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Emma Galtes: Spring 2024 Criminal Justice Scholarship Winner

by Apr 9, 2024Criminal Defense Attorney, Scholarship

Emma’s Winning Essay:

I am a single mother, first-generation law student, born and raised in Venezuela, but “adopted” by USA in my mid-twenties. I have worked for over thirty years as an occupational therapist in burns, and poly trauma hospital units, and now want to serve my community as a  lawyer, to advocate for those whose lives have encountered more adversity than what I had faced I strongly believe that I could serve my community better if I had the opportunity to legally represent the underserved.

I have survived domestic abuse and overcame a brief period of being homeless, those are still very painful memories, that even though they are accompanied with shame and great sorrow, they are also closely connected with an increased awareness and a deeper level of empathy towards others that might be enduring the same ordeal as well. 

It is my main goal to be the voice and the caring hand that will undeterredly seek justice and defend the most vulnerable in my community. 

In 2014, I started to volunteer as guardian ad litem and had a glimpse of how our judiciary system works, which encouraged me even more to pursue the education needed.  

As we age, we realize that we have less time to live, we value more our time, and how we spend it, I realized that advocating for others is my purpose. 

The experience gained in 30 years working as an occupational therapist in multiple settings with people with disabilities and with minorities have given me a unique perspective, which could be a great asset in the event of becoming a lawyer. All have prepared me for that role where I believe I can provide also a very distinctive level of service.  

I have been a caregiver, more than half of my life, and that is my essence: to care, to give. I am passionate for social justice, help people and it is my intention and hope to be a catalyst for the better in their lives. That is my main goal upon graduation to work in the innocence project, and to contribute positively to my community. 

Life does not settle when one gets to middle age; quite the contrary, it is the perfect soil to harvest new dreams, to relaunch a different dynamic, to materialize the purpose one is meant to have. I see the path clear of debris for pouring my soul into a higher aim: a criminal defense lawyer.

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