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V&E Awards Scholarships to Diverse 2019 High School Graduates

The Vinson & Elkins Scholars Program has awarded seven $10,000 scholarships to exceptional students in Texas.

The longstanding program provides scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have significant academic achievements, are members of racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession and demonstrate an interest in working in a law firm.

The scholarship award also offers each recipient the opportunity for a paid internship at V&E’s Austin, Dallas or Houston offices during the summers of his or her undergraduate career, as well as reimbursement for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) course should students aspire to attend law school. 

Since the V&E Scholars Program began in 1990, the law firm has granted 157 scholarships to diverse graduating high school seniors. V&E Scholars have gone on to the nation’s most prestigious universities, and many have attended top law schools, later working at the State Department and other public interest agencies, major corporations and law firms. One of the firm’s former scholarship recipients, Amanda Edwards, practiced law at V&E and is currently a Houston City Council member.

We are pleased to announce the seven 2019 V&E scholarship recipients, including the colleges they will attend. 


Iris Chen is a St. John’s School graduate and will attend Harvard University. Chen was a National Merit Finalist and a recipient of the Certificate of Distinction from the American Mathematics Competition. She was Editor-in-Chief of her school’s newspaper, a participant in model United Nations and a competitive pianist. Chen has worked at Learning School House, Norton Rose Fulbright and Strohmeyer Law PLLC. Chen said, “This diversity scholarship demonstrates Vinson & Elkins’ commitment to representing people of all cultures and backgrounds, and I am so honored and humbled to have been selected as one of those people. The scholarship empowers me to fiercely and passionately pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer.”

Lida Ehteshami is a DeBakey High School graduate and will attend Barnard College. Ehteshami has served  as the Political Research Team Head at the Southern Poverty Law Center, participated in model United Nations and has written and published award-winning poetry. She interned with Jubilee Media, where she created a YouTube series, and Lift Up Houston. Ehteshami said, “It’s an honor to receive the 2019 V&E scholarship. Coming from a less privileged background into a law career, where there aren’t many people like me, V&E’s support proves invaluable not only now but for my future education and career as well. Attending college is undoubtedly a huge privilege, but the expense of school can be overwhelming and discouraging at times. This scholarship encourages me to maintain my work ethic while studying at college.”

Amari Harris is a Jersey Village High School graduate and will attend Texas Christian University. Harris has been recognized for her accomplishments in choir and was a member of the track and field and volleyball teams. Harris has been a leader and volunteer at her church. Harris said, “For me, being a recipient of this scholarship is a true blessing and welcomed reward. Studying law is an educational path I have desired to travel for years and to receive a scholarship that will help to facilitate my goals is truly an honor. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities and possibilities provided by Vinson & Elkins through being selected as one of their scholarship recipients.”

Alejandro Moreno is a J. Frank Dobie High School graduate and will attend The University of Texas. Moreno was a Questbridge Finalist, a state and national competitor in speech and debate and a founder of the political discussion club Dobie’s Junior Statesmen of America. Moreno said, “Being a V&E Scholar means a lot not only because of the financial aid that we will receive throughout four years but also because of the opportunity to gain actual experience in the field through the internship provided. I am very grateful for being chosen for this opportunity.”


Alysha Orbach is an Ann Richards School graduate and will attend Georgetown University. Orbach served as a delegate to the Youth and Government National Legislative Conference, was an award-winning member of her mock trial team and organized March for Our Lives Austin. Orbach said, “This scholarship will help me achieve my dreams of serving my community and pursuing justice for those that need it the most.”


Taylor Laredo is a Garland High School graduate and will attend DePaul University. In addition to maintaining academic excellence and part-time jobs, Laredo has been recognized for his outstanding achievements in theatre, specifically UIL One Act Play and the International Thespian Society, and varsity speech and debate. Laredo said, “Being a V&E Scholarship recipient  presents a huge opportunity to learn and grow as a scholar and worker, and is a crucial step in achieving my goals of representing the underrepresented and being an advocate for all. I am honored and grateful for the assistance in financing my education, as well as the valuable opportunity to intern in this field. Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Genesis Paita is a West Mesquite High School graduate and will attend Texas A&M University. Paita has interned for State Representative Victoria Neave, volunteered in many capacities and held leadership positions in her school’s band and drill team. Paita said, “It is such an honor to be chosen as a V&E Scholarship recipient, and I am so grateful for the opportunities being named a V&E Scholarship recipient will offer me.”

To learn more about scholarships and fellowships available from Vinson & Elkins for diverse students – from high school seniors to rising second-year law students in the U.S. – visit the Diversity & Inclusion section of our website. Applications from high school seniors in Texas for V&E’s 2020 Diversity Scholarships are due April

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than 100 years, Vinson & Elkins has provided deep experience in handling transactions, investments, projects, and disputes worldwide. The firm is a trusted adviser to clients in the most important industrial and digital industries. Learn more by visiting or follow us on Twitter @VinsonandElkins or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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