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The Whitley Law Firm Elevating Others Scholarship was established to recognize students going above and beyond in their community by volunteering or working to improve the lives of those around them. We asked students to share the causes and organizations that they support and how their efforts help make life better for others in their community. For more information on this annual scholarship and how to apply for the next academic year, visit here.

2020 Award Winner: Ashley Cao

Ashley Cao, a local Houstonian, has served her community throughout her entire life. Within her time at the University of Houston, she’s been involved in several organizations and events that gave back to the community. During her high school and undergraduate career, Ashley worked as the lead director for two different charity events that raised over $1800 to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF): the Aces for Champs Poker Charity Event and the Color Kids Hearts T-Shirt Fundraiser. With regard to volunteerism, Ashley was able to help peers in the college community through her work as a tutor for Organic and General Chemistry in the American Chemical Society. With Houston Volunteer Lawyers, she served a role in bilingual client support for Spanish-speaking residents, as she helped translate government documents and bills. Lastly, Ashley served as a website translator for the Tahirih Justice Center, a national charitable organization that protects immigrant women from gender-based violence.

As a former volunteer for the Tahirih Justice Center, Ashley has been directly exposed to the issues underlying domestic violence, and the fears that women must hold throughout their daily lives. In the future, she hopes to give more opportunities to women who aren’t as fortunate as her, as her heart grieves for those who have no control over their own situations. When these survivors receive the support they deserve, they can finally be able to pursue their passions with no deterrents. Within her future law firm, she hopes to work as an immigration attorney and empower these women and other voiceless individuals to be able to live freely in the United States of America

Reaction Statement: “I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Elevating Others Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to continue studies that will eventually lead me to the future lawyer I hope to someday become. I hope, through your help, that I will be able to achieve my dream of becoming an immigration attorney, giving people the opportunity to live in the United States of America.

As I complete my education at the University of Houston, I am very thankful for receiving your thoughtful gift. Because of your scholarship, I can worry less about my housing and tuition costs, and more about the important aspects of school: learning.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous gift.”