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Personal Statement Examples Law

We hope our collection of UCAS Law personal statements provides inspiration for writing your own. Please do not plagiarise them in any way, or UCAS will penalise your application. Our Personal Statement Editing & Review Services are available if you feel you need a little extra help.

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The subject of law fascinates me extensively. I am intrigued by developments in the law and the way that it adapts to an ever-changing society. I feel I would be suited to a law degree as I am at my best when challenged, relish the opportunity of lateral thinking and enjoy evaluating the microcosm of human relations...

Academically, I have always been a very determined and studious individual, hence why I knew that a degree at University would be the definite next step. I have a broad interest in many subject areas yet feel drawn towards a law or business orientated degree...

Law Personal Statement

I first realised I wished to study law whilst reading a newspaper, when it suddenly occurred to me that every article was somehow related to the law. I remember thinking how amazing it was that such a diverse range of issues could be linked back to a single word...

Law Personal Statement

The injustices of the world bother me since childhood and I always wanted to be able to make a difference by helping people around me to find the right way to deal with maze of life. Law is in fact the bedrock of society which allows society to maintain the process of societal order and therefore it has a big impact on everyone's lives...

Law and Politics Personal Statement

Laws, in my opinion, are the cogs in the machinery of society; they are guidelines and deterrents that are fundamentally essential for humanity to function. Law is the combined public conscience that tells us right from wrong...

The degree course that I have chosen to follow is Law. I have a great passion forthe subject of Law and thoroughly enjoy the subject; learning about different aspects of Law, how the English Legal System operates and its' impact on society...

Law/International Relations Personal Statement

Through my insight into the UN's work I have learned that having declarations about Human Rights does not mean they are obeyed and automatically enforced. Law is not static, but develops all the time. It is part of everyday life, as in Berlin everyone is confronted with the issue of asylum seekers...

Law Personal Statement

I was travelling in the Philippines earlier this year when I witnessed a public outcry against corruption break out. An audit had revealed that monies intended for developmental purposes had been misappropriated by government officials...

Law Personal Statment

The legal system continues to absorb my attention to this very day. Something which bought forward this eagerness was how the legal system protects our social rights, civil liberties and sets an absence of coercion, yet how we, as a society continue to abuse and violate all of these...

As I stepped up to the platform to complete the cross-examination, a softball-sized knot took shape in my stomach. I prayed that my vocal cords would not fail me. Preparing to question the prosecution's key witness, I knew that my performance would determine whether my team left the courtroom with the smiles of victors or the furrowed brows of the defeated...

Law Personal Statement

When I started work as a legal assistant, the job was a means to an end. I did not intend to stay in law; however, with time my interest grew, as did my admiration. With experience in public and private practice, I saw first-hand the benefits legal decisions rendered, from protecting the public to awarding the injured...

The spectre of global terrorism is prevalent. Fundamental civil liberties are under threat, not only by those who seek to destroy our society, but also by those who have been charged with the task of safeguarding it...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study law at university is firmly rooted in my interest in world events and also with helping others. Law effects our everyday lives almost without us noticing. If we look at the news, there is always an aspect of law up for debate...

My work experience has been key to my choice to study Law. This in combination with my A-Levels, has allowed me to develop academic rigour with a strong spirit of enquiry and advocacy. I have worked with different types of legal professionals and dealt with important institutions during my gap year...

I consider myself to have the necessary qualities to enable me to be a successful lawyer. I am a confident speaker who can argue a case with efficiency and potency. I have participated successfully in the school debating society, covering an array of topics, including, Anselm's argument for the existence of God and whether Britain's future lies with America or Europe...

My interest in Law stems from a fascination with resolving conflict and the important contribution it makes to our society. I view Law as a career in which I will have the opportunity to improve the lives of others and be able to evaluate the nature of human relationships...

Law Personal Statement

Currently, I think of myself as a writer and a journalist. My next goal is to be an attorney. As a writer I like delving into abstract ideas and trying to wrap my mind around complexities that are neither black nor white...

History and Law Personal Statement

History and Law are critical to thedevelopment of society. The idea that the same mistakes will be repeated unless we learn to adapt and change, underlines the meaning of both subjects, As a civilisation we must find out where we came from and how we can and have changed...

Law Personal Statement

When the teacher said to stop debating, I understood that this is what I wanted to do. I never thought about doing something that would give me adrenalin even while I am working. As I spent my life in three different countries, I saw the enormous differences between Russian, Italian and English legal systems and I became more and more interested in finding out ways in which legislations could be improved or Parliamentary omissions by confronting countries and also see how the legislations were translated in Russian, Italian, Spanish and English language...

My aspiration to study Law comes from an appreciation I had of the subject stemming from my fathers' current and previous businesses. My involvement consisted of secretarial work which allowed me an insight in to how Law is imposed in a business environment...

Law Personal Statement

When I inform people of my intentions to study law at university, they tend to look at me with a look of shock, horror & dismay. I , however cannot comprehend why it is a “weird” for a unique & diverse Muslim male who happens to fashion green hair cannot have a profound interest in law...

My interest in Law stemmed from personal experiences in different foreign countries, especially with three years spent living in the Middle East. Living in foreign countries opened my eyes to different political and judicial systems within different countries of the world...

Business with Law Personal Statement

Exposure to my parents' restaurant businesses from an early age has given me an insight to the everyday running of the business. This has inspired me to follow in their footsteps and set up my own business one day...

Law Personal Statement

I read “The Colour of Justice” by Richard Norton Taylor which provided me with a better understanding of the complexities of the UK legal inquiry system. This inspired me to study Law. I was reassured by the outcome of the inquiry, although concerned at the flaws within the system given the length of time taken for the inquiry to take place...

The police in Sri Lanka torture, rape and kill. The justice system is nigh to breakdown, impounding the great societal depression. As long as I can remember my so far stable but monotonous life in Hong Kong has been broken up by visits to Sri Lanka...

English, being the most diverse language in the world in terms of vocabulary range and one of the most heavily influenced by other cultures, makes for fascinating study and usage. Drawing influences from Celtic, West Germanic dialects, Latin, Greek and French to name but a few make the English language riveting both in terms of use and etymology...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study Law arose at the beginning of my AS level course in Sociology. This was the point that I realised the complexity of society in today's era, and that Law affected everything within this society from abortion, crime and even the structure of society itself...

Law & Politics Personal Statement

I am conscientious team player with the ability to inspire my co-workers to greater productivity and cooperation. I enjoy learning, and am always able to taking on few challenges. My track record in education speaks itself...

Law and Criminology/Sociology Personal Statement

From a young age, I have been fascinated by law and was thrilled at the possibility of studying it at A-Level. In August 2007, I was able to spend two weeks working at Neves Solicitors in Luton. Most of my time was spent in the Conveyancing department, where Andrew Orriss, a partner in the firm, taught me how to draw up commercial leases and business contracts, and about buying, selling and renting residential properties...

My desire to read Law stems from the fascination I have with its ability to evolve alongside society. However, my interest was initially sparked by reading the American Novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee...

