Two Haub Law Students Selected as Recipients of the Inaugural American Immigration Lawyers Association Diversity Equity and Inclusion Scholarship

December 12, 2022
Picture of scholarship winners

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has selected Elisabeth Haub School of Law students Woorod Atiyat and Maria Montenegro-Bernardo as recipients of its inaugural 2022 Diversity Equity and Inclusion Scholarship. Woorod, a 2L, and Maria, a 1L, are two out of only ten students selected from law schools across the country to receive the award. The AILA Diversity Equity and Inclusion Scholarship honors outstanding law students from historically underrepresented groups who are interested in the practice of immigration law and advocating on behalf of immigrant communities. Recipients receive academic, professional, and financial support, including the opportunity to publish an article on an immigration-related topic as part of AILA’s Think Immigration blogDEI series. 

Woorod’s deep passion for immigration law stems from her work with the New Jersey Chapter of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) where she witnessed first-hand the unconcealed manifestations of discrimination that systematically exists and is very prevalent within Muslim communities. As a law student, she has been involved with Pace's Immigration Law Society and continues to seek opportunities to better her understanding of the realms of Immigration Law and its impacts and sharpen her skills to become the best advocate for immigrants. Woorod aspires to fulfill her dream of becoming an immigration rights lawyer and apply her education to empower communities who have been historically marginalized due to their immigration status. 

Maria came to Haub Law with the desire to be part of a positive change for society. Immigrating to the United States from Venezuela at the age of three, she too witnessed first-hand the discrimination and hardships immigrants endure for the chance of a better life. Maria’s professional mission is to offer support to immigrants in need, especially children facing deportation or living in poverty. As a future immigration rights lawyer, she hopes she can create a source of relief for immigrants who live in fear and are struggling, as well as foster change within the field of immigration law. 

“Congratulations to Woorod and Maria for scoring two of the ten Diversity Equity and Inclusion Scholarships awarded in 2022 by the AILA, making Pace the only law school with more than one winner,” said Professor Vanessa H. Merton, who directs the Immigration Justice Clinic at Haub Law. “I am pleased to see that AILA looks outside the box to recognize and reward the talent and commitment of diverse students from a wide array of law schools, and I look forward to seeing how our students take advantage of the special professional development opportunities that these scholarships provide.”

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