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Cal State LA student wins prominent Paralegal Scholarship

Downtown LA campus scholarship award winner

Members of LAPA - Los Angeles Paralegal Association Facebook

Members of LAPA - Los Angeles Paralegal Association Facebook

Ani Nalbandian, Staff Reporter

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The newly opened Downtown LA campus is proud to have Cynthia Castaneda, who was recently awarded with the Los Angeles Paralegal Association’s (LAPA) Student Membership Scholarship Award. The one thousand dollar award is given to one student who demonstrates academic excellence and a desire to become a paralegal. The award was presented at LAPA’s 40th Annual Conference.

Cynthia’s hard work and drive to create a brighter future for herself and her family is clear. She won the scholarship based on her outstanding 3.567 GPA, which she maintained while raising her 17-month old son. Ms. Crastaneda explained, “I am happy with the decision [to apply]… I’ve been placing the classes on my credit card since there is no financial aid available.”

The winning essay is a heartwarming account of Cynthia’s journey to become a paralegal. Graduating from Cal State Long Beach, Castaneda completed her Bachelor of Arts in Film, TGV and Radio Production. After graduating, Cynthia worked with Yellow Pages for nearly ten years and was suddenly laid off while nine months pregnant. Looking towards the future, Cynthia decided to go back to school and accomplish her longtime goal to become a paralegal.

Cynthia is thrilled to attend the paralegal program at the Cal State LA Downtown campus and plans to complete her certificate program by Spring 2017. Castaneda says she has had a positive experience at the Downtown LA campus. “There is always someone available at the front desk. The instructors are working professionals’, not retired folks speaking from past experience… teaching what current paralegals should know so that it can be applied correctly.”

The paralegal program at Cal State LA became ABA Board Certified in 1978, becoming one of the first university programs to be approved in California. When asking if she would recommend the CSULA Paralegal program, she said “it suits almost anyone’s needs and schedule. The classes meet once per week for approximately 3 hours at 6:30pm. Ample time to get to class on time for the average working person.”

Ms. Castaneda was recommended for the scholarship by her Cal State LA Downtown Paralegal Studies instructor Lisa Rauhauser. In her letter, Rauhauser expressed her respect for Castaneda’s work ethic, writing, “Ms. Castaneda approached her studies in a business-like manner, acknowledging the importance of effectively listening and delivering a quality work product.”

In an interview with Cal State LA, Castaneda she expressed that “As a future paralegal I know I will have extraordinary opportunities that will give me the responsibility to model what it means to be a respectable and engaged professional.”

For business inquiries, please contact Ms. Cynthia Castaneda through her Linkedin at or her email address

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About the Writer
Ani Nalbandian, Staff Reporter
Ani is a political science major in her senior year at California State University, Los Angeles. She began writing for the University Times in August 2015, and later became a member of the newspaper as a Staff Reporter in November 2015. Ani hopes to fight for the rights of people by practicing the law as...
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Cal State LA student wins prominent Paralegal Scholarship