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Years of developing my intellectual capacity for my academic interests, wanting to hold privilege jobs and leadership positions in the future, I have a sense of purpose and unwavering dedication in doing the most with the opportunities available...

Law Personal Statement

Throughout my school courier I have constantly harboured the ambition to study a course at university that was completely new to me and like nothing I had done before, this gave ammunition to looking into a degree in Law, after reading around the subject I discovered that the course was perfect for me, especially with opportunities to combine other topics such as communications within my university courier...

It is always challenging, attempting to remain impartial and attentive to detail in a murder trial over a relative. My ability to do so was tested greatly during the trial over the killing of my cousin, Christopher Alaneme...

I am a jingoist. India, the land of diversity is truly magnificent; it is the heartland for more than a billion people and it is here in this land, which was amalgamated by Gandhi that I have found love for the subject of law...

Criminal Law Personal Statement

Advanced Higher Modern Studies in my final year at secondary school. Over the duration of the course I became deeply interested in the way crime and disorder influence the society we live in. In particular, the ways in which the upbringing of young people so greatly influences their future prospects...

Great figures like Ghandi and Martin Luther King caused massive changes and few would deny their impact on the world in which we now live. Sometimes, however, change and making a difference comes in smaller, less distinct steps...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study law stems back as far as primary school. It was at a very young age that I discovered that I wanted to become a lawyer and I have never wavered from this decision. Law is an area which I have always been fascinated by, mainly because of the vast array of topics covered and the massive implications law has upon our everyday lives...

Law Personal Statement

It was undoubtedly a courtship. As a child, Law caught my eye, shimmering glamorously in dramas and newspapers, piquing my interest. Lawyers outfoxed their opponents in dazzling displays of ingenuity, showcasing astute and discerning methods of legal enquiry...

Law Personal Statement

Studying law has always been my dream right from childhood. This dream was ignited by my aunt who became a judge while I was in Nigeria. My aunt's role in the judiciary has reinforced my enthusiasm for the legal profession as I had the chance attend court with her to watch some of her sessions...

To start with I shall point out that I have always been interested in Business and Legal studies. Even during my teenage years, I have seen myself as a person who is willing to prosper in the knowledge of modern Business and Legal studies...

In today's climate, an understanding of law is critical. The question of Scotland's independence and its legal repercussions; the European Treaty's effect on British law; the legitimacy of the war on terror and its effect on civil rights...

Growing up in a developing African country of Malawi, human rights was not something i had heard of, especially for the poor and the underprivileged. I often saw and heard of injustices being inflicted upon the poor and the underprivileged, yet no one seemed to do anything about it...

Law, for me, is a necessity to organise society and to maintain order. I view Law as a career in which I will have the opportunity to improve the lives of others and be able to evaluate the nature of human relationships...

Law Personal Statement

'Law'- this is a word that people in society makes use of everyday but do they know the actual meaning? I guess if they do then everyone would be as enthusiastic as I am about the legal profession. Law is a policy that regulates the attitudes and behaviours of individuals in a society; it is something that affects almost everything we do, right from just buying a bar of chocolate to committing an offence such as murder or GBH...

My desire to study Law developed initially from my genuine interest in the justice system. In recent years I have taken an interest in various cases of miscarriage of justice and property rights and have followed these cases right through to their judgements, trying to draw my own conclusions...

“I want to be a lawyer, I want to be a lawyer!”, is the phrase mostly heard from my child and adolescent self every time the age old question, “what are you going to be when you grow up?” was asked...

Eleven years later, I still remember the exact date. It was October 15, 1987 when I was asked to join Project Challenge, the honors program at Harris Hill Elementary School. I was in third grade at that time...

My study of law has enhanced my desires to work within the courts, and to pursue a career in commercial law. I have been involved in many extra curricular activities concerning law. I attended an LNAT workshop hosted by Durham University as well as law lectures such as that given by experienced lawyer Lynda Hall on fox hunting...

The 42 Day Detention, the National DNA database, the Lisbon Treaty, the Embryology Bill. Law surrounds us. It has evolved from the fundamental needs of society for structure and justice and it is part of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not...

Law and its complexities in being both precise yet open to interpretation; impartial yet sensitive to society's ever changing morals and philosophy has been of great curiosity to me. It is both an Art and Science...

Law is the foundation of every society. Professions in law are often depicted as glamourous and sometimes wrongly assumed to be simply fighting opponents in a court-room. It is hard work and, at the beginning, not well paid...

I decided to study Law some months ago when I visited Worcester Crown Court. A parent was alleged to have neglected his child. As I analysed the circuit judge's verdict, it seemed to me that to exercise discretion, and back up facts with Legal Precedent, using a solid knowledge base, shows a great intellect...

Law Personal Statement

Without laws then the low-life that was once a neighbour would have got away with murder seemingly innocent as the day he was brought to life. Without laws then the drunk that hospitalised my best friend would still be legal to possibly go one step further and see if going 5 miles faster would impress his so called friends or, cause an entire family a life time of sorrow...

Economics, Social Policy & Law Personal Statement

In today's competitive world, qualifications are of utmost importance. While that is indeed a factor that spurs me to take up higher education, the determining factor is my interest in the subjects. Admittedly, the only subject that I have had contact with is economics, but the fields of law and social policy intrigue me as well...

The world around us would be nothing like it is today if we did not have laws keeping society in line. My fascination with law has stemmed from reading of the Times law section every Tuesday helping me to gain crucial knowledge of the subject of law, and studying the subject at sixth form which has further enhanced my passion for the subject...

Law Personal Statement

I have always enjoyed the more qualitative and essay based subjects, where one is required to formulate one's own opinions and articulate thoughts. My A-level subjects have provided the ideal platform for me to advance both my analytical and investigative skills...

I consider myself an enthusiastic, hard working student who will do everything possible to achieve the best set of results possible. I have a very strong work ethic and get on well with teachers and my fellow pupils...

Criminology Personal Statement

Thinking about humanity nowadays and people's preoccupations made me realize the huge impact that crimes and criminal justice have on their decisions and the way they receive and react at the details and information about a crime...

I am a determined academic individual, leading me to believe that a degree course at university should definitely be in my life plans. I have always achieved high grades and I am confident that I can continue this success at university...

The decision to study Law lies deeper than a mere career choice, it has stemmed from my great belief that every individual in society deserves justice, and it is my genuine desire to help those individuals achieve it...

Law Personal Statement

Law. It affects everyone, regardless of race, age, size, or favourite football team. It isn't prejudiced; it doesn't expect you to break any rules. It's international; everywhere has laws. Law, in theory, is the essence of fairness, which is why it so interests me in a world that many deem unfair...

I have always been fascinated by the way police deal with stressful and demanding situations and find that when I always see them in the street in their uniform I want to be looked upon as an integral part of a community...

I developed interest in the field of law while doing my graduation in commerce. We had Business Law in B.Com . I found it so logical that after my Bachelor in Commerce.I could not think of anything but law...

