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Felix A. Navarro, Jr.-April 2012 Scholar

Felix A. Navarro, Jr. - April 2012 Scholar of the Month
CHCI-PepsiCo Scholar
Kissimmee, FL
B.A., Political Science
CUNY City College

Growing up in “El Barrio,” NY, I experienced certain kinds of violence due to poverty and a lack of resources. Simultaneously, there existed a continuous police presence, with the potential for harassment. Several of my friends were unable to avoid engagement with the criminal justice system; some were arrested and released due to mistaken identity, while others served jail time for petty charges. These experiences during their adolescent years have had an irreversible impact on their lives, keeping them from college and affecting future employment opportunities.

I knew that one way to get away from this environment was to go to college. It was in college where I discovered my potential and learned that research, policy making, and advocacy can address the issues that negatively affect inner city communities. I am currently a Junior at CUNY: The City College of New York, maintaining a 3.84 G.P.A. while dual-majoring in Political Science and Pre-Law.

Upon graduating from CUNY: City College, I will pursue a Juris Doctorate degree focusing on public interest law. I feel that law school would provide a strong, well rounded education that would best suit my interests in juvenile justice improvements, death penalty abolition, and criminal justice reform. A law degree will be the most beneficial graduate study for my potential career in public service because I hope to go beyond the advocacy that I engage in now and bring about tangible results, perhaps by representing and working at the defense of at-risk teenagers or by proposing policies that address the reasons for wrongful convictions in our justice system. 

My Puerto Rican Heritage sparked my interest in law by leading me to question the reasons for the overwhelming amount of Hispanic males in federal and state prisons. My search for a means to improve the lives of my people compelled me to focus my studies on the draconian drug enforcement policies that plagued Puerto Ricans arriving in the U.S. during the early 1950’s and 1960’s. These enforcement policies still have an effect on us today. Bureau of Justice statistics show that 1,747 of every 100,000 Hispanic males will be imprisoned by age 30. Heavy police enforcement in urban city communities mostly populated by Blacks and Hispanics negatively affects our people as minority incarceration rates continue to increase. This becomes a cyclical process as studies show that Hispanic ex-offenders have at least a 50% chance of recommitting a crime, leading to a re-arrest and potential re-incarceration. 

I would like to influence change in police activity in urban communities and raise awareness of the lack of opportunities available to our struggling teenagers. This would likely alter the stigma that is currently associated with Hispanic communities. I would also like to contribute to efforts addressing the high recidivism rates among Hispanic ex-offenders. By strengthening the resources available to ex-offenders upon release, there is a higher possibility for a decrease in recidivism rates and an increase of employment opportunities for individuals who have fallen prey to our criminal justice system. Such efforts, I believe and hope for, would gradually result in a slow decrease in crime rates for Hispanic non-violent ex-offenders, a lower amount of re-arrests, and contribute to a decrease in overall crime rates and prison populations.

Past Scholar of the Month

Mariam G. Lopez - August 2015 Scholar of the Month
Daniela Carbajal - July 2015 Scholar of the Month
Beverly Apodaca - May 2015 Scholar of the Month
Edwin Hurtado - April 2015 Scholar of the Month
David Rodriguez - March 2015 Scholar of the Month
Jennifer Villalobos - February 2015 Scholar of the Month
Maria Garibay Campos - January 2015 Scholar of the Month
Samantha Perez - December 2014 Scholar of the Month
Andrea Gutierrez - November 2014 Scholar of the Month
Elias Jimenez - September 2014 Scholar of the Month
Monserrat Baeza - August 2014 Scholar of the Month
Mayra Estrada - July 2014 Scholar of the Month
Isaias Faustino - June 2014 Scholar of the Month
Wendy Cartagena-Gonzalez - May 2014 Scholar of the Month
Cesar Esteban Bernal - April 2014 Scholar of the Month
Celia Flores - March 2014 Scholar of the Month
Aldo Sosa - February 2014 Scholar of the Month
Mikayla B. Aviles - January 2014 Scholar of the Month
Christian Guerrero - December 2013 - Scholar of the Month
Esperanza Perez - November 2013 - Scholar of the Month
Adrian Rosas September 2013 Scholar of the Month
Vivienne T. Meljen - August 2013 Scholar of the Month
Sophia DeAraujo - July 2013 SOTM
Ricky Vides - Scholar of the Month - June 2013
Kelvin Castillo - Scholar of the Month - May 2013
Xochitl Davila - Scholar of the Month - April 2013
Brian Ibarra - March 2013 Scholar of the Month
Jacqueline B. Odum - February 2013 Scholar of the Month
Alexis Nava Teodoro - January 2013
Cristina Gil - December 2012
Roy Nuñez -- November 2012 Scholar
Karla Arevalo-Alas -- October 2012 Scholar
Luis C. Alvarez Scholar -- September 2012
Carolina Gonzalez Scholar -- July 2012
Daniel Caraballo Scholar -- June 2012
Rose Aviles Scholar -- May 2012
Felix A. Navarro, Jr.-April 2012 Scholar
Andie Lee Gonzalez-March 2012 Scholar
Kevin Magaña-February 2012 Scholar
Rebecca Rodriguez-January 2012 Scholar
Erika S. DiVivo-August Scholar
Wesley Quevedo - July Scholar
Arlett A. Aguayo - June Scholar
Ricardo L. Baez-May Scholar
Natalie Chiriboga - April Scholar
Eddie L. Castanon - March 2011
Monica Avila -- February 2011
Daniel R. Lopez -- December 2010
Maria Murillo -- November 2010
Gilberto Chaidez, Jr. -- August 2010
Stephanie A. Alvarez -- July 2010
Christian Amador -- June 2010
Isabeth Mendoza --May 2010