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Isabelle is a UCLA grad and law student looking to engage with homeowner protection and small business development.

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"Look into youth leadership programs around Los Angeles County! It’s a fun and easy way to get hands-on experience and can stimulate your passions of activism and community engagement."

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Isabelle Ortiz-Luis
Class of 2017


Group picture is me alongside my Pilipine Pre-Law Pipeline family!


My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.

My interest in politics, law and foreign relations surfaced around senior year. It was a pivotal time in my life because my home country and my country of heritage were facing tumultuous political and societal shifts during respective presidential elections. Both candidates assembled campaigns that entertained populist fury, controversial remarks, threatening rhetoric, and insulting messages. My anger fueled my desire to pursue a path towards human interest work and public service.

I changed my major from nursing to political science at COC towards the end of my senior year. I loved every class and took more courses than required to transfer because I just wanted to learn more about the political system and everything that is affected by it.

At UCLA, Political Science 290 - Ethnic and Gender Politics cemented my desire to go to law school because the professor was excellent at stimulating debates and dialogue on Supreme Court cases. I really enjoyed reading, analyzing, formulating arguments, then writing about it for class.

The lack of Filipino representation in law was a huge factor as to why I probably did not consider this as a career sooner. I never really saw it as a possibility because it was an old boys’ club, and I have never met a lawyer who looked like me. It was difficult to visualize my success.

To mitigate our insecurities, my friend and I founded the Pilipinx Pre-Law Pipeline at UCLA to build a community of aspiring Filipino lawyers. We partnered with the Philippine American Bar Association, hosted dinners with Filipino law students, and organized various events that helped me and fellow undergrads connect with our dream jobs.

I worked with a former public defender who currently holds a role as the Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law. She gave me research projects on rehabilitative programs and availability of social workers across California and learned more about the inequities within America’s justice system than ever before.

To close off my final year as an undergraduate, I interned at the Scottish Parliament to gain experience working in politics and fulfill my dream of studying abroad. From resolving disputes between neighbors to helping low income families secure subsidized housing, I witnessed the effectiveness of an accessible and inclusive political institution.

Not only did my experience in Scotland show me a productive system that America fails to employ, but it also showed me that actualizing a fair and transparent system is not impossible. I hope to use my experience to ensure that everyone has access to fair and equal treatment.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • Project Linus built my understanding of nonprofit work while allowing me to use my creativity for projects on and offline.

  • Volunteered around Santa Clarita

  • Spoke to counselors, professors, and professionals about changing my major and career path

  • Joined political science club at COC


  • FEM Newsmagazine - Political Contributor

  • Intern at UN Women Los Angeles

  • Intern at Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE)

  • Work at UCLA School of Law

  • Intern at Scottish Parliament


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

Currently, I am serving as an active board member for the Pilipinx Pre-Law Pipeline to recruit new students, provide more resources for the summer, and maintain contacts with Bar Associations. I decided to take a gap year before law school because I wanted to volunteer at local nonprofits. There is so much to explore within the legal field and I want to get a sense of what area of law I would like to pursue. I have always had an interest in homeowner protection and small business development, so I hope to work with an attorney to assist them on their summer projects. In addition, I am looking into applying for fellowships dedicated to diversifying law by assisting underrepresented students through the law school application process, providing free LSAT classes, building lawyering skills, and more! Law school prep and law school itself is incredibly expensive, so try to find companies to pay for it.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: Take ANY COC class that interests you, even if it falls outside of your major. It’s so important to get outside of your bubble and learn something new. Who knows, it might ignite a passion in you that you never knew existed!

  • Advice #2: Look into youth leadership programs around Los Angeles County! It’s a fun and easy way to get hands-on experience and can stimulate your passions of activism and community engagement.

  • Advice #3: Quality not quantity. It’s not about how many jobs you can list on a resume or the amount of professional relationships you build. Invest your time and energy into quality experiences and people.

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