Law Personal Statement

I've always been captivated by law and politics, from the time when I learnt of Rajiv Gandhi revolutionising the face of Indian government to John F Kennedy creating the peace corps to help underdeveloped nations...

To me the written word has always been the most effective medium of communication. It has acted as a reliable canvas for the great writers to express their ideas to me, no matter how fantastical, detailed or controversial, from Bronte's ethereal, vivid descriptions of the Yorkshire Moors during twilight to the terrifying realism of Orwell's vision of a totalitarian future in Nineteen Eighty Four...

Injustices exist everywhere. Current affairs daily reveal the devastating conflicts which have consumed certain peoples, but one does not need to scour the world to find these issues. I myself have been witness to countless cruelties on a more personal level, and together these experiences have served to strengthen my desire to work for the institution which brings about equity to all in our country...

Law Personal Statement

The legal system lays the bedrock of moral code for our society. Law influences every aspect of civilization, and I've become thoroughly enthralled and fascinated with the legal organisation and law system...

It often occurs to me how needs for rules and regulations are determined and fulfilled in today's ever-changing and emerging world? Take the example of internet, what copyright laws are there? How online dealings are regulated? What authority is there to manage all? Etc...

I dedicated my fist two years of high-school to studying mathematics and computer programming, in order to familiarize myself with progressive logical constructions and to gain a new type of awareness, one that improved my view towards work in general...

Law Personal Statement

I have wanted to study law from a young age largely because my grandfather is a well known judge in Pakistan. I have seen a lot of paperwork that he handles as a judge. While I was in Pakistan a few years back I was given the opportunity to sit in a court room and observe the law in action...

Law Personal Statement

My father is a prominent Islamic Law Professor, yet, I didn't receive his blessing to study law, according to him, I was destined for "greater things" in life. I never understood what he meant at first, so began my excruciating journey of discovering myself, I almost ended up studying medicine, but I have always find that, at least from my opinion, there exists an abstract reality which is neither right or wrong; a "grey" area that is never meant to be rigidly conformed...

Law Personal Statement

Law and justice are the ever-increasing sense of importance and self-respect of the individual. True, there are different conceptions of the idea of what is fair, but the concepts of law and justice are one of the same (Solomon 1995: “A Passion for Justice” pg...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study Law is firmly rooted in my enjoyment of being involved in ongoing issues, as I feel that the Law is the bedrock of a nation. I believe the study of Law, and an eventual vocation in the legal system would be ideal for me, primarily due to my analytical personality and ability to accurately separate congruous information from the irrelevant...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study Law developed initially from my genuine interest in the justice system. In recent years I have taken an interest in various cases of miscarriage of justice and property rights and have followed these cases right through to their judgements, trying to draw my own conclusions...

I have always known that my career path would be related to humanities. Out of the subjects I studied at school, Romanian literature, History and foreign languages have particularly appealed to me. However, I chose to study sciences too, aware of their contribution to the development of my intellectual abilities...

What really intrigues me about Law is the unflinchingly honest portrayal of society it provides. As Helena Kennedy states in ‘Just Law’, it is the ‘bedrock of a nation’, always changing to support and reflect society’s needs...

Law & Business Personal Statement (International Student)

From an early age, Law has always been number one priority in my vision of the future. Probably because of my father's profession (he is Head of the Regional Criminal Police), I have always been intrigued by Criminology and the idea of analyzing and solving tangled cases...

Law Personal Statement

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My father had always told me my career destined in the profession of Law; I had of course been ignorant to this. Thinking the only reason he had told me so was to carry the family tradition, as he was one himself...

Through commonly accepted law, international organizations and sovereign nations establish and enforce vital laws and moral codes of conduct such as those relating to human and civil rights. Yet, despite many ratified agreements relating to principles that are universally accepted throughout the world, human and civil rights remain threatened in industrialized nations as well as third world countries...

Mature Student Law Personal Statement

I long recall having been amazed as to how law permeates every aspect of our lives. My career thus far has taken me to the City of London, as far away as New Zealand, and then back to Reading again and has served to cultivate my interest in law and made me yearn to study this fascinating subject at undergraduate level, and formally qualify as a solicitor, within criminal advocacy...

At the beginning it was infatuation, I was taken by the smart skirts the ladies wore and equally the men in their suits. But as I took more interest in this group of people it was not only the smart attire, there thinking, arguments and presentation of their arguments were equally “smart” and persuasive and reflected certain logic, deep reflection and considerable research on an issue they were arguing for or against...

The major of law has been always intriguing me as one of the most practical, useful tools in our life due to its broad coverage, fast rate of evolving and fundamental importance, I had already made up my mind to pursue my passion in legal study that could fulfill my dream, enables me to contribute to make the world a better place...

Law Personal Statement

I believe Law is relevant to everyday life as we live within a legal framework which controls every aspect and important decisions of our life. Due to my curiosity regarding the framework and how it controls and plays an essential role in the changing nature of society and its people, inspired me to pursue this subject at higher education...

English & Law Personal Statement

I enjoy being intellectually stimulated and challenging traditional views which is evident from my choice of A Level subjects- History, English and RE. These subjects have always been my forte, receiving the H...

I cannot remember a person in my life who has had a more significant influence on me than my father. Everything I have achieved with regard to academics, sports, or life in general, I am indebted to him for...

LLB Law Personal Statement

Human beings can only live in comunity with others, resulting a society. Societies can function provided they are governed by principles, regulations and laws that the majority of the people agrees with...

Law Personal Statement

Having grown up in a country where it’s hard for a woman to achieve a degree in such a well-respected profession such as the Law, my parents, understanding my aspirations to study and expand my talents, gave me the opportunity to study in Switzerland...

Law Personal Statement

From my middle school years I've looked to become involved with moral reasoning, especially regarding what is happening in our world today, in the news, newspapers, magazines. Stories such as the Guantanamo Bay prisoners make me question the injustice within today's society...

Law & German Personal Statement

I have always been fascinated by the structures of societies and how their laws are built. Due to the constant changes of the world, the ongoing conflicts, debates, and controversies, these laws are constantly evolving...

Law Personal Statement

I have always worked to reach beyond the highest standards I believe myself capable of across a challenging range of subjects. Because of this, I was unsure when first choosing a degree and it was not until I had begun studying Law that I realised my passion for it as it stretches me intellectually and also causes me to be analytical about everything around me and of myself...

LLB Personal Statement

Law has always been a subject which has fascinated me and since completing my degree in BA (HONS) Law and Management i have realised that i would like to progress my knowledge in this area and fulfil my ambition in becoming a fully qualified lawyer in the up and coming future...

Law Personal Statement

Law is ever changing, whether parliament is passing new legislation, existing legislation is being rewritten or the courts are interpreting laws in different ways. In the case of Anthony Bland the distinguishing of earlier precedents was vital...

Law and French Personal Statement

Law has always been a subject that has interested and appealed to me as an area of study. I believe that justice is the inherent foundation of our civilisation and find the application of it both a fascinating and vital field of learning, because of the central role it plays in the functioning of society and the diversity of areas it influences...

