2024 Tillman Scholar

Seth Sifuentes

University of Notre Dame

“I gave up on asking when the best time to take a leap of faith was. I will serve our immigrant community as a lawyer because the time is now.”

Seth enlisted in the US Navy in 2011 as an aviation ordnanceman. He deployed three times in support of counter-piracy, drug interdiction, and anti-submarine warfare operations. After eight years he left active-duty and moved to Arizona with his wife and children. Shortly after leaving active service, he began studying at a local university before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. While working a comfortable, middle-class job as an engineer in the semiconductor industry, Seth found himself in a place familiar to a lot of veterans: he felt he was no longer making a difference. 

As fate would have it, his daughters’ daycare provider would have her housing jeopardized, and because she was an asylum seeker, would have to move back to Mexico if she didn’t find stable housing. Inspired by his desire to help others, Seth opened his home to her and her three children. For nine months, his family was enriched by the presence of his guests, and Seth found his new mission: to serve immigrants as an immigration lawyer. Since he was raised in a poverty-stricken, drug-riddled Ohio trailer park and he experienced homelessness, Seth does not believe that the streets of the United States are paved with gold. Yet seeing how far he has come, Seth believes that we live in a country of endless opportunity, and that it is his mission to do everything he can to extend that opportunity to others.