Armando Aguilar

Armando Aguilar

Pathway to Law

Parental inspiration, internal drive, and generous support lead a first-generation student to fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer.

When Armando Aguilar ’18 was a high school freshman, he saw his father deported to Mexico because of a missed court date to petition for citizenship—all because of a miscommunication with the family’s immigration attorney.

The impact of his father’s unfair departure and witnessing similar challenges for members of his community motivated Aguilar to learn more about the field of law as a possible career path.

“I started to develop this passion for law and passion for helping those who may not be able to help themselves or find the necessary help they needed,” said the Santa Clara LEAD Scholar and recipient of the Norman F. Martin, S.J., Endowed Scholarship.

Aguilar had always wondered why and how policies were put into effect and soon discovered that the connection between his interest in economics and his goals of becoming an attorney intersected perfectly. It became clear that a major in economics as an undergrad could set him on the pathway to prepare for law school. And he knew that applying to SCU could be the beginning of this journey.

“One of the reasons I chose Santa Clara was the emphasis on the values of a Jesuit, Catholic university, something that was very familiar to me growing up in a Catholic family and what I learned from my parents—to work hard and always try to do the right thing in your life.”

Aguilar’s impressive work ethic and vocational aspirations have not gone unnoticed. A scholarship from his high school pays part of his tuition at Santa Clara. Together with the Norman F. Martin, S.J., Endowed Scholarship, he has been able to focus intensely on his studies, work in the community through the Ignatian Center’s Thriving Neighbors Initiative, and serve as co-chair of MEChA-El Frente, a group on campus that provides aid and support to the Chicano/Latino student community.

“The scholarship award was the best news I could have received and has been an incredible help in covering all of the costs, allowing me to stay on campus and get more connected to the student body.” With Aguilar’s sister also in college now, and their younger siblings influenced by both of their success, his parents feel like their travels and sacrifices have paid off. And for Aguilar, a future in law—as a leader in his community—doesn’t appear to be such a far-off dream.