Law Personal Statement

I want to study and research Law at University because I thoroughly enjoy the subject and I really want to learn more. I have studied Law at A level for the last 18 months; it has challenged me with its complexity but I have found it stimulating and fascinating...

History and Law Personal Statement

Louis de Bernières writes in ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin` that history is fascinating `because everything [is] connected to everything else in the most elaborate, devious and elegant ways`. Perhaps this explains the importance of history in understanding the modern world; it governs the way in which we view society, dictates our actions and, perhaps most importantly, provides guidance to those who establish law...

Law Personal Statement (International Student)

I decided to read law in England because the country has one of the most historic and well developed educational systems in Europe. I chose courses at Universities with a great tradition, a tradition which can only be offered by English Universities...

I once attended a lecture by the late Barrister Gani Fawehimmi. He was a prominent human rights lawyer in my home country Nigeria. He spoke passionately about legal systems and human rights. I was particularly impressed by a man who helped the underprivileged and the cheated by representing them without asking for payment...

In terms of academic study, I have always been passionate about two subjects, law and Japanese language/culture. For the past year I have been pursuing the latter as an English teacher in Japan. At first, my life was quite difficult; however, as my Japanese improved, so did my comfort...

Law Personal Statement

As a hardworking, enthusiastic and responsible individual I am extremely fascinated and genuinely committed in working in the legal profession. My desire to study law stems from a growing fascination with world events...

Law Personal Statement

I have chosen a Law degree because it will enable me to study Criminal and Human Rights Law in more depth. This course has a practical and theoretical basis, which I find fascinating, and will expand my knowledge; it will also help me understand legal aspects of law and their impact on society...

Law Personal Statement

Throughout my school days, I was known by my peers as opinionated, confident, a good talker and being highly persuasive. My teachers knew me for my flair in Languages, Literature and Humanities, given my frequent participation and achievements in writing competitions...

Eva Maryskova: Czech native seizing the opportunity to pursue her dreams

Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic
Undergraduate Institution: Boston University
Major: Economics and English

Q&A with Eva

“The experience of growing up surrounded by people whose lives and dreams were disrupted by the strict communist regime fills me with a great desire to take full advantage of the opportunities available to me.”

November 1989 saw the restoration of democracy in Czechoslovakia. Without knowing it at the time, my life would be forever changed by this moment in my country’s history. Not only did the Velvet Revolution expand the horizon of my opportunities beyond anything my parents and their whole generation could have ever imagined, but it also ultimately sparked my interest in law. It highlighted the importance of understanding how nations and their legislation can affect the lives of citizens and how international regulations influence transnational relations. From the example of my home country, which is still working on developing its young social and political framework, I can see how law is a crucial determinant in the formation of an environment under which business and culture can thrive. I see great purpose and personal fulfillment in pursuing a discipline which has the potential to positively affect social development.

The experience of growing up surrounded by people whose lives and dreams were disrupted by the strict communist regime fills me with a great desire to take full advantage of the opportunities available to me. I utilized the scholarship I received to attend an international school in Prague not only to study English, but also to learn as much as possible from my international classmates. This experience expanded my worldview and later prompted my decision to study abroad and travel. Continuously interacting with people from different cultures makes me an adaptive, confident, and effective communicator, and it helps me see any situation from various points of view. Being able to identify and evaluate possible options helps me find the right solutions to challenges and identify steps to fulfilling specific goals. It has also helped me find my own course to the study of law.

I transferred out of the undergraduate degree in law I was pursuing in the United Kingdom to gain the skills, and most importantly the experience, I felt I needed in order to reach a deeper understanding of law theory and its application. As an English major at Boston University I developed skills in writing, research, critical reading and analysis. My second major in economics provided a solid background into the business setting within which law firms operate and prompted my interest in business and finance law. Later on, internships and full-time work tested this knowledge in a corporate environment. It was important to learn to apply classroom skills creatively and within tight deadlines. For example, managing the creation and release of company press releases at my first job after graduation demanded particularly good organization and time management. I had to identify interesting points worthy of mention in international media, make sure I understood the scientific data I was writing about and schedule the release of articles on time, while coordinating requests from several company departments. This gave me a strong sense of responsibility, as my writing was the voice of the entire company. I believe that continuing to apply this same work ethic will help me manage the rigorous demands of law school.

Learning from experienced professionals at large international companies encourages me to take on increasingly challenging tasks. In my free time I manage the Czech branch of an international non-profit arts project related to theater. It gives students the opportunity to see theater performances for free, publish their reviews and articles on an international web portal, and receive guidance and feedback from experts and scholars in the field. I have now expanded the Prague team to include five reviewers, and I am always looking to involve more students in the project. I will continue to look for ways to provide learning opportunities and share knowledge with peers in order to contribute to the Boston University community.

The lessons I have received from my country’s recent history continue to provide me with strong motivation. I grew up listening to stories from the times of the occupation, and they were always about the limits and the restrictions that characterized the era. I am very thankful that this does not apply to me and that I can now take the next step to realizing my goal of becoming a lawyer. I will rely on my determination and the skills I have gained through education, work experience, and travel to help me through the challenges of law school. I believe that I have what it takes to be a valuable contribution to the Boston University Law School classroom and also the legal profession.

Eddie Moreno: Scientist with a passion for intellectual property law

Hometown: San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Undergraduate Institution: University of Puerto Rico
Major: Biology
Graduate Institution: University of Virginia
Graduate Degree: PhD Microbiology

Q&A with Eddie

“I was motivated by a desire to pursue a career that would allow me to broaden the range of scientific issues I worked on, rather than the narrow field in which I had specialized.”

I am very passionate about science and spent much of my academic life in research laboratories studying parasites that cause human disease. Recently, as a technical specialist at an intellectual property law firm, I discovered that I could successfully utilize the creative-thinking and analytical skills that I acquired as a scientist to help clients in the biotechnology sector protect their intellectual property. My experiences have solidified my commitment to law school, and I therefore write this statement to convince you of my resolve to merge my passions for science and law by becoming an attorney-scientist.

I was raised in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico by parents who emphasized the importance of obtaining the best education possible. I attended a public residential high school with a curriculum specializing in math and science, where I excelled at learning about a variety of scientific disciplines and developed my passion for science. At age fifteen, I was selected to begin working in a research laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, as a participant in a summer program directed to motivating students to pursue careers in scientific research. My work focused on isolating and characterizing proteins that could be used for the diagnosis of, and vaccination against, two parasitic diseases. This transformative experience propelled my decision to pursue a career in scientific research. After high school, I continued working on the same research project while earning my Bachelor of Science degree in biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. My undergraduate experience was enriched by my selection to participate in a scientific exchange program, sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, which funded my training in research laboratories at three distinguished research institutions: the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), Monash University (Australia), and the University of Salamanca (Spain). These global experiences not only helped cultivate my scientific skills, they also allowed me to gain a unique understanding of different cultures, peoples, and belief systems.

