2012-2013 Luce Scholar

Andrea Nieves is currently a fellow at the Fair Trial Initiative in Durham, North Carolina. Andrea is a Puerto Rican American born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. As the oldest daughter of a single parent, she saw the difficulty her mother had in providing for her children because of a lack of higher education. Determined to overcome these obstacles and to gain exposure to the larger world around her, she worked her way through high school and won a scholarship to spend a gap year abroad in Quito, Ecuador between high school and college. Andrea graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Occidental College in 2007 with a B.A. in American Studies. During college, she studied art history in Siena, Italy and mentored at risk middle school students in an after school program. She was inspired to attend law school so that she would have the power to stand up in a courtroom and speak on behalf of people of color living in poverty. Andrea attended New York University School of Law on a full scholarship from the NYU Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights. While in law school, Andrea dedicated herself to fighting for social justice for low-income people of color and youth. She represented immigrant youth facing deportation and children in the juvenile delinquency system. She also assisted with the state habeas appeal of an Alabama death row inmate and a writ of certiorari for a juvenile serving a life without the possibility of parole sentence. These experiences led her to a post-graduate fellowship with the Fair Trial Initiative, where she represents indigent clients facing the death penalty at trial.