The Tool Belt for Success

By Alexi Clark – Fellow, Colorado State University

LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has given me the tools to acheive my goal tobe an aspiring successful attorney.   LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has helped me understand that my dreams are obtainable.  LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has done this by creating a networking system of very knowledgeable and experienced attorneys  who are there for me and want me to succeed. It is amazing to know that when I have a question the answer is just an email or phone call away, and LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has made that happen for me.

I have three mentors who have guided me in many different ways and have given me advice on different topics such as the classes I should take, the importance of internships, getting involved in clubs, the importance of good grades, etc.  They also serve as my role models both as professionals and as members of the community.

I have been able to tour the law firm of one of my mentors, visited the local state and federal courthouses , and had lunch with Judge Arguello. Even that lunch was eye opening because it made me excited for my future; I was able to see the work of both lawyers and judges and it inspired me to reach towards my goals more vigorously than before. In addition to my three mentors, there are so many other people in LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede who are also willing to help me. Attending meetings and workshops has given me the additional knowledge in how to achieve my future career goals.

Without LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede , I would not have had these opportunities. I now look forward to being a mentor for other people because I see what LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede and my mentors have done for me.  My tool belt for achieving my aspirations continuously expands because of Law school Si Se Puede.

Networking Not Only in the Field of Law

By Jasmine Luna-Regis, Fellow, Regis


No matter what career path one chooses, it is essential to have mentors to help one network and seek new opportunities.  Since forming part of my high school’s mock trial team, I have had the best mentors, all of whom have provided me with incredible advice and support. This past year I mentioned to my former mock trial coach, Dermot Lynch, that I was interested in majoring in business.  However, I was not completely sure whether I wanted to major in business administration, with an emphasis in finance or international business, or whether I wanted to major in accounting.  

Since Dermot is also on the Board of Directors of LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede, he connected me to Anna Halaburda, a CPA who is also on the Board. I met with Anna at her office and I was able to learn exactly what an accountant does from an accountant herself!  She explained to me that, although both majors I am considering are great options, she could give me her perspective from being an accountant.  I learned that an accountant has a greater opportunity to move up within a company, such as becoming a chief financial officer, rather than being limited to certain paths one may have with a business administration degree.  In addition, accountants critically analyze situations, which is also going to be essential for law school.  Anna also brought to my attention that becoming a CPA also requires an exam, just as law school graduates take the Bar exam.  

After meeting with Anna, I was still confused as to what major would be best for me.  I thought I would think it over through the summer and make the appropriate changes to my schedule for next semester, if I ended up changing my mind.  Fortunately, Anna offered me an internship position to assist her throughout the summer in order to help me decide whether or not accounting would be the right major for me.  This opportunity could not have come at a better time because not only had I had been struggling over the decision as to my major, but also, whether to take a summer course or do something else during the summer.  What better way to make up my mind than from getting personal experience in accounting?  

It has been a few weeks now since I have started my internship and I could not be happier!  From day one, everyone at the office has been nothing but welcoming and helpful.  I am learning something new every day about what an accountant does and what computer software they use.  I began my internship by using the accounting software, Sage 50, to reconcile multiple accounts.  Next, I was taught the whole process of how the online bank statements of companies eventually turn into the information that I reconciled on Sage 50 through a series of steps.  As I begin to gain a better understanding of each task I am assigned, I am being given more and more responsibility.  I am looking forward to seeing how much more I will learn by the end of this summer!  I appreciate that, through this internship, I am given the trust to handle such important accounting processes and data.  I know that I will benefit very much from such an experience, regardless of whether or not I go into accounting.  I am grateful to Dermot for introducing me to Anna, because without that introduction, I would not have had such an amazing opportunity.  I have come to realize how lucky I am to be involved in a program that offers so many connections and networking opportunities to its Fellows.  I am glad to be surrounded by so many people and mentors that not only want to see me succeed, but also, are willing to help me succeed. 

Balance and Opportunity What Do My Mentors Have In Store?