At the University of Virginia, I earned a doctoral degree in microbiology studying the molecular mechanisms regulating how the parasite Entamoeba histolytica causes disease. I presented my doctoral research at multiple national and international scientific conferences and the results of my work were published in two peer-reviewed scientific articles. As my doctoral studies were concluding and job prospects loomed, however, the realization hit that I was motivated by a desire to pursue a career that would allow me to broaden the range of scientific issues I worked on, rather than the narrow field in which I had specialized. I had been exposed to intellectual property law while taking a technology transfer course taught by a law professor in college, and conducted several informational interviews with attorneys practicing intellectual property law to decide if I should explore a career in this field.

Working as a technical specialist in the biotechnology/chemical practice group of an intellectual property law firm in Washington, DC, for the past year and a half has afforded me the opportunity to gradually transition from the lab bench to the law firm under the mentorship of several attorney-scientists. I have been rewarded by the opportunity to work on a broad variety of biotechnology fields including pharmaceuticals, biofuels, vaccines and nutraceuticals, and enjoyed the intellectual challenge of understanding the technical issues of each case, analyzing the legal and strategic implications of the advice we give our clients, and developing writing skills to produce work products that can be understood by non-technical audiences. My responsibilities as a technical specialist include prosecuting patents in the US and abroad, developing opinions for clients regarding the invalidity and/or non-infringement of patent claims, and performing freedom-to-operate analyses for clients seeking to release new or modified products.

My experiences as a technical specialist have convinced me that I am committed to becoming an attorney specializing in intellectual property law. I have the technical aptitude and determination to succeed as an attorney and now seek the necessary formal legal education to become an effective advocate and trusted advisor. I believe that my background, professional experiences, and maturity will allow me to contribute a unique perspective to the student body at the Boston University School of Law.

Jacquelyn Rex: Teach for America participant who learned to love home

Hometown: Edinburg, TX
Undergraduate Institution: Texas A&M University
Major: Communications

Q&A with Jackie

“Although my students may never know it, my time as their teacher has instilled in me a sense of urgency and purpose that fuels me to continue working for children and their families as long as I am able.”

When I applied for Teach for America in the winter of 2009, it was more for the opportunity to leave the Rio Grande Valley than to accomplish the movement’s real mission of bringing a quality education to low-income students. A predominantly Mexican area with most families living under the poverty line, the Valley represented, for me, a place where ignorance met apathy, a place where people got what they deserved, and above all else, a place I refused to spend any more time in. I applied for major cities around the nation, but Teach for America had different plans for me, and when notifications were sent out at the end of March, I was placed as an elementary special education teacher in the Rio Grande Valley. And in what I could only chalk up to be divine intervention, I was hired at the same elementary school that I had attended.

Two years and I will be done. I couldn’t shake that thought as I entered my classroom on the first day of school. Making a real difference seemed unlikely: my heart wasn’t into the work I was about to do. When the bell rang and I began picking up my students from their classes, life as I knew it ceased to exist.

That first day, I didn’t pick up a single child that wasn’t wearing dirty or ripped clothing. One was covered in bug bites. Another’s stomach growled as I walked the students through classroom rules and procedures. None smiled. I could not seem to wrap my mind around the fact that these students attended the same school that I so happily did not-so-many years before. By Thanksgiving, a brother and sister in my class scratched so hard at their wrists and fingers from poorly treated scabies that they’d return their assignments to me with small blood streaks staining the bottom. Stomachs still growled during my math lessons. But when a fifth-grade student told me she’d spent the night in a small bedroom closet, arms around her four younger siblings as her mother and father went at each other with broken bottles and angry fists, I could no longer stand it.

Something changed in me that day. I’m not quite sure if I finally grew up or realized the enormous responsibility my job had given me, but something changed. And for probably the first time in my life, I stopped thinking of only myself. Suddenly I was so ashamed of ever thinking negatively about being Mexican or growing up in the Valley—so embarrassed that I thought so little of the community that had given of their time to ensure that I would have all the opportunities in the world. It dawned on me that I was only able to have the strong opinions I did because countless individuals had made my success their mission. And it was time for me to do the same. It may have been pure chance that I ended up returning to the Valley where I was raised, but doing so gave me such an advantage over my Teach for America counterparts: Parents found me more trustworthy, my intentions and abilities as a teacher were rarely questioned, and my ability to speak Spanish comforted. My Valley roots made me an ally, and my children only benefited from this.

For the next three years, I poured my soul into my work and let my students have my heart. I organized community reading groups to get parents and neighbors involved in literacy. When parents began telling me that they wanted to help their children with math homework but didn’t understand the objectives, I requested my principal set up a family math night so that parents could come into my classroom and have me teach the concepts to them alongside their children. I watched as my community grew closer together and my students’ academic abilities blossomed. It didn’t matter if students had autism or Down Syndrome, learning disabilities or emotional disturbance. All my students were learning at a pace faster than expected. By the spring semester of my second year, I even dismissed two students from special education services entirely.

My time in the classroom has been a wonderful, challenging experience. I’ve seen children accomplish more than others thought possible; at times, certainly more than I thought possible. I’ve seen a real love of learning blossom in the children and the families I’ve served. These were my miracles—my proof that if you wanted something badly enough you could make it happen. My children made great gains. And I tried my hardest to do all the things I thought a great teacher needed to do. But at times, it still wasn’t enough. My children needed more. My classroom was a safe place for my students, but their time with me was limited. I could shelter them to my heart’s content during the day, but once that bell rang and I handed my children back to the outside world, all I could do was stand and watch as life’s circumstances tried and often did bring them down. That’s when I decided to apply for law school. I have enjoyed every moment in the classroom, but I want to help children and their families in ways I simply cannot as a teacher. I want to fight for them and their families in an effort to improve their lives as much as I possibly can. If I’ve learned anything from my time in the classroom, it is that even the smallest of changes in circumstance can make for the biggest changes in one’s quality of life.

This past year was my third working with students from my own community. And although my students may never know it, my time as their teacher has instilled in me a sense of urgency and purpose that fuels me to continue working for children and their families as long as I am able. Working as a special education teacher in my own community has taught me humility and respect. It has taught me that, for many children, the need is great, the time is short, and I have an obligation to do whatever I can to help. I now believe that those with special talents, extraordinary abilities, or just a moment of free time have a responsibility to help those around them in every way possible. I have learned that in helping others achieve even the smallest of victories, I have not only made new opportunities possible for them but also contributed to the content of my own character. A life of service is a noble one that I hope to achieve. A life where I can inspire as I have been inspired and offer hope when hope seems most unlikely.

I laugh a little now when I think about how a group of disabled children helped me find my home again and gave me a place in the world. They showed me that being from the Valley is something to cheer about. I am now so proud to be a Mexican-American woman with a rich culture and language who had the opportunity to learn from and be embraced by the community I spent a lifetime criticizing. I am so honored and humbled to have been a special education teacher for my little ones, showing them that education, opportunities, and justice are for everyone, regardless of life’s circumstances and arrogant opinions. As a law student, you will find few more passionate than I; as an attorney, few who work harder and demand greater of themselves. For three years, my students and their families have allowed me to work for them, trusting my judgment and welcoming my help. But I can do more. I am ready to do more.

