Marisol Leon has joined LEAP as a mentor for our first cohort of students. Read in her own words about what inspired her to get involved and her journey as a lawyer (and much more!).
One of the most valuable lessons my older sister taught me is the importance of mentorship. She recognized that even though she would always serve as a role model for me, our knowledge about educational and career opportunities was limited because of our family’s rural immigrant background. In middle school, we were both lucky to find mentoring programs. They exposed us to women who showed us that our journey as first generation college students would not be easy; that we would often be up against impossible odds by virtue of our ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds; and that we would face obstacles and challenges many of our classmates simply would not. But they reassured us that the long, sometimes painful journey would be well worth it.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without my mentors. They have emphasized the importance of giving back and of never forgetting who I am and where I come from. For that reason, I am thrilled to serve as a LEAP mentor.
At LEAP we are thrilled to include Marisol among our 2020 cohort mentors. A cum laude Yale graduate, Marisol was an Institute for International Public Policy Fellow and a recipient of the Yale Nakanishi Prize. After college, Marisol worked with Friends of the Earth-Mexico in Chiapas, Mexico where she collaborated with social movements organizing against mega-development projects displacing rural communities and undermining indigenous autonomy. Upon returning to the States she taught high school and middle school while earning her Master’s in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education. At Loyola she received the Outstanding Graduate in Urban Education award and the Humanity in Action Fellowship.
Marisol attended law school at the Berkeley School of Law, where she was a Distinguished Graduate Fellow. She externed for the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and her legal research was published in the Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice and the Inter-American and European Human Rights Journal. After law school, Marisol started working as a civil rights attorney with the California Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. In addition to her work with the CADOJ, she is an adjunct professor at Occidental College where she teaches a course she developed on Resistance Movements and the Law.
The incoming cohort of students will surely stand to benefit from high-caliber mentors like Marisol!