Alexis Nieves ’14 will tell you that, if you ask about the challenges he has faced in his life, including overcoming severe asthma in the most unconventional way imaginable: he joined his high school cross country team and worked his body and mind so hard that he eventually could run six miles a day.
“That taught me to never quit,” says Nieves.
It’s a lesson he used last summer as a Wheaton Fellow intern at a New York law firm that helps low-income clients. A double major in Hispanic studies and international relations, Nieves worked in the group representation unit at the Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation, which focuses on issues of social and economic justice.
His daily duties involved researching policy briefs and writing reports on local and social issues affecting the neighborhoods in Brooklyn. He also helped the attorneys prepare for court and gained insight by sitting in on court hearings concerning housing and bankruptcy.
In addition to the summer internship, Nieves also was accepted into the LatinoJustice LAWbound 2012 summer program, which aims to increase the number of Latinos who successfully stay on the path to law school.
Nieves’s interest in law first developed when he came to Wheaton. “I took the course ‘International Politics’ and noticed how much I loved the subject,” he says. “I have always wanted to give back and help individuals who every day are faced with constraints and obstacles that hold them back.
“My Wheaton education has inspired me to continue pursuing the field of law and to work toward one day starting a nonprofit for people who, because of economic constraints, have never gotten the opportunity to receive an education and progress in life.”