By Lexi Clark-Fellow, CSU-Ft. Collins


This past school year was challenging overall.  There were some new challenges of trying to balance working full-time with going to school full-time and taking 17 credit hours.  As I think about this past school year, most of my favorite memories have to do with LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede - from being able to tour the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center and having the opportunity to talk to Chief Justice Nancy Rice, to the last workshop which was similar to a “speed dating” event.  We got to meet so many different lawyers and I got to actually hear, from the lawyers themselves, what they do and their favorite part about their job.  Up until that event, I never wanted to be a prosecutor, but the two lawyers who were at the prosecution table changed my whole mindset about what it meant to be a prosecutor.  I also met two fabulous attorneys who work at the Colorado Attorney General’s office and that sounded like the coolest job in the world.  What I am happiest about, however, is that I gained so much knowledge about the different areas of the law and I met a lawyer who is located in Fort Collins, where I attend college.  I was able to intern with this firm all summer.  Truly, LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has been one of the best things to happen to me, not just because of the connections and knowledge it has given me, but also, because when all else is not going as planned, I know that my mentors and LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede will have something in store for me that is going to make me happy and excited.  I am super excited to see what LSYWC has planned for the 2014 Fellows as we enter our junior year and it is crunch time for law school.  It is amazing how fast it is come to be and I am just so grateful that I have this program to keep me going. 

A Powerful Program Long Distance Mentoring That Kept Me Connected

By Melissa Vazquez-Fellow, Loyola-Chicago

It is hard to believe that three years ago, I was getting ready to walk across a stage to receive my high school diploma.  I remember sitting in my room the night before high school graduation, unable to put into words what I was feeling.  Not only was I going to be the first in my family to walk across the stage, but also, I was the first to attend a four year university.  Not any university, but my dream school – Loyola University Chicago.  I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, which up to that time had been my main support system.  I remember thinking, “I did it, we did it.”  I also remember being excited about moving to a new city and starting the next chapter in my life.  But I was also very frightened, although I refused to admit that to anyone.  By venturing off to new grounds away from the support my family provided, I assumed I would be on my own.  But that wasn’t the case at all. I was blessed enough to receive the opportunity to be a Fellow in LAW SCHOOL … Yes We Can.

I was one of those students who came into college undecided and I changed my major about fifty times.  I just couldn’t figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my life.  With the help of LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede I found my calling and I was able to see myself going to law school and becoming a lawyer.  I am very grateful for everyone involved in LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede.  They definitely go out of their way to make sure every student in the program has the same opportunities, including out-of-state students.  I have been able to participate in every workshop through a LiveStream.  The quality of the connection is always superb, and there is always someone whom I can contact during the workshop that will ask the speaker a question for me.  It’s almost as if I was there in person. They are very attentive and have made every workshop very feasible and informative.  I don’t feel like I lose anything from being an out-of-state Fellow.  Even though I am in a different city, my mentors are very easy to reach.  They have always been there for me when I have any questions or concerns, and they have been very supportive throughout this partnership.  They have given me advice that I was unable to find elsewhere, and they always receive me with open arms when I am back in Denver during the holidays.  Whenever I express an interest in a specific field, they put me in touch with others who can meet with me to share their experiences.

Now, as I sit here with only a year left until I cross another stage and receive my degree, I look back at these past three years and I can honestly say thatLAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has helped me grow into the person I am today.  Thanks to this program, I am adamant about pursuing a career in law one day.  The mentoring, knowledge, and resources that I have received from LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede have helped me more than the other mentorship programs I have on campus at Loyola. And for that, I am extremely grateful. 

Impactful Experiences

By Carolina Luna Casas - Fellow, Loyola-Chicago

I have had many experiences through LAW SCHOOL…Yes We Can (LSYWC) and they haveall been very   impactful. One experience that really resonated with me was when I met with Judge Arguello and her talented friend Paula Black during my spring break. These two women who are certainly busy at all times took time out of their busy schedule to meet with me. We met at a coffee shop and had a great conversation about business, politics, LSYWC, but the best part about the conversation was that no matter what we talked about they always made me feel as if I was at their level. They respected my input and treated me as if I was as accomplished as they are. Their actions helped instill a confidence within me, which is not often done by many adults. Knowing that the people you respect also respect you is a great confidence booster.

