March 30, 2014 -- UCLA School of Law student Jassmin Antolin Poyaoan ’15 has been awarded a 2014 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. A member of the law school’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies Program, she is one of 30 students, chosen from more than 1,200 applicants, to receive the prestigious fellowship this year.
The fellowships are awarded annually to the most accomplished and promising immigrants and children of immigrants. Selection criteria focus on accomplishments that show creativity, originality and initiative in light of the challenges and opportunities that have been part of the applicant’s immigration story.
Jassmin, who was born in the United States, was almost 12 when she was sent with her sister to live in the Philippines with their grandmother, following the death of their mother. She returned to the U.S. at the age of 17, taking legal custody of her sister and responsibility for their sick grandmother. Jassmin attended Chabot College and then the University of California-Berkeley, where she studied sociology. As part of Oxfam’s ActionCorps, she lobbied the U.S. government for climate change policy after typhoon Ketsana devastated Manila. At home, she has built capacity for immigrant-owned small businesses and served with JusticeCorps, assisting low-income, self-represented litigants. She plans to combine her J.D. degree with an M.B.A. degree to help underserved communities rise above systemic poverty.