ASU Law School

More from this show

According to the September issue of Hispanic Business magazine, ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is one of the top law schools in the country for Hispanic students. HORIZONTE finds out about the College’s commitment to promoting a diverse student population from Shelli Soto, assistant dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, and law student Alba Jaramillo.

Richard Ruelas:
Good evening. I'm Richard Ruelas in this week for Jose Cardenas. Welcome to "Horizonte." A national magazine ranks the best schools for Hispanic students. One college at ASU makes the list. Plus they have become a birthday ritual for many families. We'll visit a place where making piñatas is a work of art. And thousands of Latinas from across the country are in Phoenix to talk and learn about their own personal and professional development as well as issues facing them today. All those stories are straight ahead on "Horizonte."

Announcer:
Funding for "Horizonte" is provided by S.R.P. S.R.P.'s business is water and power, but our dedication to the community doesn't stop there. S.R.P., delivering more than power.

Richard Ruelas:
The September issue of "Hispanic Business" magazine features the 2007 best schools for Hispanics report. It rated top 10 lists in the following fields: medicine, engineering, business, and law. Here's a list of the schools. University of New Mexico School of law is number one. American university Washington College of Law is in the middle at number five. A.S.U.'s Sandra day O'Connor College of Law makes the list as one of the best in the country, 20 ranking seventh. Their selections were based on student services, enrollment, faculty, retention rates, and national reputation. Joining me to talk about the ranking is Shelli Soto, Dean of admissions and financial aid for A.S.U.'s Sandra day O'Connor College of Law. Also here is Alba Jaramillo, a student at the college. Thank you both for joining me this evening. We'll start with what A.S.U. has to show to this magazine to make that list. The first time, I guess, in recent memory we've made that list. Right?

Shelli Soto:
Yes, in recent memory. We're thrilled that the magazine has recognized all that we're doing. I do think it's a combination of a number of things. Certainly a lot has been happening in the law school that should garner such recognition. If I could be that immodest. And I think that things that are happening in the city, the university, a lot of things are happening that really do draw attention to A.S.U. as a great place for Latino students.

Richard Ruelas:
Is there something specific over the last couple years to attract and retain Latino students?

Shelli Soto:
There have been a number of things. We've definitely seen an increase in the number of faculty and senior staff who are Latino. I think that that effort by the dean and the faculty has certainly been reflective of a commitment that the school has felt for many years.

Richard Ruelas:
And, Alba, I guess you came -- did you do your undergrad here at A.S.U. as well approximate?

Alba Jaramillo:
I received my undergraduate from the University of Arizona.

Richard Ruelas:
Then why did you pick ASU… Thank you for picking A.S.U. over U Of A Law.
Why did you pick ASU, what was in your thought in picking ASU over other schools?
[Laughter]

Alba Jaramillo:
Well, definitely the fact that the law school is located in the fifth largest city in the state and the only city that has one major law school was very attractive to me.

Richard Ruelas:
What kind of things do you see the school doing to retain you as a student, keep you here as a law student?

Alba Jaramillo:
I think the law school is a very small law school. Usually somewhere around 160 students. Our classes are usually around 20 students. We have about 30% minority students, and a large percentage of that is Latino students. Law school is very supportive of Latino activities and Latino student organizations, and we get support all around as well as the community and other Latino lawyers that really encourage us and help us stay motivated and get through law school.

Richard Ruelas:
Is the reason for that some of the need to build a support system? 'Cause I imagine, for some of these students, they're the first in their family to be in college, much less law school.

Shelli Soto:
There are some students like Alba for whom law school is a new thing for the family. And certainly we want to make sure that all of our students are supported as best we can to make sure that they can succeed in the law school environment. There certainly is a lot of support from the faculty and the administration. We are doing some great things in the building that really make it stand out and draw some positive attention for the law school. I think it's been a wonderful cooperative effort between the community, certainly los abigados and a large number of Latino lawyers in the community. The law school, the faculty, the administration, the campus at large, and the students make it a wonderful place to work.

Richard Ruelas:
Did you find you needed that support system coming here to go to law school?

Alba Jaramillo:
Absolutely. Actually, when I applied to the university here, one of my first questions was whether there was a Latino student organization. I think, for some of us, you know, going to college, even graduating from high school is a very new experience, a very scary experience, and definitely -- you know -- finding that support system is really important for us to make it.

Richard Ruelas:
You have one year left. Right?

Alba Jaramillo:
Yes. I'll currently in my second year of law school.

Richard Ruelas:
In case any potential lawyer is watching.

Alba Jaramillo:
I'll send my resume. [Laughter] I want to do some advocacy in the Latino community. I'm very attracted time congratulations law.

Richard Ruelas:
And some of that might be due to the personal story of how you are in A.S.U. and how to came to the law school?

