I am fortunate enough to have had a vibrant professional life before law school. My achievements throughout each stage of my career helped me acquire a skill-set proven to be invaluable during law school. For instance, while working in public policy in Washington, DC, my greatest professional achievement was presenting policy recommendations at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. This duly prepared me for public speaking and oral advocacy settings at law school. As a former Doctoral student, I was fortunate enough to meet professors and fellow student scholars who inspire me to enact social justice work, especially with regard to the Filipino community in the US and in the Philippines. At law school, I've carried that activism to champion diversity, pushing myself to be the first woman of color and first Filipino Editor-in-Chief of the University of San Francisco Law Review.
2. Who or what inspires you to do the work that you do?
My parents, Gloria and Nolasco Sta.Ana, immigrated to the US in the early 1980s with very little. Their humility, work ethic, and selflessness inspire me to always be cognizant that hard work and service for others are more fruitful when you view these endeavors as inherently intertwined. Similarly, professional and academic mentors, such as Dr. Mark S. Frankel, Dr. Kavita Berger, the late Dr. Richard Iton, have been selfless with their time and bestowed gracious trust in me. Moreover, the scholar-activists that touch my life, like Mark Sanchez, Isi Miranda, Father Ray Flores, Josh McCluskey, Nicole CuUnjieng, Lauren Pongan, James Zarsadiaz, Ethan Caldwell, Kim Singletary, Phonshia Nie, Faith Kares, Melissa Gibson, Amee Chew, and Sheila Zamar, all remind me to maintain a critical eye in order to push society in a more just direction.
3. Has your membership to FBANC played a significant role in your professional career? If yes, how?
FBANC plays a significant role in my professional career because it introduced me to a community of lawyers dedicated to pay it forward. Abigail Rivamonte, Robert Uy, Ray Buenaventura, Christine Start and Joe Gacula have been nothing but open and supportive. I humbly thank them for their altruism.
4. What can new FBANC members do to take advantage of their membership?
New FBANC members can best take advantage of their membership by being proactive about seeking mentors. In my perspective, building a professional relationship with an FBANC member is not just about networking. Rather, it is a way to make our Filipino community stronger and more present in the legal field. It is a way to build ourselves up collectively in a profession that is still struggling with diversity.
5. Why do you want to be an attorney?
I want to be an attorney to serve Filipino guest workers on H-2B visas who suffer from wage theft or other abuses from their employer. But I want to pursue this in a holistic way, being mindful that many Filipinos do not choose to leave their homes and families. The encouragement of the Philippine government to export human capital, the dependence of the government on remittances, and, in turn, the lack of local jobs, greatly influence Filipinos to leave their loved ones and their homeland. For overseas employers to unduly capitalize on this lack of choice must be addressed. I hope to play a part in providing legal protection to our kababayan.