Wong, a first-generation Asian-American, who grew
up the oldest of six with a single mom, is the first in her
family to get a college degree. She said her path to law
school was not the result of “specific events or aha moments,” but a steady evolution that grew into a passion,
thanks to her mother.
“Sometimes the world felt a little too big for my
mom, five siblings and me, but my mother never
allowed us for a second to think we had any setbacks,”
Wong said. “She only reminded us that we were dif-
ferent to make sure we stood out and worked hard and
Porter also pointed to the women in her fami-
ly as her inspiration to pursue education and, later,
law school. As a child, she spent weekends with her
great-grandmother, watching an endless diet of “Judge
Judy” and “The Judge Mathis Show.” At her grand-
mother’s house, she learned the valuable lesson of
“emancipation through education.”
“Through education and excelling in school, she
reminded me that I would be able to open doors for
myself outside the scope of those who try to place
limitations on my achievements due to my race or
gender or both,” Porter said. Porter participated in
mock trials and on the debate team at her Florida high
school and now is completing her first year at Pepper-
dine University’s law school.
Marina Bontkowski, a Cuban-American whose
mother’s family fled to the U.S. in 1961, took a longer
path to University of California Berkeley Law School.
She taught third graders for two years at a private boys
school in New York state, then went to CUNY-John
Jay College for a master’s degree in forensic mental
health counseling and a certificate in terrorism studies.
For four years in New York City, she assisted a forensic psychiatrist in court evaluations before moving
cross-country to go to law school.
Miguel Del Mundo