School of Law News
Law Student Wins Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award
University of San Diego (USD) School of Law student Rosibel Mancillas Lopez, JD candidate ’13, has been selected as the national recipient of the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, which is given by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to one young adult in the country who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and dedication in efforts against poverty and injustice in the United States.
Lopez will be honored at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore on November 14.
“Rosibel is a remarkable woman,” said USD School of Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo. “Her care for immigrants and other people in need is exemplary of the compassionate service that characterizes our very best law students. We are very proud of her and confident that she will make valuable use of her legal education to serve others throughout her life.”
A native of Tijuana, Mexico, Mancillas Lopez has been a legal U.S. resident since age 6. Now 24, her advocacy for justice and immigration reform is motivated by her own family’s struggles with the immigration process.
“Being an immigrant, our family went through a lot of lawyers to help us get the legalization papers and figure it out,” she said in a May 2009 Inside USD story. “The lawyer who finally helped us, when I saw how amazing he was, made me want to become a lawyer.”
Mancillas Lopez’s service includes participation in University Ministry’s monthly student day trips to Tijuana’s La Morita community and week-long Spring Breakthrough immersion in March; volunteering with the San Diego Organizing Project’s immigration ministry; and traveling to Chiapas, Mexico on multiple occasions to observe, learn from and support indigenous people in Mexico’s Mayan community.
“The greatest moment I’ve had took place this summer in Chiapas, Mexico,” explains Mancillas Lopez. “I traveled there for a week to live and learn from the Mayan indigenous. My visit to this community consisted of playing games, making tortillas, teaching the girls how to dance, swimming and hiking. At the end of my stay, the Mayan girls said the most beautiful words to me, ‘Siempre te llevaramos en nuestro corazon’ (we will always have you in our hearts). It showed me how simple acts of kindness can be so significant in the lives of others.”
Mancillas Lopez earned her undergraduate degree in political science and economics from USD and is now enrolled in USD School of Law’s evening program focusing her studies in international law. She also works the Legal Aid Society, enabling her to help the community by working alongside an immigration attorney. The experience Mancillas Lopez is gaining deepens her knowledge of the career path she desires.
“The fact that I was selected for this award on the basis of the work I’ve done and am doing around the issue of immigration is very reaffirming to me,” said Mancillas Lopez. “I feel like receiving this award is God tell me that, yes I am on the right path.”
Click here to read more about Rosilla Mancillas Lopez and the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award.
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