Kate Lebeaux: Immigrant advocate inspired by her clients to do more

Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
Undergraduate Institution: Bowdoin College
Major: Spanish

Q&A with Kate

“[My clients] have shown me how great an asset the immigrant community is to our country and left me convinced that I will find immigrant advocacy extremely rewarding.”

She sat opposite me at my desk to fill out a few forms. Fumbling her hands and laughing uncomfortably, it was obvious that she was nervous. Sandra was eighteen and her knowledge of English was limited to “yes” and “hello.” While translating the initial meeting between Sandra and her attorney, I learned of her reasons for leaving El Salvador. She had been in an abusive relationship, and though she wasn’t ready to go into detail just yet, it was clear from the conversation that her boyfriend had terrorized her and that the El Salvadoran police were of no help. Afraid for her life, Sandra left for the US to join her sister in Massachusetts. She had been in our country for all of eight weeks, five of which she spent in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Texas. Eventually Sandra was given a credible fear interview. The interviewer believed that she had a real fear of returning to El Salvador, and Sandra was released from detention with an Immigration Court hearing notice in her hand. She had just retained our office to present her asylum case to the Immigration Judge.

I tried to imagine myself in Sandra’s shoes. She hadn’t finished high school, was in a completely new environment, and had almost no understanding of how things worked in the US. Even the harsh New England winter must have seemed unnatural to her. Having lived abroad for a couple of years, I could relate on some level; however, the circumstances of my stay overseas were completely different. I went to Spain after graduating from college to work in an elementary school, improve my Spanish skills, and see a bit of the world. Despite the different reasons for my move abroad, I do remember feeling completely overwhelmed by what would have been mindless tasks in a familiar environment—from opening a bank account to paying utility bills, nothing was intuitive anymore. I had to ask hundreds of questions and usually make a few attempts before actually accomplishing my goal. Frustrating though it was, I didn’t have so much riding on each of these endeavors. If I didn’t have all the necessary paperwork to open a bank account one day, I could just try again the next day. Sandra won’t be afforded the same flexibility in her immigration process, where so much depends on the ability to abide by inflexible deadlines and procedures. Without someone to guide her through the process, ensuring that all requirements are met and presenting her case as persuasively as possible, Sandra will have little chance of achieving legal status in the United States. Her case will likely take years to complete, but overlooking any details along the way could render Sandra ineligible to receive immigration benefits.

Before starting at my current position at Joyce & Associates, an immigration law firm in Boston, I had long considered a career in law. Growing up, I was engaged by family and school debates about public policy and government. In college, I found my constitutional law courses challenging and exciting. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until I began working with clients like Sandra that I became convinced that a career in law is the right choice for me. Playing my part as a legal assistant in various immigration cases, I have been able to witness how a career in immigration advocacy is both intellectually stimulating and personally fulfilling. I have seen the importance of well-articulated arguments and even creativity in arguing a client’s eligibility for an immigration benefit. I have learned that I excel in critical thinking and in examining detail, as I continually consider the consistency and possible implications of any documents that clients provide in support of their application. But most importantly, I have realized how deserving many of these immigrants are. Many of the clients I work with are among the most hardworking and patriotic people I have encountered. They have shown me how great an asset the immigrant community is to our country and left me convinced that I will find immigrant advocacy extremely rewarding.

I am equally confident that I would thrive as a student at Boston University, where I would be sure to take full advantage of the many opportunities available. The school’s Asylum and Human Rights Clinic and Immigration Detention Clinic would offer me invaluable experiences in various immigration settings. Likewise, by participating in the pro bono program’s Immigration/Asylum service trip in Texas, I could develop a better understanding of the challenges immigrants face upon crossing the Mexican border. Given my experiences in an immigration firm, I know that I would have much to offer while participating in these programs, but even more to learn. And while I find BU’s immigration programs to be especially appealing, I am equally drawn to the Boston University experience as a whole. The school’s diverse curriculum and highly-renowned academic programs would constantly challenge me and allow me to grow in ways I can’t yet imagine. I hope to have the opportunity to face those challenges, and to contribute my own experiences and drive to the Boston University community.

Kathryn Gevitz: Lifelong health care enthusiast determined to enact reform

Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois
Undergraduate Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Health and Sciences

Q&A with Kathryn

“Based on my experiences growing up, at the university, and now at work, I have come to the conclusion that a career in law is the single most effective way for me to help enact positive change and transform our fragmented health care delivery system.”

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a career in health care (yes—I know I am applying to law school—please bear with me). However, my focus has changed as I have had the opportunity to take a variety of classes and gain work experience.

My parents were unwittingly responsible for my initial interest in health. They both work in the field, albeit indirectly, so I was immersed in a world full of doctors, nurses, and hospitals at a young age.

Years ago, when my father—a medical historian and ethicist—was invited to speak at a conference or university, my mother and I would go along for the ride. At the time, I had no interest in listening to the actual content of his talks. I viewed these trips more as an opportunity to miss school and to make fun of my father’s wild hand gestures—I even conceived the Kung Fu GevitzTM action doll, which karate-chopped a podium at the push of a button. I earnestly swore to his bemused colleagues that I would never grow up to be like him, but despite my greatest efforts (and perhaps as a result of listening to one too many of his speeches), I slowly found myself sharing many of his academic interests.

My mother’s domain—the hospital where she worked as a practice manager of a cardiac surgery office—was a much more fascinating playground growing up. Despite being sick during most of my visits, I preferred spending time at the hospital to attending any conference. Between napping on her floor and drawing pictures for everyone in the office, I would watch live feed of the surgeons operating on an exposed heart or take trips to the morgue to view hearts with congenital abnormalities.

Dismissing my father’s profession and familiar only with the glamorous side of medicine, I began college with one career in mind: physician. I dreamed of discovering the cure for AIDS, developing new treatments for cancer, and ridding the world of disease. However, early in my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania, I found that the classes that piqued my interest and excited me the most were not biology lab or chemistry, but rather the classes I took through my major in health and societies; classes like American Health Policy, Biomedical Ethics, and Health Law. These courses opened my eyes to the realm of health care beyond patient diagnosis and treatment. For the first time, I became acutely aware of the millions of Americans who struggle to access or pay for basic health services. I was also introduced to the tremendous influence of law and policy in everyday medical issues. The breadth of topics in my health law class, as well as the law’s presence in my other courses, astounded me. Whether we were talking about patient consent in my bioethics class or insurance markets in Medical Economics, our discussion always circled back to the role of the law. What impressed me most, however, was the legal system’s potential to effect broad social change. Inspired, I started thinking that a career in health law would be the best way to impact not only my clients, but also my community, and even my country.

