Four TAMIU Grads Accepted to Law School

Four TAMIU Graduates
Accepted to Law School

As most graduates this spring celebrate this milestone and start their next adventures, three Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Spring 2015 graduates and one Fall 2014 graduate are getting ready to continue their education at law school in the fall.

Jesus Vigil, Celia Villarreal, Amanda Rodriguez and Eduardo Mendoza.

Off to Law School
Texas A&M International University graduates bound for law school are, left to right:
Jesús Vigil, South Texas College of Law; Celia Villarreal, The University of Texas School of Law; Amanda Rodríguez, Georgetown University Law Center and Eduardo Mendoza,
St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Eduardo Mendoza (BBA ’14) received his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He will attend St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Amanda Rodríguez (BA, ’15) earned her two bachelor’s degrees, English and political science, and will attend Georgetown University Law Center.

Jesús Vigil (BA ’15) earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and will attend the South Texas College of Law.

Celia Villarreal (BA ’15) will attend The University of Texas School of Law. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English.

“Students who are looking for a career as a lawyer should take advantage of all the opportunities TAMIU affords them in preparing and applying to law school,” said Kimber J. Palmer, TAMIU instructor and pre-law advisor.

TAMIU gives students access to academic advising and they can become involved with the many activities that will help them decide whether this is a career path for them, Palmer added.

TAMIU students also get to hear from local practicing law professionals.

“Our student organization is very closely involved with local lawyers and judges who are generous with their time and expertise,” said Dr. Palmer.

Mendoza is just one student who took advantage of those opportunities offered by TAMIU.

“TAMIU was a huge help! After taking Dr. Palmer’s course, I was certain I wanted to become a lawyer. I joined TAMIU Pre-Law and became treasurer for the organization which gave me opportunities to network with attorneys throughout the city,” Mendoza said.

He credits those connections for helping him land his current job as a legal assistant for attorney Silverio Martinez.

“TAMIU also presented various internship opportunities, including my internship with Cong. Henry Cuellar. Because of that, I was able to get a job at Henry Cuellar’s campaign office immediately after graduation,” Mendoza said.

“TAMIU played a huge role in my decision to apply to law school. I’m a proud Dustdevil,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza received the St. Mary’s University School of Law Leadership Award which totals $60,000, the second highest scholarship the School of Law offers.

“What’s certain is I will serve my community, regardless of the type of law I decide to practice. Lawyers are here to help others and that’s what I intend to do. It’s an honor and a dream come true,” said Mendoza.

Rodríguez also took advantage of the opportunities offered at TAMIU which she said helped her get into her first-choice law school, Georgetown University Law Center.

“TAMIU provided me with endless opportunities. In addition to having excellent professors, I had the opportunity to join and lead student organizations, travel to a multitude of countries, compete interscholastically and conduct and present research. All of these experiences which TAMIU provided allowed me to have an incredible undergraduate career which laid the foundation for my future,” said Rodríguez.

She said she plans on pursuing a career in international law after completing law school.

“Making the decision to major in English was perhaps the best decision I could have made to prepare myself for law school. My professors demanded a lot of reading and critical thinking which was extremely helpful for the LSAT and will be helpful in law school,” Rodríguez explained.

“I am extremely ecstatic to be embarking on this new chapter in my life and am excited to study a field that I feel so passionate about,” Rodríguez said.

Another student whose childhood dream was to become a lawyer is Jesús  Vigil (BA ’14). He was a first-generation college student and will be the first in his family to attend a professional school.

“I was offered the Sanchez Scholar Family Foundation Scholarship which basically paid all of my tuition. I decided to attend TAMIU rather than go out of town to a more prominent institution. It worked out financially because TAMIU is relatively affordable and that puts you in a friendly situation when trying to pay for law school. In my case, I left TAMIU with a BA in biology, admittance to South Texas College of Law and no debt,” said Vigil.

In addition to financial assistance, Dr. Curtis Neal McReynolds, associate professor of biology, and Gina De La Miyar González, associate VP, Office of the VP for Student Success, were vital in his admittance to South Texas College of Law.

“They both wrote letters of recommendation for me and were very helpful and encouraging in my application process. González even gave me advice towards creating my application and how I should conduct myself if the occasion was to call for it. My application stood out and I got accepted to a respectable institution because of their letters of recommendation. Dr. Palmer was also there whenever I needed advice or had question and even provided me with a book she owned on assisting with writing personal statements, which I too, consider a big factor on my acceptance,” said Vigil.

Regarding his unusual choice of major—biology—for an aspiring lawyer, Vigil said he was able to establish a routine for studying and learning which will make his experience in law school a bit easier as a result of his science professors’ approach to the courses.

“They will definitely have an influence on not only me, but my law school experience in the near future,” he said.

Going from TAMIU to the University of Texas School at Law is Villarreal. She gave credit to TAMIU professors and organizations for their advice and experience for helping her realize her dream of attending law school.

“I would not be where I am today without the opportunities provided to me at TAMIU. The greatest impact on me was being able to work alongside professors who cared about me as an individual and pushed me to become a better student,” said Villarreal.

She added that her professors went out of their way to answer her questions, provide advice and demonstrate their support for her.

“While I am fortunate to have had many wonderful professors at TAMIU, there are a few who have played a pivotal role in helping me accomplish my dream. They are: Dr. Frances Bernat, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences (COAS); Dr. Palmer; Dr. Mark Menaldo, director, Political Science program; Dr. Timothy Dolan, director, Master’s of Public Administration program; Dr. Paul Niemeyer, associate professor, English, and COAS Dean Thomas Mitchell. I am forever grateful to them,” she said.

“TAMIU is a great institution for aspiring lawyers because our University offers so many opportunities for success. It is a small school, so students are able to make lasting connections with their professors, become involved in organizations that hold meaning to them and work hard to achieve good grades. I know I made the right choice when I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree at TAMIU,” said Villarreal.

All four students demonstrated a deep appreciation for their time at TAMIU and for the help they received as students. They said they plan to give back to the community through their work or via scholarships after they complete law school to help the next group of students bound for law school.

“I and the whole TAMIU community are proud of our students who are off to law school. These four students, and those who have gone before them, have shown that TAMIU is a great place to prepare for law school. Their hard work will guarantee them a place of leadership in their community as well as the satisfaction of doing something of benefit for others while working in a career they love,” said Palmer.

Anyone interested in attending law school, including high school juniors and seniors and those with a bachelor’s degree should contact Palmer with any questions about preparing for and getting accepted into law school.

For more information, contact Palmer at kpalmer@tamiu.edu or 326.2492 or visit offices in Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 215.

University summer office hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. – noon Friday.

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Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu