By Melissa Burgess
First generation college student Constance Lee never imagined her dream of attending law school would ever come true. She always felt her financial struggles would get in the way.
Now, the political science graduate can pursue her dream thanks to the Rebecca M. Salokar Scholarship Endowment. Lee will be awarded $2,000 to help pay for her law school tuition at FIU’s College of Law. She is the first recipient of the scholarship.
“This scholarship has helped greatly in easing some of my worries,” Lee said. “I previously thought of law school as a somewhat unattainable goal due to my economic conditions.”
The scholarship was created this year in memory of Rebecca Salokar, associate professor and former chair of the Department of Politics and International Relations, who died on Dec. 19, 2016 after a long battle with cancer.
Salokar was at the university for over three decades. The scholarship is a legacy of her generosity and commitment to students.
The award benefits students in the Department of Politics and International Relations who are enrolled in a pre-law course of study. To qualify, applicants must be admitted into FIU College of Law. An award will be given each spring to one or more students who expect to graduate in that spring semester or in one of the next two semesters.
While Lee was pursuing her degree in political science and minor in international relations, she received certificates in National Security Studies and in Pre-Law Skills and Professional Values, a certificate which Salokar created.
Salokar also established and directed FIU’s Pre-Law Advising and Training Office (PLATO), an advising center for students interested in law school.
“I have heard nothing but praises about Dr. Salokar,” Lee said. “Having participated in the Pre-Law Skills and Professional Values certificate program, I can understand how great she truly was. I don’t think anything else has prepared me more than the program she created.”
Lee recently graduated magna cum laude with a 3.78 GPA and also graduated as an elected member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She served as President of Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society and was an active member of the Black Student Union.
This fall, Lee will return to FIU as a Full Dean’s Scholar at the College of Law. She hopes that after law school, she can use her degree for public service within the intelligence community, United States government or an officer of the military’s JAG Corps.
“I thank Dr. Salokar, Judge Judith Rubenstein and the Politics and International Relations Department for not only helping me financially, but also helping to make sure I am truly prepared for the journey I am about to take,” said Lee.