Southern NM Group Assists Students with Scholarships

Silvia Delgado Jennifer AndersonIn addition to being classmates, Jennifer Anderson ('10) and Silvia Delgado ('10) grew up in southern New Mexico and they both received scholarships from the Tonali Legal Alliance of Women. The alliance, based in Las Cruces, supports and promotes women in their legal careers, whether they are training to become paralegals or lawyers.

Delgado comes from a family that worked hard so their children's lives would be filled with opportunity. Her maternal grandparents were migrant workers in South Texas who moved the family to Las Cruces in search of a better life and her paternal grandparents immigrated to Las Cruces from Juarez after her grandfather had earned enough money as a bartender and waiter to make the move.

"I grew up knowing the importance of an education and always wanted to be a lawyer," she says. She used the scholarship money to buy books and help pay for a summer-school class, Law Office Management. "I'm hoping to return to Las Cruces and open my own practice."

Anderson has received the scholarship twice; last summer she used the money to pay for gas and living expenses while she participated in an unpaid externship with Judge Paul Kelly of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This summer, she worked at Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Schreck in Albuquerque and afterward at Stein & Brockmann in Santa Fe.

As she prepares to enter her final year of law school, she will be a member of the Natural Resources Journal and fulfill her clinical requirement in the spring.

"In my final year of law school, I want to take as many practicum classes as possible in order to get more practical experience," says Anderson, who grew up in Roswell. "However, such classes are time consuming and leave little time to work outside of school. The scholarship will allow me to take advantage of valuable experiences at the law school, instead of having to get a job my third year."

The Tonali alliance is made up of lawyers, judges, court staff, court interpreters, legal secretaries and paralegals, and gives preference to students from southern New Mexico when awarding its scholarships.

"The organization was happy it was able to support and encourage these fine young women to achieve their academic and professional goals," said Lisa Baldonado, president of Tonali.