When we talk to new law students after their first semester, they often tell us that law school has been one of the toughest challenges they have ever faced. But first year law student Hugo Salazar has a different story to tell.

Hugo grew up in an impoverished area of Tijuana, Mexico. At the age of ten, his family immigrated to the United States in search for better opportunities. “We were determined to find a way to succeed even though we couldn’t speak English and didn’t have any money,” said Hugo.

With only a first grade education, Hugo’s parents taught him the value of hard work.  While in middle school, Hugo helped his parents by cleaning homes to make ends meet. Unlike his classmates, Hugo’s responsibilities included mastering English and translating, excelling at his studies, and keeping his family afloat. This, no doubt, was one of the toughest times in Hugo’s life but the challenge made him work even harder.

“I graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies,” said Hugo. While at UCI, he completed 20 units per quarter, two honors theses and volunteered as a mentor. “My parents were so proud that I was selected as the commencement speaker for my graduating class,” Hugo mentioned. Shortly afterwards, he became a Coro Fellow and had the opportunity to intern at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Caesar Chavez Foundation. After this, Hugo was selected as a prestigious Fulbright Fellow. During this fellowship, he traveled to South America and studied the peace process in Colombia. More recently, Hugo worked as a community organizer and mobilized immigrant communities to acquire a better understanding of the political process and environmental issues.

Hugo began law school at Chapman in August 2012 in hopes of pursuing a career as a land use attorney. He sailed through his first semester with a heightened determination to succeed and his hard work has not gone unnoticed.

On March 2, 2013, Hugo will receive the 2012-2013 Wally Davis Scholarship, a prestigious award given by the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association. On behalf of the entire Chapman Law community, we couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments. Hugo has a bright future ahead of him and we are delighted to play a part in helping him achieve his dreams.

Read more about the scholarship here.