On Wednesday, August 1, Project SELF held its annual recognition dinner honoring Project SELF summer interns from the class of 2018. The event was held at the Hilton in Costa Mesa with over 275 guests in attendance. Project Youth OCBF and the Orange County Chapter Association of Legal Administrators hosted the event to recognize this year’s 56 Project SELF interns and to thank the law firms and businesses that supported and mentored the students. The keynote speaker was Mónica Ramírez Almadani, an attorney at Covington & Burling LLP.
Mónica practices in Covington’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group. She advises and represents clients in sensitive, high-stakes internal investigations, government enforcement matters, and commercial litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Mónica served as a Special Assistant Attorney General and Senior Advisor to former California Attorney General and U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris. She started her legal career as a staff attorney with the national legal department of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where, for several years, she led and participated in numerous precedent-setting cases of constitutional magnitude.
Mónica’s keynote address was truly inspirational and heartfelt. She discussed her early years growing up in a modest Latino family in Huntington Park. She shared her journey and personal struggles to fit in at Ivy League colleges so far from home and so different from her community. She encouraged the students to pursue their educational and career dreams and build upon what they have learned through their Project SELF experiences. Mónica expressed the importance of the people they have met along the way and cherishing those relationships.
The excitement continued with the awarding of scholarships to select Project SELF interns in recognition of their outstanding achievements. The Orange County Chapter Association of Legal Administrators and the Banyard Inn of Court each awarded five college scholarships to deserving interns.
Steve Card, Project Youth OCBF President-Elect, thanked partnering Santa Ana high schools Century, Godinez, Middle College, Saddleback, Santa Ana, Segerstrom, and Valley, and Santa Ana Unified School District’s Career Technical Education Program.