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in
Polical Science with a minor in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Studies from the University
of Norte Dame in 2012.
Maya spent ten years living in Rome, Italy. There she navigated between her parent’s Salvadoran and Lebanese cultures, her Italian neighborhood and her Englishspeaking school. Maya is fluent in both Italian and Spanish.
Throughout college and law school, Maya has sought experiences to empower underserved communies of color. She is currently the CoPresident of La Raza Law Student Associaon. In that capacity, she has helped organize legal clinics for lowincome clients.
Prior to attending law school, Maya worked as a third-grade teacher in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. Maya witnessed her students suffer extreme poverty and endure the hardships that come with seeing their parents struggle with drug use, domestic violence and other difficult issues. Maya’s passion for working with the families of her young students has led her to seek a career in criminal defense.  She has interned at the Public Defender’s Office in two counties, Alameda and Santa Clara. She has also served as a research assistant at Santa Clara University and as an extern for the Honorable Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Andrew Gonzalez Scholarship for Leadership

 Sophia Antoinette Castillo
Stanford University School of Law

 Sophia Carrillo fostered a passion for confronting global challenges, national security law, and civil rights from her experience growing up on the U.S./Mexico border. She enjoyed experiences with the Trans-Border Institute, the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California, a Fulbright award to the United Kingdom, study of international justice and post-conflict transitions in The Hague, and legal internships with the Office of the Legal Counselor at U.S. Embassy The Hague and the Counterterrorism Section at the Department of Justice.

Sophia is passionate about creating a more just world. In law school she has represented mothers and children in immigration detention, a client seeking clemency, and an client seeking asylum. During her final year at Stanford Law School, she looks forward to competing in the moot court competition and representing clients with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. She hopes to enjoy a career in impact litigation and community leadership.