“My Country Tis of Thee”
Congratulations to our own Scarlett Lara-Alcantara, a 2012 Scholar who recently took her oath for American Citizenship. Scarlett entered the Smith Program as a Pelham High School graduate and began her academic career at the University of South Alabama. USA refused to classify her as an Alabama resident even though she had resided in Alabama since an early age. The result of the classification meant Scarlett, even with Smith and other scholarships, had to continue to work and reside with relatives to afford her attendance cost. Scarlett organized protest and met with officials at USA and State Representatives across Alabama to change this residency rule and other educational barriers that deprived many Hispanic students of an opportunity to obtain a higher education in Alabama.
Scarlett was a prominent supporter for protecting the Dreamer Act and campaigned leading protest for the preservation and enhancement of the DACA program that established legal recognition for individuals who came to America at a young age. While in college, Scarlett continued her community work with Hispanic Coalition HICA transferring to UAB where she obtained her undergraduate degree. After working several years in both legal and construction management, she is now pursuing her dream of becoming an immigration attorney. Scarlett has completed her 1st year of legal studies in Connecticut at Quinnipiac University of Law with academic honors. Scarlett is a participant in the Smith Graduate Program and has earned additional funding in merit and financial based scholarships. New scholars will meet Scarlett via Zoom at the June 5th Boot Camp as she delivers the guest lecture addressing family and education dynamics for Smith Scholars.