On April 10, 2015, Charlotte School of Law’s Immigration Law Society hosted Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of national best seller of Enrique’s Journey, Sonia Nazario, through the leadership of 3L Carol Naples, child immigrant, loving wife, mother of two, and aspiring North Carolina and New Jersey immigration law attorney. Prior to coming to law school Naples worked in the not-for-profit and financing realm. However, her work experiences is not what peaked Naples interest in immigration—her life was.
Naples, was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and came to the United States when she was six years old. As a first grader, she struggled with speaking English and had a hearing impediment which made the first few years of elementary school difficult. Growing up in a military family, Naples moved from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Tampa when she was nine. By the time Naples graduated high school, she had been through twelve different schools. After high school, Naples married her husband Alexander, who was also in the military. Immediately after giving birth to her two sons, Naples and her husband moved to Germany. In Germany, while Naples’ focus was on being a wife and mother, she attended college as a non-traditional student and obtained an Associate in Science in paralegal studies. When Naples’ sons were in high school, Naples stressed the importance of going to college. After pushing her sons for a couple years, Naples felt convicted to move forward with her studies. As a result, Naples pursued her Bachelors of Science in Management in 2011 from Montreat College. Fueling her passion for law, Naples applied to Charlotte School of Law and Charleston School of Law in 2011 but was not admitted. At the beginning of 2012, Naples’ undergraduate business law professor informed Naples about AAMPLE (Alternative Admission Model Program for Legal Education)—which offers determined individuals with lower traditional applicant criteria the opportunity to earn a place in the classroom by successfully completing two upper-level law school courses in six weeks followed by two law school final exams. Naples was accepted into the AAMPLE program and passed the required courses. Upon completion of the required courses, Naples was admitted into the fall 2012 class.
“This is a big accomplishment for my family and me,” Naples exclaimed. “My grandmother only had a second grade education level, and taught herself how to read by reading the Bible,” she said. Naples mother only completed a sixth grade education because she had to go to work to help feed the family. Naples is the first woman in her family to complete an education beyond elementary school. “Law school is a dream for me, but for those who came before me, it is a realization of the power of education,” Naples said.
Naples has been appreciative of all of her experiences at Charlotte School of Law. Although her law school journey has been a hard road to travel, Naples has usurp each obstacle as an opportunity to learn something new about the legal field and herself personally. During her time at Charlotte School of Law, Naples has enjoyed her Immigration, Race Law and Public Policy, Criminal Law, Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiations, and Advanced Legal Research courses. However, her clinical experience in the immigration clinic has had the most impact on her. “It has set me up to hit the ground running in my legal career,” said Naples.
Naples will be graduating from Charlotte School of Law with her J.D. on May 16, 2015. While Naples has been offered an opportunity to go into private practice, she is exploring a partnership opportunity with a CSL alumnus to establish an Immigration law firm. “I wanted to go to law school to become an immigration attorney, and because of [the opportunity that CSL has given me], I am going to make a difference in a person’s life—one person at a time,” said Naples.