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Janet Henthorn
Jewish Federation of Omaha
333 South 132nd Street
Omaha, NE 68154
(402) 334-6551
jhenthorn@jewishomaha.org

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2017 - Jenessa Cruz-Alfaro, Creighton University School of Law

The Bennett G. Hornstein Memorial Scholarship for aspiring or current law students has been awarded to Jenessa Cruz-Alfaro for the 2017-2018 academic year. Jenessa is currently a student at Creighton University School of Law, with a graduation date in 2018. Her areas of interest are family law and immigration.

Jenessa is a native Omahan and a mother of a son and daughter, ages nine and five. She works part time at a law firm and volunteers as a judge at Sarpy County Teen Court, all while attending law school full time. Through a program coordinated by the Latino Law Student Association, Jenessa also mentors students from Central High School.

In 2004 Jenessa earned her B.A. in Paralegal Studies at College of Saint Mary. Jenessa was on the Dean’s List and was an Academic Scholarship Recipient while at the college. During her undergraduate years, she volunteered at the Domestic Violence Coordinating Counsel. After graduation she worked at a local café as an assistant manager and at law firms as a paralegal, law clerk intern, and law clerk. Last summer Jenessa interned with Justice for Our Neighbors, where she assisted low income immigrant families and children.

While working as a full time paralegal, Jenessa felt the desire to go further with her education in order to help an often under-served part of the community. Now attending Creighton University School of Law, Jenessa is currently ranked number one in her class. In addition to handling her own rigorous academic schedule, she mentors first year law students, guiding them through their challenging first year. This spring Jenessa began volunteering as a judge at Sarpy County Teen Court, with court held every two weeks.

Jenessa recognizes that experienced and skilled legal representation is not always available to those with lower incomes. She wants to help provide qualified and competent counsel to that segment of the community. It is Jenessa’s desire to do nonprofit and pro bono work when she completes her degree. She is fluent in Spanish and hopes to utilize that skill in her work. After law school Jenessa hopes to obtain a judicial clerkship to garner experience and knowledge so that she can then work for a non-profit organization or law firm that allows pro bono work on a regular basis. Serving others is the constant thread running through Jenessa’s life.

When Jenessa has free time in the summer, she enjoys spending her days with her husband and children. The family enjoys swimming, biking, hiking and visiting farmer’s markets. Jenessa states that by receiving the Hornstein Scholarship she will be able to attend summer classes, allowing her to spend more time with her family during the next school year.