Alba Jaramillo:
Absolutely. I was actually undocumented in the state for the majority of my life. My first two years of college, I was undocumented. It wasn't until I was about 21 that I was able to move from a community college and go to university because I could finally afford the tuition. So now, having those experiences, I really want to advocate for my community.

Richard Ruelas:
Were you able to regularize your status? I imagine your father was here through the Reagan amnesty of '96.

Alba Jaramillo:
Yes, my father came in from Mexico during that time, and after he spent a few years in the state, he petitioned the rest of my family. Thankfully, we've been here and been very appreciative of what the United States has to offer for us, the opportunities.

Richard Ruelas:
I imagine that you want to offer yourself as a role model. I promised I wouldn't try to make you cry on camera, but there's a lot of students coming up in the pipeline who are in your shoes, might not be as fortunate as being able to regularize your status. You are head of the Chicano law students' association? I'm probably messing up the name.

Alba Jaramillo:
Yes, the Chicanao Latino Llaw Students Association.

Richard Ruelas:
Bringing students into law school, who are in high school now?

Alba Jaramillo:
Yes. And we do have a very good mentoring program right now where we work with attorneys and the attorneys will mentor the law students. The law students will mentor the undergraduate students. And the undergraduate students mentor the high school students. There is definitely a pipeline where we want to mentor at all levels to channel more Latino lawyers and help other students achieve their dreams.

Shelli Soto:
I should mention that that mentorship program was really initiated by one of our professors, Charles Calleros, in collaboration with the Hispanic National Bar Association. And it's been touted and used as the model for that kind of mentoring program that they're trying to get going in other cities across the country. It is the first of its kind as best we can tell with a four-tier mentoring program from high school to college to law student to lawyer. And we're trying to expand it back even further to middle school students.

Richard Ruelas:
How recent did that program begin?

Shelli Soto:
We really got it kicked off this past year. The building of it began a little before that. But that and a number of outreach programs have been very important to the law school. We've really gotten organized in our outreach efforts and trying to reach back to high school students, early college, and provide the kind of inspiration and motivation that can keep students focused on school and bring them all the way through the pipeline and into law school eventually.

Richard Ruelas:
Not to make you an advocate for any kind of immigration reform, but how difficult is the fact that you might have some students who can't regularize their status in that pipeline? Is that a barrier?

Shelli Soto:
Well, I think Alba's story certainly speaks volumes of what is happening now. If her situation had been different by a few years, we could be in a very different situation, and we might have missed out on this wonderful student.

Richard Ruelas:
Yeah. The report, I imagine -- do you get a report card back from the magazine telling you this is why you won? This is what you did well? Keep doing this? Do you have a barometer how to move forward from here?

Shelli Soto:
Sure. Well, I think we all know -- have a good idea of what our goals are. We want our students to be successful. We want to bring in a diverse class, a class that is going to leave the law school and serve Arizonans well and the breadth of the population Arizona has needs to be served well. What we know is what we turned into to "Hispanic Business" magazine. We turned in information about our retention rates specifically for our Hispanic students, information about our success in recruiting students to come to the law school, information about faculty, information about our outreach programs that I mentioned briefly a moment ago and our affiliation with other programs like the mentoring program and other things that are happening in various parts of the southwest.

Richard Ruelas:
And I imagine, since you have no official position at A.S.U., you can be a little bit of an advocate. How important do you think it is that those students in your shoes now, maybe where you were a decade ago, get some option to regularize their status in.

Alba Jaramillo:
I think it's extremely important. I think really; if you are an undocumented, student, don't just give up. Just give yourself a chance. Keep fighting. And don't sit back. If you sit back, you're going to let your dreams just fly away from you. Don't give up, and keep trying.

Richard Ruelas:
Now you're going to make me cry. Thank you for joining me this evening.

Richard Ruelas:
Piñatas have been a part of birthday parties for kids throughout the years. Producer Luis Carrion takes us inside an establishment that has made piñatas a work of art for generations.

Luis Carrion:
If you happen to be driving a bit too fast down Sixth Avenue, you might miss the Marymar piñata and candy store. Located just across from the rodeo ground, Mary mar is a one-stop destination for Mexican candy, jumping castles, and of course the ubiquitous piñata.

Translator:
My name is Maria de Jesus-Boyer. Marymar has been open 13 years now. We started out with ice cream trucks, and this candy store started as a warehouse that supplied the ice cream trucks. As time went by people began asking for piñatas. It was just simple candy store so I would have to bring them from Nogales. We began to make them ourselves with the difficulties of importing them. It's been great because people come in asking for a specific design. We created them ourselves.

Jim Griffith:
I saw every piece of space used. I saw newspaper drying on the overhead heating system pipes. I saw stacks of newspaper, stacks of Styrofoam heads to use as molds. I saw lots and lots of stars of Bethlehem made out of newspaper drying, waiting to get their wonderful colors put on.

