Katherine Mateo

Katherine MateoAiming for the Supreme Court

Katherine Mateo was at work — she’s a private consultant in HBO’s legal corporate offices — when the call came in from the dean of Stanford Law School. Not only had this 2011 senior in the Macaulay Honors College at Lehman College been accepted, but also the school had offered a full scholarship covering tuition, fees and books.

It was one more accomplishment in a very long list for the 21-year-old native of the Dominican Republic — and the one she wanted most.

A self-described high achiever — with a goal set to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court — she is majoring in three fields: political science, physics and philosophy. All three majors, she believes, reinforce her interest in law. “Political science and philosophy are obvious for their importance and physics is important because it has shown me about quantifying life,” she says.

Mateo has a long list of internships under her belt, including ones at NBC, where she put together a video guide for voters about candidates; the State Attorney General’s Office Consumer Fraud and Protection Bureau, where she mediated cases for consumers and worked on landlord-tenant issues; the chambers of New York State Supreme Court Judge Nelson Román, where she was a filing clerk; and the Washington office of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

Mateo was 5 when she and her family moved from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico and 6 when they emigrated to New York. What motivates her, more than just wanting to succeed, she says, is a strong desire to help others. Her desire to sit on the Supreme Court stems from her belief that this would offer her the best position to effect change.