Committed to community and mentoring youth, Durham Jones & Pinegar hosted two motivated students from Bronxdale High School in New York for a Summer Scholar internship. Merary Martinez and Ivelisse Fernandez were chosen to participate in the firm’s second year of sponsoring the program.
Bronxdale High School is a public school in the north-east section of the Bronx near the Bronx Zoo and Fordham University. The student body is richly diverse. Many come from Albania, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Opportunities for an entry-level perspective in a professional office or to experience life in another community seldom arise for these students. Most have not seen other parts of the country or even other parts of New York.
The D|J|P Scholars were selected by school faculty and staff based on proven reliability, integrity, grades and involvement in other activities such as Youth Court. They have a college focus and an interest in law. The D|J|P internship will provide an opportunity for these students to develop this interest, and a valuable recognition for college applications and to inspire their peers upon their return to Bronxdale High School.
In 2015, a D|J|P summer scholar applied and was accepted to Westminster College. “This program helped our students envision themselves as professionals and leaders who care about making positive contributions to their community. Our entire student body has been impacted by hearing about the experiences of D|J|P Summer Scholars — students are more motivated to succeed in school and explore career paths that they previously didn’t believe were open to them. It’s truly inspiring,” said Julia Baskin, teacher.
Internship activities will include assisting the firm’s support staff and others as needed so the students can gain a ground-level glimpse of life and work in a professional office. The students will attend hearings and meet with Judge Fred Voros of the Utah Court of Appeals to learn of the judicial system and the roles played by judges and lawyers. The students will learn more about law firm life, professional opportunities, effective study skills, and about the lives of our attorneys. Interaction with local students will also provide a peer to peer perspective and cultural exchange.
Two Bronxdale teachers will join the students in Salt Lake at different times during the internship. They will accompany the students for meetings with Mayor Ben McAdams and the admissions office of two universities. The students will prepare written reports regarding their activities and experiences, explaining their observations and impressions and, hopefully, their aspirations. The students and their teacher supervisor will also visit museums, the theatre and some of Utah’s famed canyons and parks.