Hi everyone! My name is Armando Olea, and I’m a first-generation college student from San Diego, CA. I am double majoring in International Development Studies and Chicano Studies with a minor in Education. First and foremost, congratulations on your acceptance into UCLA! As a graduating senior, I am excited what the next four years have in store for you. I remember being speechless when I logged-in to my portal and glimpsed at my admission for the first time.
Growing up in a low-income community, I knew that I still wanted to make a difference while attending UCLA. Over the last four years, I have been an active member of various campus organizations that align with my future career interests of becoming an attorney and giving back to the community. I’ve held leadership positions that allowed me to advocate and visit our State and National Capitol for the first time while giving back through community service in places as far as Mexico. These opportunities have allowed me to build friendships and developed professional skills that will be beneficial after graduation.
During my second year, I joined JusticeCorps through the UCLA Center for Community Learning. The UCLA Center for Community Learning partners with community-based organizations to provide undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to gain real-world experience by working directly with communities in Los Angeles. Through this unique opportunity, I was able to receive first-hand law experience serving at the Los Angeles Superior Court in Downtown Los Angeles. We addressed one of the most pressing issues affecting people in the court today: providing equal access to justice. As a JusticeCorps member, I empowered self-represented litigants (individuals representing themselves in court) by filling out legal forms and breaking down the legal process to ensure they had the tools to navigate the complex legal system.
Through this year-long internship, I met other hardworking and like-minded individuals from diverse majors and backgrounds that I would have not met without JusticeCorps. Our supervising attorney, a UCLA alumni supported us throughout our year of service. Moreover, we received credit for our internship through the 195 Community Engagement courses that was applied toward my International Development Studies major. This opportunity allowed me to work with the Los Angeles Superior Court after my year of service as University Rep to support UCLA students during their year of service as a JusticeCorps members.
There are so many opportunities to get involved while making a positive difference at UCLA. The skills and friendships I fostered throughout these last four years will be an important asset as I enter the real-world. Once again, congratulations on your acceptance! Your hardwork has definitely paid off and I hope you SIR to the #1 Public University.