Not only did they help me build my confidence but they also inspired me to continue working for my dreams. Judge Arguello did this when she said something along the lines of, “50 years ago we would not be able to be where we are now. Many people forget the difficulty women had to go through to change the social acceptance of career women especially for Latinas.” Judge Arguello and Paula Black were able to break the barriers that stopped Latinas from succeeding professionally. They are accomplished and have amazing reputations. But they do not stop there; they give students with barriers (like being first generation college students) the tools they need to succeed. They pushed through social barriers and now they are paying it forward to help us break those barriers.

I would have never thought that a young college freshman could have such an insightful conversation with two very strong and successful women. I was filled with such joy that I shared the experience with my mom. My mom said to me that she was so proud of me for surrounding myself with people that do whatever they can to help me succeed. That was when it clicked. LAW SCHOOL…Yes We Can is not only a mentoring program that describes what we must do to get into law school-—it is much more than that.  It is a community that pushes us, the fellows, to be insightful, attentive, and passionate about life and our goals no matter what barriers may appear. It is a community of professionals who truly respect and care for our well being.

The dedication to the fellows is seen constantly through workshops, outings, and internship opportunities.  Judge Arguello was a great advocate when trying to find internships for us that not only gave us exposure to the legal field but also paid us.  I knew that I wanted legal experience this summer, but I also knew that I needed money to help my parents with finances.  I planned on dedicating my week to an unpaid internship for experience and my free time to a retail job for the money.  Luckily, I was able to have my weekends off because Judge Arguello found a paid internship opportunity for us, the Fellows, with JLT Specialty USA.  I was incredibly excited about the prospect of receiving legal experience in a global insurance brokerage firm.  I took my excitement to my computer and spent hours researching the company and writing my first cover letter.  I followed the advice of Eric Bono, Assistant Dean for Career Opportunities at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, who was the volunteer presenter at a half day workshop on the importance of resumes and cover letters.  A couple of days after my interview, I was notified that I had been chosen as the intern for JLT.  I was beyond excited.  I continue with my excitement as I write about my experience with JLT.  

I really enjoyed my time interning for JLT.  It was amazing to be surrounded by hardworking individuals who truly cared about the people they were serving.  This experience opened my eyes to the different careers that can arise from a law degree.  I learned that there is a huge industry in brokering insurance.  Many of the brokers in this industry use their knowledge from law school to create reliable and lawful contracts for their clients.  I also worked with the company’s legal team who taught me that a business cannot thrive without understanding and complying with the law.  During my time with JLT, I was exposed to researching cases, collecting data, drafting briefs, and many other tasks I had never experienced before.  It was a great experience because it was a good balance between working and learning.  I learned how to be a valuable worker, but I also learned how to prepare for law school.  My supervisor made the greatest impact on me because she gave me advice on what to think of when choosing a law school, how law school classes work, how to read a case, how to brief, and advice on what to do after law school.  All of this was very helpful because it put into perspective what my future will actually entail.  This experience helped me realize that my end goal is not just going to law school to learn about the law, rather that I am preparing myself to put the law into practice to make the world a much smoother and better place.  I am immensely grateful to LSSSP and JLT for this opportunity and look forward to the continued success of our program. 

The Feeling of Being Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

By Alma Hinojosa-Fellow, CU-Boulder


As I wrap up my second year of college, I think of the person I was when I first started my studies at CU Boulder.  It is empowering to see how much I have matured and the knowledge I have gained in these last two years.  I realized this change in myself when I set the goal to step out of my comfort zone by joining various organizations on campus and studying abroad in Tel Aviv, Israel. 

A few weeks into my second year, I met with one of my mentors, Azucena. We talked about different organizations that focused on things that interested me.  We agreed that I would go to an “interest meeting.”  I was happy I did, because I became a member of MEChA (Moviemento Estudiantil Chican@s de Aztlan).  I also became part of Oyàte, a Native American Student Organization.  Within these two communities, I started to feel like I belonged.  This was an important step, not only for my collegiate involvement and academics, but also, because I reconnected with a part of my identity that for some time seemed lost.  I no longer felt the need to escape to my dorm room or go back home to my parents.  I thank my mentor for helping me step out of my comfort zone and for her support.  I do not think I would have done it if it were not for her guidance because it was our conversations that helped me see the possibilities on campus. 

