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Posted On July 23, 2018 Scholarship
Ethan Inren Chen, a 22-year-old from Cerritos, CA, was selected as the winner of the Console and Associates P.C. Legal Scholarship 2017-2018. Chen, a graduate of Gretchen Whitney High School, earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California-Riverside in June 2017. The impressive young man now joins the 2018 first-year class in the University of Iowa’s College of Law.
Chen, whose interests include cooking, hip-hop, and community service, submitted an essay detailing how his love of music has allowed him to make a difference in the community and serve as a mentor to Riverside’s youth. He plans to combine his passion for music with his law school education push for greater social change and support charitable causes.
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I’ve got my headphones on. I can scrutinize over a single bar for hours, analyzing every element to exhaustion. Pitch and rhythm, when stripped apart and pieced back together, create harmony or dissonance. Like a puzzle, notes organize to create spellbinding musical structures. It is in these moments of clarity that I feel a complex appreciation of the world around me.
Music theory and the law sing a similar melody. Both are based on logic and interpretation. Just as notes are strung using musical constructs to convey emotion, words are arranged using syntactic constructs to convey meaning. And just as music may express a musician’s emotional outreach to connect with people, the law may embody a society’s aspiration to promote justice and ensure progress for all.
The law, in that respect, is noble and purposeful. In the first week of my undergraduate career, the Riverside Family Shelter offered me a place to play music and find a community. There, I found parents and children who were eager to support one another and share their tribulation with me. With this awareness, I returned every week for the next four years. Over time, I mentored these children to become leaders through performance and thoughtful dialogue.
In these ideals, I formed the Path of Life Children’s Choir, aimed to empower Riverside’s youth.
Familiar faces would change from month to month, but the undeniable effect of music was constant: By leading with positivity, parents found moral support while their children found the encouragement to build dreams. This idea of musical fellowship soon grew. Using music as a catalyst for change, I organized volunteer events, performance opportunities, and fundraising efforts for Riverside’s youth, through an organization known as, Rhythm and Brains., For example, in partnership with Riverside’s First Congregational Church, we provided free hot meals and open mic shows.
However, I realized that more needed to be done to inspire greater change. To do work that not only sustains others but effects transformative changes, I look to the law. The law is perhaps the most robust engine for driving meaningful change, whether through the arts or other channels. My interest in music experiences mentoring youths, and a burning desire to change lives brought forth a passion for intertwining the law and music to empower people.
As a lawyer, I wish to work with industries, organizations, and artists that empower the youth through arts, education, and civic engagement. By providing a platform for social conscience, we may inspire creativity and understanding within our community. My legal training would allow me to, for example, provide legal support for companies hosting charitable events, create licensing opportunities for artists to support worthy causes, or counsel those organizations in the art industry seeking to bring about social changes. The law, combined with my interest in music holds the power of bringing about greater changes than through music alone.
With a law degree and relentless optimism, I’ll sing a song of hope knowing that someone out there will benefit from the work I do.
Already, Chen demonstrates a commitment to service and his community by acting as a mentor to children during undergraduate studies. His spirit of using his gifts to help others will serve him well in his future career.
We wish him good luck as he embarks on his law school education and feels confident that he will continue to make a difference as an eager law school student and, ultimately, a respected attorney.