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Shabel Castro L’19

Shabel Castro L’19

As the first person in my immediate family to attend graduate school, the Toll Scholar program makes it financially feasible for me to become an attorney and develop the skills necessary to be at the forefront of helping marginalized communities have access to justice and legal services.

The program also allows me to be part of a special community of leaders and mentors who are at the center of public service, which is something I consider to be priceless.

Shabel Castro is a joint-degree student, pursuing her J.D. and an M.S. in Social Policy. She was born and raised in the South Bronx and will be the first in her family to obtain a graduate degree. Shabel received a full-scholarship for her undergraduate studies, graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in Sociology and a B.B.A. in Business Administration from the Macaulay Honors College at Lehman College, CUNY. While at Lehman College, she worked as a peer mentor for first-generation college students and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the college newspaper, The Meridian. Before graduation, Shabel was honored with the highest leadership award at Lehman College—the Vice President of Student Affairs Award of Excellence—and was selected to attend a leadership program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Upon graduating from college, Shabel worked as a Legal Advocate at Part of the Solution (POTS), a nonprofit organization in the Bronx that provides comprehensive and holistic services to community members in crisis. As an advocate, Shabel worked diligently to help restore her clients’ access to public benefits and assisted in preventing housing evictions for numerous families.

While at Penn Law, Shabel has been committed to public service. During her 1L summer, Shabel worked at the Center for Appellate Litigation in New York. During her 2L year, she served on a non-profit board as part of the Wharton Nonprofit Board Fellows Program.  She also served as President of the Latinx Law Students Association (LALSA) and participated in the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic. This past summer she worked in the Immigration Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services, and she is currently completing an externship at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, in New York.