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Xochitl I. Davila – April 2013 Scholar of the Month

CHCI-Nike Scholar

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

School: Santa Clara University

Degree: B.A., Political Science & Spanish

My name is Xochitl Davila. I was born and raised in East Los Angeles in Boyle Heights, but I am of Mexican descent. I am currently a senior at Santa Clara University and in June 2013, I will be the first in my family to graduate from college, earning a B.A. in political science and in Spanish. I’ve been blessed to have done more in my 21 years of life than most people do in their lifetime. This past summer, I had some of the most phenomenal experiences anyone could ever ask for, like interning with the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles for Magistrate, Judge Carla Woehrle and the Director of the Federal Public Defenders Office in Los Angeles, Sean Kennedy.

Giving back to my community has always been a priority in my life. Without the unconditional support of my family and mentors, I would not be where I am today. They believed in a girl from a very under-served community and provided the biggest gift I could ever ask for — an education. Now, it is my responsibility to put this knowledge to good use and pay it forward. I am also humbled by the awards I’ve received from my university, recognizing my efforts. During my sophomore year, I was awarded the Student Inclusive Excellence Award by the Provost and Vice President of my university, for my leadership in community outreach, my commitment to social justice, and my work in improving the campus climate. In my junior year, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad in Alicante, Spain–my first time traveling out of the country. That same year I was awarded the Donovan Fellowship Award, given to students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice through a community-based learning experience. While many decide to do their fellowships in other countries, I decided to stay local and learn more about my own community, with the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles in their Eviction Assistance Center. I can honestly say that this was one of the best experiences I have had. Every day, I woke up happily knowing that I was volunteering my time with an amazing organization that serves low-income people for free.

I felt a great sense of humility knowing that what I was doing was truly impacting the people in my community. At first, I helped by translating for attorneys and with time, I started getting my own clients. I was able to interview them and help prepare their paperwork so that they would not suffer automatic evictions. I have never been so grateful for being bilingual. Even though evictions are unfortunate, the attorneys that I interned with gave me confidence by knowing that these tenants could not have been in better hands. This experience solidified my conviction to pursue law school and become an immigration attorney. My ultimate goal however, is to become the first Latina president of our country and to impact my community in the biggest way possible. ¡Si se puede! I know it will not be easy, but I know that with my determination, passion, and hard work I will persevere.