Roberto Ramirez, whom I consider a great mentor of LAW SCHOOL…. Si Se Puede, helped me make my decision regarding where I would spend my semester abroad.  He challenged me to step outside the traditional study abroad destinations and identify countries I would like to study and, most importantly, WHY I would like to study that country.  Before Roberto’s challenge, I had no idea where I would study abroad nor had I thought much about the reasons I would want to study in that setting.

Because the Fall semester of my second year seemed like a time of change for me, I decided to go to a country that would force me out of my comfort zone and help me develop personally, as well as academically. There were multiple viable options but at the end of my research, I decided on Israel.  I decided to study abroad in Israel for the following reasons: 1) I wanted to have the opportunity to experience a different style of education. This would allow me to immerse myself in understanding the people, traditions, and culture. 2) I wanted to know how local students are able to learn and succeed in the middle of a political hotbed. 3) Tel Aviv is an ancient city that holds so much history and I was interested to see if the city has shown progress in civilization compared to other cities of similar age. 

I found powerful reasons for why I wanted to study in Israel. When people asked me what brought me to Israel, they were intrigued by my explanation because it was not the common response of “Oh, this country is beautiful.”  As I wrapped up my semester in Israel, I was thankful for Roberto’s guidance, because my study abroad experience was so much more meaningful and powerful, than if I had just gone with the flow.   Stepping out of my comfort zone, made me realize that I am deeply intrigued with “people” and my conversations with the Israeli people helped me understand better the answers to the three reasons I chose to study in Israel. 

My goal was not to take pictures in front of every ancient structure, or sit on the balcony reading up on the culture, but simply to interact with the people, whether it was talking to someone in the street, or at a café made up of a varied spectrum of religions and ethnic identities, or picking up as much of the native language as possible, or playing soccer with the Tel Aviv University Women’s Soccer team, or visiting Palestine and trying to make sense of the everyday tension that goes on in this country.  My semester abroad was a world-changing experience for me. The knowledge and experiences I have gained go far beyond the borders of this small and fascinating country.  I have gained a deeper understanding of the world around me, and my role in it.  I do not miss my comfort zone. 

Perspective after Graduation

By Jesse Zamora —Fellow, South High School, University of Colorado-Boulder

College seemed like a distant fantasy when I was a child.  I remember how much my parents emphasized the importance of higher education, although I did not have a true grasp on what that meant.  Fast-forward into the future.  In early May of 2016, I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in political science.  I never thought commencement ceremonies were compelling enough to make a person feel something, but standing in the stadium in my cap and gown made me feel a sense of pride.  I can look back on my efforts, successes, and failures with gratitude because I now know each moment had a specific purpose that culminated in my moving on to the next step.  Since graduation, I am taking time to reflect on those critical moments.  To know where you are going, you must remember where you come from.   

I began to see that my strongest reasons for going to college had nothing to do with myself.  My reasons centered on my parents, my family, and my community.  It reminded me of my Daniels Fund scholarship interview where I was asked why I wanted to attend college.  I answered, “To show my family and my people that it can be done.”  I remember how empowering it felt to say those words, but I also felt the weight of the responsibility I had accepted.  My undergraduate years are over but I continue to embrace those words as I march into the future.

The perspective the past has given me also gives me a clearer vision of the future and I learned strategic preparation is key to the next endeavor.  Law school is my next great challenge in life that has to be met with more force.  That was when LAW SCHOOL…Sí Se Puede (LSSSP) was introduced to me.  When I saw that LSSSP facilitated LSAT preparation, admissions decisions and strategies, academic performance, and legal career management, I knew it was the team I needed.  The three mentors I have in the program have been extremely helpful in terms of advice, LSAT preparation, professional development, and even emotional support.  They have also given me great insight into different studying practices and step-by-step guidance on how to navigate my way to law school.  The meetings and communication with my mentors are genuine and relatable.  It is not a walk through or crash course, but rather, a real connection based on help, trust, and respect that make my mentors the most invaluable part of the program.  LAW SCHOOL Si Se Puede connects me to resources I need to achieve my life’s milestones.   