Gaining firsthand insight into real life health issues has only reaffirmed this belief. While I do not work directly with the underserved, I manage aggregate data that testifies just as strongly to the need for policy reform. Every week at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, I pull data from the Communicable Disease Management System—a database of collected patient information—to generate a report summarizing weekly and monthly trends in disease incidence. Week after week, the same social and behavioral risk factors are associated with the same diseases. For example, Asians comprise the majority of hepatitis B reports, older individuals with smoking histories are most at risk for Legionnaires’ disease, and infants and the elderly are most susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases such as H. influenzae. The targeted health education and vaccination efforts we provide are necessary, but clearly not sufficient, to reduce disease incidence in these groups.

Examining emergency department chief complaint data reveals another set of problematic trends. Performing syndromic surveillance, I regularly see records of people who come to the emergency department with chronic conditions that they have had for years, but that have remained untreated because they cannot afford or access regular care. I also see how many individuals repeatedly misuse the emergency department as a resource. Rather than visiting a general practitioner, many poor and uninsured individuals come to the emergency department for primary care issues—colds, hangnails, back aches—because they cannot be denied treatment based on ability to pay. These are problems that cannot be fixed without a fundamental overhaul of our health care system.

Earning a law degree from Boston University with a specialty in health care law will give me the analytical tools to construct public policy that can address these issues and more. I would have the capacity to develop legislation and policies to decrease the incidence of Legionnaires’ disease (as well as lung cancer and heart disease) or advise on the legality of mandated vaccination. Alternatively, I could develop as well as defend policy and regulations that reduce emergency department misuse and promote greater access to more affordable and higher quality health care services. Based on my experiences growing up, at the university, and now at work, I have come to the conclusion that a career in law is the single most effective way for me to help enact positive change and transform our fragmented health care delivery system.

Becoming a Lawyer

Through their personal statements, current students share their greatest influences, professional aspirations, and why they applied to BU Law

Passionate students from across the globe choose BU Law for many different reasons. The personal statement portion of our application allows them opportunity to discuss significant experiences that have inspired them to become lawyers. Learn why these student—through influences like the earthquake in Haiti, innovation in the biotechnology sector, and a motel staircase—have joined the 1L class. Scroll down for full student listing.

Chloe Brighton: Human rights advocate living 'outside the fence'

Hometown: Dublin, NH
Undergraduate Institution: Columbia University
Major: Political Science
Graduate Institution: London School of Economics
Graduate Degree: MSc in Human Rights

Q&A with Chloe

“It is my goal to enhance and help protect the right of all humans to fair and equal treatment; to the access to knowledge through the nuance of embracing simple curiosities, and to have, as I did in that little school on my farm, the opportunity to follow those curiosities through understanding and study; to live outside the fence.”

“Your horse is loose!”

“Yes, thank you. He lives outside the fence.”

This is an exchange I heard often, one that took place between a visitor or passer-by and my mother about our horse, who wandered freely down the drive of the progressive school on our small farm in New Hampshire. Blackie, like the bull and most of the chickens, goats, ducks, and horses that have shared the wooded patches with nearly seventy children and their teachers each year, was adopted by our little school community. He lived outside the fence because it fit who he was. The right of people and animals, irrespective of status, to have the freedom to become who they are, to follow curiosities responsibly and study them deeply, is the core philosophy of this school that subtly yet enduringly formed and challenged me. Folding differing styles of learning into its world, this school was the backdrop to my home, shared with any child or animal needing its shelter for one or many nights. When I return there, I return to the cleaning of hens’ nesting boxes and the mucking of the barn, to working with students on their homework and joining their fun, and to playing my banjola and singing the songs I began composing on the grass as a little girl. My awareness of the workings of human rights was born in this small place. We all lived outside the fence.

Tulgeywood is another community where I became aware of the everyday applications of human rights. Started by Gillian Butchman, a woman whose commitment to personal liberty is manifest in her unique camps for the mentally and physically disabled, Tulgeywood is a place where multi-age campers and volunteer counselors eat, sleep, play, work, talk, sing, and compete athletically together. There is no perfect way of taking a person bound to a wheelchair swimming, horseback riding, or boating, but when Lesley Ellen, my forty-two-year-old friend, who suffered a stroke at the age of two, wanted to go swimming, we worked together to do it; I would ask her with which arm she preferred to be held and how best to move her legs, yet I held her accountable for telling me. Bobbing atop the rolling Nantucket waves, along with all the other happy beach-goers, was our shared triumph and Lesley Ellen’s rightful joy. As a Human Rights Monitor of UK compliance of the CRPD, which is part of a civil society report for the UN on UK implementation, my drive to study international human rights law and my understanding of the impact such laws have on the daily enjoyment of life by people with disabilities, people like my friend, Lesley Ellen, became deeper.

Through my work this year at Reprieve UK, the legal action charity founded by human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, I have again seen the power of humanitarian assistance to a marginalized population; specifically, the effective legal representation of impoverished people under international human rights law with applications to domestic state practices, such as the death penalty. At Reprieve, I have embraced the European Union’s ban of the death penalty and the transatlantic support of British lawyers who advocate taking this ban worldwide, with particular focus on the United States. I have learned that the lives of the majority of the prisoners on death row have been impacted by extreme poverty, familial instability, and, too often, mental illness; I’ve learned, as well, about the stigma attached to their circumstances. “So, what do you do, Chloe?” asks one of my rowing teammates while we make one of our early morning journeys to the East London rowing course. Her quick and polite reaction to my account of my work has become one I’ve grown to expect: “Oh, that must be, uh, so interesting. So, …” Such awkwardness is understandable, given that more likely than not our death row client will be executed, and it is a common belief that those convicted of committing the most horrific crimes deserve little support, let alone the benefit of human rights advocates, but that is exactly why I am committed to pursuing a law degree with a particular focus on international human rights law; each person has rights.

As a prospective advocate for those whose civil liberties have been marginalized, it is my goal to enhance and help protect the right of all humans to fair and equal treatment; to the access to knowledge through the nuance of embracing simple curiosities, and to have, as I did in that little school on my farm, the opportunity to follow those curiosities through understanding and study; to live outside the fence. It is by following my own curiosities that I earned my MSc in Human Rights degree at the London School of Economics, and it is there that I came to understand the philosophical and legal underpinnings of organizations like Tulgeywood and Reprieve. I have always wanted to be a lawyer, partly because both of my beloved grandfathers were, and my father is, as well, but my own life’s path is taking me to a focus on the discipline of human rights. I have come to believe that the future development of this body of law has the greatest potential to improve the quality of all aspects of human life. It is for these reasons that I am choosing law as the outlet for my commitment to human rights and Boston University, with its academic strength and reputation, as the educational vehicle to follow through on this commitment.

Oh, and Blackie? He is buried in our meadow, just inside the far corner of the fence.

Jean-Phillip Brignol: Teacher inspired to give back in earthquake aftermath

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Institution: Yale University
Major: Political Science

Q&A with Jean-Phillip

“Being a voice for those who are voiceless is an axiom that I carry with me as I think about my role as a teacher and citizen.”

“Earthquake in Haiti.” That is what the text from my aunt read. I went to dinner thinking this has happened before, not too big of a deal, and then after went to the dorm and turned on the TV. It was arresting. I sat in front of CNN transfixed for 3 hours as if it was 10 minutes. I could not believe that just 5 days before I was with my grandparents at their house in Delmas, Haiti with my mom, dad, and sister.

