I don’t want to help the rich get richer. I want to help the people who are just getting by in life – to make sure that they’re afforded all the rights that they should have – to make them aware of what they can accomplish. I want to help people dream.”
- Liliana Garcia, (UCSC ‘13, UC Hastings ‘16)
Liliana is an early trailblazer of the 3+3 program. This innovative program is a collaboration between UC Santa Cruz and UC Hastings that enables students to obtain both a B.A. and J.D. in six rather than the normal seven years.
Liliana’s story is a testimony to perseverance and inspiration. Her extraordinary journey begins with her parents, a Mexican immigrant who eventually settled in Los Baños, an agricultural town in the San Joaquin Valley.
“I find it fascinating that two people who only finished grade school were so dedicated and determined for their children to get a good education. My parents . . . don’t even know how to read English – and they were telling me that education is everything,” revealed Liliana in a conversation with 3+3 Founder, Kelly Weisberg, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law.
As a first generation UCSC student, Liliana brought courage and conviction to campus where she majored in Sociology and minored in Latin American and Latino Studies. Living at Merrill College, Liliana worked hard and studied harder. Passionate, curious and fearless, Liliana dreamed big.
Influenced by a class on Environmental Justice that explored the plight of farm workers, Liliana began contemplating law school. “I had thought about possibly attending law school, but I felt that was out of my reach.”
But thanks to encouragement from her mentor and sociology professor, Francesca Guerra, Liliana decided to apply to UC Hastings. “I had a lot of self-doubt, but Francesca kept encouraging me.”
Liliana is now a rising second year law student at UC Hastings College of the Law. This summer she is working with Judge John S. Salazar, a progressive judge in the Santa Cruz County Superior Court, as part of a judicial externship program. Liliana shadows the judge throughout his day, observing trials, submitting briefs, and discussing cases with him. “This is not Law & Order anymore. This is about people’s futures and livelihoods,” Liliana comments, reflecting on the cases that she observes - which range from homicides to burglaries and domestic violence.
Bringing social justice to the underprivileged is more than just a mantra for Liliana - it’s her mission. This focus keeps Liliana motivated throughout her studies. Liliana passionately believes: “Your potential should not be restricted by your circumstances or family history or where you are in life.”
Reflecting on her experiences and life story, Liliana reveals: “I’m not an exception. I’m progress. I’m hope.”
But to UCSC and UC Hastings, Liliana represents more than hope. Liliana is our tomorrow, today.
UC Santa Cruz and UC Hastings hopes you will join Liliana and trail blaze your own future.
Interested in applying? Find out more.