I will be studying for the LSAT, working, shadowing, and taking some time to discover new hobbies.  The ultimate goal in any pursuit should be about self-growth.  I must feel that each and every responsibility I take will help me become an improved version of myself.  Nothing worthwhile is easy and no long-term decision should be made lightly.  Law school is a near future goal and LSSSP is my commitment to myself and my community to get there.  There is no teacher like experience but it helps to have experienced mentorship.  I have a new outlook on the future because of the collective support I have combined with my determination to see it through and it makes for a stronger strategy to reach new heights.  

The Vision

By Victoria Husher —Fellow, University of Denver

When I close my eyes and imagine my future, I picture my college graduation, admission to law school, and eventually a law degree.  While these goals and dreams may seem intangible, LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has made those goals more of a reality.  The first few weeks of college came as a slight shock.  I was around more people than I had ever been before, the workload was heavy, and there were not too many people who looked like me or had similar backgrounds to me. 

While these were challenges many had to overcome, being a LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede Fellow, helped me through this transitional period.  My assigned mentors were always there for me if I needed someone to talk to and relate to. They were always willing and eager to give me advice whether it was regarding my major, or the number of activities in which I was involved.  

In addition to my mentors’ support, several of the workshops helped me transition into college and learn more about myself.  The first workshop of the year addressed study habits and skills. The facilitator helped me identify what type of learner and studier I am.  Additionally, from my cohort of fellows, I learned unique studying techniques.  In another workshop, I was able to take the Myers Briggs Test that allowed for me to distinguish my strengths.  The workshop provided an in-depth description of every aspect of the test and allowed each of the Fellows to analyze and consider our results.  I consider the workshop about resumes and cover letters one of the most beneficial, not only for the future, but internships and campus jobs that the fellows are applying for now.  The workshop went in depth to explain and give several concrete examples of a successful resume.  Additionally, and most beneficial, the fellows were given examples of cover letters for a variety of positions or internships for which we might apply.  This workshop provided ideal examples of strong resumes and cover letters and  an online resource that provides step by step instruction on how to create these documents.  

I would not trade my first year with LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede for anything.  Not only did I learn a variety of tools to make me more successful, but also, I created bonds with my mentors and others that will last a lifetime.  With the help of my mentors, Judge Arguello, and LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede, my future is bright.

What Triggers a Change in Us?

By Ivette Villa — Fellow, Denver School of Science & Technology, Colorado State University

My brain is split in two hemispheres: right and left.  My hemispheres are split into four lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital.  I have a brainstem and motor functions.  I have one billion neurons giving information to dendrite fibers that pass this information to my axial fibers, which then release neurotransmitters building up a communication of 1,000 trillion synaptic connections.  The world that lives in my head is limited by my skull; I am trapped by bone and large surface areas.  The actual mechanics of my brain could not be more beautiful, or more complex.  Except, I have not taken full advantage of my brain.  I have not pushed my brain to its fullest potential; I did not feel like I had a sense of purpose, especially going into college.  Yes, I had many dreams stuck within the mesh inside my head.  But how could I get them out?  If there could be an apparatus with the capability to reach into my brain and take a figment of my imagination out and transform it into something tangible, that would be great.  However, we live in a complicated world where dreams are not plucked and made palpable.  You have to force them into being, all while suffering a pinch of failure.

There are certain points in our lives where we encounter people, programs, or events that trigger a change in us.  The trigger might be through an inspiration or a lesson.  For me, however, my most significant trigger for change has been LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede (LSSSP) and the relationships I have cultivated with my mentors.

While some of this change might be attributed to the incredible transitions I have experienced in going away for college for the first time in my life, I do know that being a part of this program gives me sense of support and an advantage that I have rarely felt.  It gives me hope that my dreams are not merely stuck inside my brain, waiting to be pulled out, but that there really is an apparatus in the form of this community to transfer my dreams from a figment to a reality.  LSSSP is the apparatus handing me hope, and tools, and leaps of faith when I most need it.