I am Haitian-American. Even though I was born in Chicago and lived in its suburbs most of my life, Haiti is a place I am deeply connected to through culture and family. The place where I lived when I was young and gave me the mix of languages, which got me sideways glances on the first day of 1st grade in the US when I introduced myself in French with, “Bonjour, je m’appelle Jean-Phillip.” It set me apart in my life but also made me a part of something. This relationship and the feeling of straddling different spaces would lead me to my interest in Race and Ethnicity and its impact on how people interacted in political and social worlds, especially immigrant populations. The pride I feel at the history of the first independent Black nation is immense, as it is for many Haitians, but so is the frustration with the failure to meet its true potential. To see it in such chaos and disaster tore at me and brought me closer to the Haitian reality. The reality of a small beautiful country filled with strong people who live with stark inequality. On my visits, my feelings of undeserved privilege have always been reinforced.

In the days after the earthquake my thoughts were of my grandparents who my family had not been able to contact. Seeing the destruction of a market nearby my grandparents’ house crushed our hopes. I sat and watched news stories helpless. I did not know what I could do to help. While in my dazed state, my friend Arlene called me to ask if we could reboot our Haitian student group. She asked and I assumed the role of President of the Haitian Student Organization and began working closely with the Yale administration to plan a concert fundraiser to support Haiti immediately. We also knew that keeping attention on Haiti, even a few weeks after, would be essential to helping Haiti in the long run. We spearheaded a committee to work on a Haitian awareness week, which brought the Haitian Prime Minister and aid workers as well as continued fundraising. My parents left to go back to their original home to help those who they could and see our family. They knew they would hear stories of many lost friends. Our story was lucky in comparison. My grandparents were shaken but alive. In this whole ordeal one moment stuck out to me. My grandmother on my mom’s side found one of her many cell phones to call us and let us know she was okay a few days after the earthquake and then against the wishes of my mom found a way to deliver a phone to my dad’s mom, who was visiting her old home for a month, so that he could speak to his family. It was an amazing moment of selfless giving. She knew my dad needed that conversation.

I drew strength from this and other moments as I balanced being a counselor, being a student, and being on our relief advisory committee. During one of the committee meetings with an administrator and graduate students from the Yale Forestry school there was a remarkable incident when the well-intentioned idea of a hunger dinner was raised and the idea of having the dining area decorated as a refugee camp was discussed. All at once I felt that these people who I was working with to help Haiti were trying to get my approval for something that would be another disaster. Asking me to support a hunger dinner that would portray all of Haiti as a refugee camp was ridiculous to me. I knew I had to speak up; I dismissed the idea of the refugee camp immediately. Even though I was not experiencing the trauma directly, I attempted to fathom the feelings felt and channeled them, along with my own, to be a fervent defender of the dignity of the Haitian people.

When I graduated in May that same grandmother who had found that cell phone was there to see me graduate as if nothing had happened, maybe slightly skinnier, with the rest of my family alongside her. Even though I told my parents I would have no problems driving alone from Yale to our home in Chicago, my grandmother scoffed and said of course she was going with me. As a teacher now, I draw from that example. Giving of myself in small ways so that others can stand on me and being an advocate for my Dominican immigrant students has been incredible. Teaching them how to advocate for themselves and navigate within a system that often misunderstands and disadvantages them has lead me beyond just being their “No Excuses” science teacher. I have had so many opportunities and support in my life and giving back seems like the only reasonable option. Being a voice for those who are voiceless is an axiom that I carry with me as I think about my role as a teacher and citizen. I am ready now to acquire the additional skills and knowledge necessary to support and provide access for those people.

Joshua Butera: Campaign fundraiser with a future in policy

Hometown: Wellington, Florida
Undergraduate Institution: Brown University
Major: Political Science

Q&A with Josh

“After three years of campaigning, I am ready to be part of governing. Politics is my passion, but I want to see the promises made on a campaign through to completion.”

When I landed my first job on a US Senate campaign, I had volunteered and interned on various political campaigns and was eager to work on messaging and communications. My days, however, were not spent writing speeches or forming strategy as I had hoped but instead repeating mundane tasks and aggressively seeking out donors. I found myself calling strangers for hours each day, soliciting them for campaign contributions. Naturally an introvert, calling strangers made me uncomfortable, asking them for money pushed me well out of my comfort zone. There were no breaks to look forward to, either: I spent my nights researching potential donors and my weekends knocking on doors and canvassing public events.

With a goal of raising $20 million by Election Day, I was also responsible for planning fundraisers with seemingly unrealistic goals. For my first event, I was expected to raise $10,000 despite a difficult host who refused to return my phone calls. I called everyone on the invitation list multiple times, pitching anyone who answered. The day of the event, I was hopeful that my hard work would pay off. Maybe the host had been working his own connections in the community, or maybe the messages I left were compelling. There were ultimately only five people in attendance. We raised $800 that day. Frustrated with the long hours and meager results, I wondered why I was working on this campaign.

During those first couple of weeks, only the knowledge that I was fighting for a cause I believed in kept me motivated. The choices in the race were stark, and the winner would shape national decisions that affected every American. Our opponent’s stances were so radically different from what I believed best that I knew I would regret having any other job. All the negative aspects seemed trivial when compared to the consequences at stake.

Eventually, after putting in the hours and showing my commitment, I was given new responsibilities and more interesting tasks. I staffed call time with the candidate and witnessed how he integrated my research about the donors into his pitch. My heart skipped as he transitioned from health care reform to the “ask” and I breathed relief when we had a new pledge. I began writing the weekly campaign newsletter that went to hundreds of opinion leaders and activists around the state. Injecting my creativity and style when commenting on the week’s happenings and our opponent’s missteps reminded me of the reasons I took the job in the first place.

I also began to see better results when managing fundraisers. My first event taught me to seek out more engaged hosts and to build a stronger invitation list. I still spent hours on the phone inviting guests, but these calls now energized me as I spoke about the latest headlines and why we needed their help. During events, I preoccupied myself collecting contact information and scouting the room for the next potential host. As soon as the event ended, I raced back to the office excited to count the night’s haul. I enjoyed writing the newsletters, but the best part of the job was seeing my hard work pay off in an immediate and tangible way. No other experience had challenged me the way this job had, and through that I learned how to adapt and overcome obstacles to achieve my goals.

After three years of campaigning, I am ready to be part of governing. Politics is my passion, but I want to see the promises made on a campaign through to completion. As a fundraiser, I frequently plan events hosted by law firms, and I have seen firsthand how often politicians rely on lawyers for help in implementing policy decisions. Recently, the Mayor of Providence stayed late to ask attorneys their opinions about how to resolve issues with public pension contracts for current retirees. An attorney by trade, the Mayor probed them on potential solutions while discussing his concerns with them. Similarly, many other issues that affect people in very real ways require legal expertise in order to develop sound, effective policy solutions.