Senior Spotlight: Lisa Cho ’20 Gets Acceptance Letters from 10 Law Schools

Senior Spotlight: Lisa Cho ’20 Gets Acceptance Letters from 10 Law Schools

Senior Spotlight: Lisa Cho ’20 Gets Acceptance Letters from 10 Law Schools

Ronald H. Brown Fellow, Immigrant Student Success Center Fellow, JJDreamers Vice President, TheDream.US scholar, and Judicial Intern for the Honorable Joanne D. Quiñones, graduating senior Lisa Cho ’20 has built up quite an impressive resume, and after receiving 10 law school acceptance letters, we’re pretty confident that she’ll build on that success in the future. “I decided on going to law school because I wanted to make a difference,” says Cho, who majored in Criminology, grew up in Queens, New York, and plans to attend CUNY Law in the fall. “As an undocumented immigrant, I want to study the law so I can help support immigrant and minority communities. My experiences in all of my classes, fellowships, and internships has taught me how to handle difficult situations and how to be a more empathetic person.” We chatted with Cho to understand what drives her, what helped her, and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.

“My experiences in all of my classes, fellowships, and internships has taught me how to handle difficult situations and how to be a more empathetic person.” —Lisa Cho

When you first came to John Jay, what were some of your biggest challenges? How did you overcome them?
When I first came to John Jay, my biggest challenge was finding a supportive community. Since I am undocumented, getting into college was hard enough, and navigating college is another story. I overcame this challenge with the help of SASP and the Latin American and Latinx Studies department. With their encouragement, I was able to help build a support system for the undocumented community that led to the opening of the Immigrant Student Success Center.

Was there an organization, cohort, person, or place at John Jay that made your experience especially fulfilling, supportive, or productive?
I would have to say my Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program cohort because of how supportive we are of each other. I cannot tell you how many times we have given words of encouragement to each other and to our incoming cohort. If you asked them for help with anything, they would help you in a heartbeat. I have two favorite and memorable moments with my Ronald H. Brown cohort. The first one was going to Washington, D.C. to visit law schools. We spent almost every night either watching scary movies or telling scary stories, and a few of us couldn’t sleep without the lights on. My other favorite moment would be studying for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). We would constantly tell each other LSAT jokes and make puns about what we were studying. It was our way of alleviating the stress that comes with studying for the LSAT.

If all goes well, where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself graduating law school and practicing law with either the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) or a non-profit organization. This is my current goal because I want to work in public interest. Regardless of if I make a lot of money or not, I just want to help people and give back to my community.

“In five years, I see myself graduating law school and practicing law with either the ACLU or a non-profit organization.” —Lisa Cho

Since this isn’t a traditional semester—and for safety reasons we need to continue to practice social distancing—how do you hope to celebrate graduating from John Jay?
Honestly, I hope to have a graduation after this pandemic is over. I would still like to have celebrations from the different programs and departments that I’m involved in. Even if the celebrations are delayed, I think all of our graduating seniors deserve it.

Is there someone special that’s particularly proud of your accomplishment?
There are a lot of people that are particularly proud of my accomplishments. My parents; Professor Jodie Roure, Ph.D.; the Honorable Francois Rivera; Professor José Luis Morín; Professor Isabel Martinez, Ph.D.; and Nancy Yang. These people have been an amazing support system that led me to getting 10 law school acceptance letters, with a combined total of $695,000 worth of scholarships, while also getting two opinions published. I don’t think I would have accomplished so much if it weren’t for their continued support, encouragement, and belief in me. I want to thank all of them for always having my back, listening to me, and including me in their conversations.

“Without John Jay, I would not have been able to become an advocate for the undocumented community or create change in my community.” —Lisa Cho

Please finish this sentence: Without John Jay…
Without John Jay, I would not have been able to become an advocate for the undocumented community or create change in my community. I would not have had the support I received from John Jay at any other college.