Luis Carrion:
The making of piñatas is based on traditions dating back centuries, but Marymar is a modern hybridization of an art driven by local demand for custom designs.

Jim Griffith:
I saw really experienced people working, and one of the people at least in the store is from a family that has two or three generations of making piñatas. I mean, this art is a way of life.

Luis Carrion:
It's an art and it's a way of life. With a glue made from flour and water along with recycled newspaper, Marymar is a slice of culture from our region. And the designs of the piñatas are representations of our collective consciousness.

Jim Griffith:
But they change constantly. They keep changing. I've seen Michael Jackson piñatas. Remember him. And I see a whole bunch of red Hummers over in the corner behind you and smiling automobiles and a football and a can -- a bottle of Bud Lite.

Commercial:
Come on. A piñata?

Luis Carrion:
The piñata is certainly a part of our cultural landscape and is now consumed on a mass scale.

Hey, Bud Lite?

It's a bud Lite piñata.

Luis Carrion:
However, it still resides in the intimate spaces of our neighborhoods.

Jim Griffith:
We're not in a museum. We're in a folk art business designed to serve a very, very wide and diverse community.

Translator:
Well, we started out with just Mexican climates, but now it seems that we get all types of people coming in. Everyone comes in with special requests, and I guess the word of mouth has just gotten around.

Luis Carrion:
As a hybrid of culture, the piñatas at Marymar represent life along the border.

Jim Griffith:
We're dealing here with artists, with crafts people, with business people all at the same time maintaining a very old and constantly changing tradition.

Richard Ruelas:
The Hispanic Women's Corporation is hosting the 22nd annual national Hispanic Women's Conference at the Phoenix convention center. Latinas from around the country will learn about solutions to social issues, professional development, personal growth, and building wealth. With me to talk about the conference is Linda Mazon-Gutierrez, president of the Hispanic Women's Corporation.

Thank you for joining me this evening.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Good evening, Richard.

Richard Ruelas:
There's still one day left in the conference. People can register on-site tomorrow, phoenix civic plaza. Tell me who's going to be at the luncheon.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
We're really excited after today's event. We brought in Patty Feliz-Doyle, the first Latina to ever manage a presidential campaign, and that was exciting today. And tomorrow we are bringing in Patricia Diez Guinness, who is the first Latina in the nearly 100-year history of girl scouts to chair the board of directors. A very dynamic woman in her own right, an attorney, has served as presidential advisor as well as a gubernatorial advisor, someone with a fabulous career.

Richard Ruelas:
What is the overall mission? Why do you have this annual conference to bring Hispanic women together? Mainly business women together. Right?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
It's business women as well as women who come from the private sector as well as the governmental and the nonprofit sector. It's to bring them together to really discuss the hot topics that are going around within their communities across the United States. We have issues that attack the issues of wealth building, and I do mean attack, because we have to get right on the stick and understand what is it about our market that is going to be the very basis for how this economy grows in the United States.

Richard Ruelas:
Also you're targeting women in business who know that the Latina market or, I guess, the Latina market in general but specifically the Latina market is where you can make a lot of money.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Well and also the service and education piece to these corporates who are also very interested in getting into this market and understanding it a little bit better in terms of purchasing power.

Richard Ruelas:
Also it seems that wealth building -- you know -- I'm thinking of now the infomercials where there's an Anglo man in a suit telling me about wealth building. You don't normally hear Latinas discussing wealth building.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Those are definitely very self-serving for whatever the gentleman is trying to sell. But if you talk about what we do, that is to interest women. For example, let's just say they already have a business plan. Now what? What is the next step in there's even more to it than that. What is it that we need to do to be able to market effectively, to get up in front of a crowd? Once you can do that, I believe you can do anything.

Richard Ruelas:
Are there some cultural barriers that keep Latinas from striving? Are there some things to break through culturally?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Well, I think oftentimes Latinas within a specific business setting or culture, whether it's corporate, whether it's government, whatever, sometimes don't find those opportunities available to them, and many of the successful women that we know that have been able to break these barriers are the ones who created opportunity for themselves. What we want to hear is exactly how they did that, what they did to take those extra steps. And we have a workshop, for example, that's called risk taking 101 and how to -- you know -- just take that first step and create that opportunity for yourself.

Richard Ruelas:
Yeah. I guess that's the theme. This is the program. So Latina power I was the theme.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Oh, absolutely. Actually it's our theme every year. [Laughter] and it's just something that we want to encourage women that they do hold the power. 85% of the Latino households, the women make the decision. They choose the health plans.

Richard Ruelas:
Wait a minute.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
They choose the health insurance, whether men realize it or not. Quite frankly, that's where it happens. They make those decisions.

