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Varnum Awards $8,000 in Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships

March 29, 2011

Law students Jessica Warren and Joshua Garcia have been chosen as the 2011 recipients of Varnum's Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships.

"Josh and Jessica met all the criteria we look for in a scholarship candidate, including excellent academic records, commitment to the legal profession, and strong interest in promoting diversity both in the field of law and in the broader community around them," said Beth Skaggs, Varnum partner and member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team. "Varnum is proud to support highly qualified students like Josh and Jessica as they continue their legal studies."

The scholarship program was created as part of the firm's ongoing efforts to encourage diversity in the legal field and in the community. The program offers financial support to students who exhibit a commitment to promoting greater ethnic or racial diversity and inclusion as they pursue a career in law. Warren and Garcia will each receive $4,000 in scholarship funds.

Jessica Warren is a first year law student at Michigan State University College of Law where she is a member of Phi Alpha Delta, Family Law Society and Law Students for Reproductive Rights. Outside of school, Warren spends her free time with her three-year-old daughter and fostering her self-founded, nonprofit organization, the Meatball Kisses Foundation. Warren designed the foundation to be an encouraging resource for young mothers to continue to pursue their goals while maintaining a healthy balance as an active parent.

A Spartan to the core, Warren also attended Michigan State University for a bachelor's degree in International Relations and a masters degree in Communications. Prior to pursuing a law degree, Warren worked as a staff member for State Representative Virgil Smith, served as an advisor for the Michigan State University African American Celebratory, and served as the public relations and campaign manager to elect Virgil Smith to the State Senate.

Joshua Garcia is a first year law student at the University of Michigan Law School where he serves as the recruitment chair of the Latino Law Students Association. He is the recipient of the highly competitive Clarence Darrow scholarship and one of 20 students nationwide to receive the American Bar Association Legal Opportunity scholarship.

Garcia holds a bachelors degree in comparative literature and psychology from New York University and a masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arizona. Before moving to Michigan to attend law school, Garcia worked for VOICES Community Stories helping high school students draft and sell creative content to public radio stations. He also spent two years working as a community outreach manager at New York Cares, New York City's largest volunteer organization. During his time there, he successfully helped the organization increase the percentage of community projects from two percent to eight percent.

Varnum started its Diversity and Inclusion team more than 15 years ago. Since then, the team has established various projects and programs including a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, ongoing firm-wide programming on diversity issues, and consistent financial support for diversity initiatives, groups, and programs in the community.

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