Meet the 2023 Winner of Blueprint Prep’s $20,000 Law School Tuition Scholarship
- Jun 14, 2023
- Law School Scholarships
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
We are excited to announce the winner of this year’s $20,0000 Law School Scholarship giveaway: Yamily Santana, a USC and Penn State graduate! Read Yamily’s story below to learn more about how her family and passion for advocacy drive her career.
If you’re ever in New York City and are tired of the tourist traps, check out Yamily Santana’s TikTok. The Harlem native is passionate about sharing the ins and outs of the city she grew up in, from the diversity to the culture and, of course, the food.
It’s also the city where her parents fell in love after arriving from the Dominican Republic — way before dating apps ruined love for the rest of us. Thirty years later, it’s no surprise that Yamily’s family and Dominican heritage are the two most important pillars in her life.
“I’m proud of where I come from. I love being Afro-Latina, but with that comes a lot of struggles and obstacles,” said Yamily.
Yamily’s love of education was clear from her early days in elementary school. She’d get heartbroken over missing school whenever she was sick, and no amount of “The Price is Right” or “Maury” reruns could ease the pain. Yet she still faced numerous challenges as a minority student navigating higher education. The biggest culture shock came when Yamily transferred from Union College in New Jersey to Penn State.
“I felt like Hannah Montana when she went to Tennessee! Chickens, horses, and everything closed early. I was like, ‘What is this?’” she said.
It clearly wasn’t the best of both worlds. Yet, despite feeling isolated and struggling with homesickness, Yamily pushed through to receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Penn State and then graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in criminal justice (Fight on!).
The Moment That Changed Everything
Yamily always knew she wanted to help people and considered a career as a social worker or children’s case manager. She is currently an employment community service coordinator working with adults with autism, as well as a behavioral therapist.
However, Yamily’s life took a decisive turn when her mother was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver. Witnessing the unjust treatment and false accusations that her mother experienced ignited Yamily’s passion for law and advocacy. At the time, she felt powerless watching her mother go through this ordeal, and she knows other people feel the same way when dealing with the justice system.
“Some people get intimidated when they see someone in a position of power, and they just stay quiet and accept whatever is thrown their way,” said Yamily.
Now, Yamily is juggling two jobs while prepping for the LSAT and preparing to apply to law school. She has her sights set on studying criminal law in her home state of New York and says winning the Blueprint Prep $20,000 Law School Tuition Scholarship will be a huge help.
“I’m speechless and feel very humbled,” she said. “Education is power, and I feel very blessed that I had this opportunity because I needed it to remain positive and know that working hard for your dream pays off.”
A Commitment to Making a Difference
Throughout her educational career, Yamily has met faculty members who have both encouraged and doubted her. And that’s completely fine because she continues to prove the naysayers wrong. Giving up, as she says, isn’t in her blood; her desire to be a voice for people drives her.
“I asked myself, what can I do to change the world? And that’s where my passion goes, into law and advocating for people,” Yamily said. “Whoever you are, I’m here to help you.”
While she’s preparing to make her mark on the world, Yamily has some advice for current undergraduates considering law school: Play hard, but don’t forget to work harder.
“You know, it’s fun to party and dance and have fun, but you need a balance,” said Yamily. “All those long hours will be worth it. Make some sacrifices and stay consistent. You got this.”
The 2024 Blueprint Prep $20,000 Law School Scholarship Giveaway will open early in 2024, so stay tuned! In the meantime, make sure to give yourself the best chance at getting accepted to law school with a competitive LSAT score! Check out Blueprint LSAT for LSAT prep options that match your learning style and goals.
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