Richard Ruelas:
But you get these women in a room, and there's empowerment that you're not alone out there. Here are some ideas you can share.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Absolutely. Absolutely. We're even offering a workshop on career tee time. I mean, how often do women get invited to a foursome that the guys are going out to at work? What is it about that culture we need to know? I remember at Harvard one of the things they taught us in the school of government and business was that they said more deals are made on the golf course. So what is it that we need to do for all women? You need to learn how to play the game.

Richard Ruelas:
I see that's a workshop that's going to be held tomorrow. Will there actually be some golf lessons?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Just in terms of getting -- you know -- those first little steps if you haven't ever tried it. We have some fabulous Latina golfers that are coming in, and basically they're trying to tell you, ok, where is it that you get started? What is it that you need to do to practice? What is it that you need to go out and use this basically as a business tool to market and to seal the deal.

Richard Ruelas:
I imagine a lot of people share their personal stories. You mentioned you went to the Harvard school of --

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
It was J.F.K. school of government.

Richard Ruelas:
What was your story before that? Not to go back too much to our first segment, but I imagine there's a lot of wonderful personal stories that people have as to where they got where they are. What is yours?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
oh, I would probably say, growing up here in phoenix, parents who emigrated from Mexico, a father who had started a very small business, and just getting involved and I would say that it was just that risk-taking element, but I also have a mother who has a fabulous social conscience in terms of the community and understanding what the needs were. And probably that volunteerism. That was very significant and quite a bit of influence in my life.

Richard Ruelas:
And I imagine you're already partially planning for next year's convention already. That's going to be an election year.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Yes.

Richard Ruelas:
Any peeks ahead to what you think might be themes, might be discussion points?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez: Oh, I definitely think it's going to be political power. We're getting -- we received a glance of that today of how to get involved in a campaign. If you decide to run for office or perhaps help out on a campaign, what does it take? We have some fabulous women coming in from the democratic and the republican side. And even though it's nonpartisan races, how important they are just even on a school board level. But this is just the breaking ground. Next year is going to get out the vote.

Richard Ruelas:
Right. 'Cause I guess there's always that worry of Latinos, we have the numbers. Is there a use of the power? Is there a use of the power I guess politically or entrepreneurially?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
We're going to make sure of that.

Richard Ruelas:
Tomorrow there is the luncheon. There's a Latina authors' book signing in the afternoon. And tomorrow night is the Latina future magazine and Dillard's fashion show and reception.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Oh, yes. More of, say, our younger planning committee got into that, and it is going to be a really red-hot show.

Richard Ruelas:
And that will be in the west ballroom?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
The west ballroom. The entrance is directly facing the Hyatt Regency on Second Street.

Richard Ruelas:
So we're talking the whole runway fashion show?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez: Absolutely. Lights, camera, action.

Richard Ruelas: And I imagine music and dancing to follow all through downtown.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Oh, yeah. No. It's going to be absolutely fun. It's a precursor to the Fiesta Padrias coming up.

Richard Ruelas:
People can Friday morning, 7:00 a.m., register.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
That is correct. At the west convention center. Again, that is on Second Street.

Richard Ruelas:
That's the newer one then. Right?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
It's just a very, very beautiful building. We expect to have a lot of fun there. And we'll be kicking off the conference there.

Richard Ruelas:
How many people do you expect?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
A minimum, 2000. I think, for the luncheon itself, the numbers I received today were 2200. But usually we have about 300 on-site on the day of -

Richard Ruelas:
I guess, if people want a taste of it, they can go to -- the expo is open to the public in.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Very much so. We invite the public to come and visit the expo. It will be in the lower level of the west convention center. So, again, we hope that the public comes and enjoys.

Richard Ruelas:
And the expo is booths, vendors?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Absolutely, yeah. A lot of giveaways. It's a lot of fun.

Richard Ruelas:
That's free?

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Yes. It is free.

Richard Ruelas:
So I imagine you'll get a lot of people -- you'll have more than 2000 people showing up.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Oh, yes. I hope so. And the fashion show, you can also pay at the door.

Richard Ruelas:
Oh, ok.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
Or else go online to www.hispanicwomen.org. And you can get your tickets online as well.

Richard Ruelas:
And learn more about your organization.

Linda Mazon-Gutierrez:
That's right.

Richard Ruelas:
Thank you for taking time out of the convention to come join us.

Richard Ruelas:
That's "Horizonte" for this Thursday night. I'm Richard Ruelas in tonight for Jose Cardenas. Thank you for watching. From all of us here at eight, have a good night.


Shelli Soto: Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, ASU;

A graphic for the Arizona PBS news show,
airs April 27

New and local

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Earth Day Challenge graphic with the Arizona PBS logo and an illustration of the earth

Help us meet the Earth Day Challenge!

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 12

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: