San Jacinto College paralegal student Karen Cardenas is the first-ever repeat winner in an essay scholarship contest, sponsored by the Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) national paralegal honor society. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


San Jacinto College paralegal student Karen Cardenas’ essay about parental rights of same sex couples recently earned a $500 scholarship awarded by the Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) national paralegal honor society.

Cardenas became the first-ever repeat winner in the national scholarship contest, which attracts applicants from nearly 200 universities and colleges throughout the nation. The LEX honor society awards only five of the national scholarships annually.

“This is the first time in the LEX scholarship history that we have had a repeat winner,” commented Mary Flaherty, LEX national coordinator. “Karen deserves a great deal of credit for this impressive accomplishment.”

In 2014, Cardena’s essay about a legal procedure known as “Replevin” earned her a LEX essay scholarship. Replevin is a complex legal action used to have property returned to its rightful owner when it is being held unlawfully by someone other than the owner. The Replevin procedure frequently involves cases in which someone buys stolen property without knowing it is stolen.

Her 2015 winning essay deals with a same-sex married couple’s struggle to obtain legal parental rights of a biological daughter. In the LEX essay contest, students do not decide the subject matter, but must write about scenarios provided by administrators.

Jeanette Liberty, San Jacinto College paralegal program director, says Cardenas is a model paralegal student. “Not only does Karen work full-time, she also maintains a 4.0 grade point average,” Liberty commented. “She uses scholarships to fund her education because she is ineligible for financial aid, so this will come in handy. She has made the College proud by earning these national scholarships, and I am certain that her future accomplishments will continue to embody the goals and ideals of San Jacinto College.”

Cardenas graduated from Galena Park High School in 2009 and plans to earn an associate paralegal degree from San Jacinto College this December. She recently began working as a paralegal at a law firm in downtown Houston. Her immediate goal is to continue working as a paralegal, and is considering attending a university to earn a paralegal bachelor’s degree.

San Jacinto College offers paralegal courses and associate degree options at the North Campus, which also houses the College’s law library. The College also offers distance learning paralegal courses that are available online. The San Jacinto College paralegal program is one of the few in Texas approved by the American Bar Association.

To read Cardena’s 2014 winning essay, please visit:

To read Cardena’s 2015 winning essay, please visit:

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.