Whether I am attending the workshops, listening to my peers, or talking to my mentors, I prefer to stay silent as I observe everything that surrounds me.  I take in as much as I can because it is in those brief moments where I feel an internal shock run from my brain, to my heart, and finally to my hands.  Some might say that feeling engaged and motivated has everything to do with mental means; however, I know that motivation can be felt through physical means.  One would think it would be a chemical laboratory with secret potions and deadly flasks where my dreams go wild.  And not wild in the same way they are crazy but wild in the way they are free to go everywhere without causing any harm.  LSSSP and my mentors do exactly that; they give me the freedom to make the dreams in my brain go wild which, in turn, allows me to transform them from mere thoughts into reality.  With the support of LSSSP and mentors, being motivated no longer lingers just in my brain but it has become part of an everyday ambition to make everything tangible. My brain is not solely made up of neurons; it is made up of working neurons whose limit is no longer a skull.

“You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be”

By Dimitrius Wells—Fellow, Denver School of Science & Technology, Denver University

Since I was a child, I knew that I would be an attorney.  Before wanting to be an attorney, I wanted to be the governor of Colorado.  That dream was instantly shattered when my then family doctor had said “Dimitrius you will never be the governor of Colorado, be more realistic.”  At the time, I could not understand why he would say such a thing to me because, in my eyes, this was a very achievable goal.  I informed my parents of this statement, and they both reassured me that I could be whatever I wanted to be.  Since that day, I believed that I could do whatever I put my mind to.  Because my parents have always been my support system, I have to thank them for the high confidence levels that I have today.  Whatever I want, I go after until I actually get it.  So, when I found about about LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede, I knew that this would be the key to opening as many doors as I want open.

Joining LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede, has definitely allowed me to have opportunities that I may not have had.  I have had the privilege to attend monthly meetings that not only pertain to law, but also, discuss how to further one’s education and success in the near future.  Additionally, I have given speeches about this program to other attorneys and have had phone conversations with co-workers of my mentors as part of my efforts to obtain internships with a law firm in order to further my college career and preparation for law school.  Most recently, I was interviewed by Channel 9 News regarding my achievements since entering college and how LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has helped me.  Because LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has such a powerful team of attorneys, law students, as well as board of directors, I believe that sky is the limit when it comes to having success in this program.  A phrase from one of my mentors that has stuck with me is “you literally have connections at your fingertips.”  To me this meant that I should take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to me, because not everyone has something this beneficial handed to them.

I know that none of this would have been possible had I not heard about this program during my senior year of high school.  During my senior year of high school, I was on the mock trial team. It was a week after graduation when my coach reached out to inform me of this program.  She had explained this this was a program for underrepresented minorities who aspire to be attorneys in the future.  When I read an overview of this program, I instantly applied because of the values of the program and the opportunities that were being presented to participants.  When I told my parents about the program, I remember them both saying “why would you not apply.”

Since being a member of this program, I have had numerous peers tell me how they wish they had heard of this program when they were in high school. Having the same thoughts as me, they too, believe that the skills I am learning and the network I am developing as a result of being involved in LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede are keys that can open many doors for my future.  As I have talked to my peers about this program, I also talk to adults and professors about this program.  I have never received a negative response from individuals when discussing this program with them. They, in fact, applaud me for having the courage to join LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede.  When speaking with “individuals of color,” they are especially proud me because they believe that this proves that anyone can choose to be successful as long as they want to be.  I applaud the board of directors for this program, because they too know what it looks and feels like to be passed up for opportunities due to the simple fact that they do not look the “same” as others.  I refuse to let my skin tone hold me back.  I love proving others wrong by simply not living up to the negative stereotypes that are put on minority students.  When I speak to my parents about this program, as well as the other programs and ambitions that I have for my future, I know that they are in awe of the moment.  They can be proud that they have crafted a confident, intelligent student who will always choose the success route no matter what barriers get in the way.