I’m a Political Science major, but I actually had no idea what political science was before I began my college search. I knew for sure I wanted to attend law school, so I figured government and politics would be fitting areas of study for my undergraduate major. Once I saw that the political science program had a pre-law concentration, I knew I was in the right place.
I also have a minor in writing and communication. I’ve always said that if I fail as a lawyer, my back-up career would be in journalism. Writing is something that I’ve enjoyed—but not the kind of writing most people think of. I like writing that is fact-based and informative, as opposed to more creative styles of writing that serve other purposes.
Sights set on law school
My initial decision to attend law school was influenced by my family, who has referred to me as the “family lawyer” since before I fully grasped what that meant. My decision was solidified after just a couple semesters at UMassD. The courses I took and the professors within my major challenged me in a way that gave me the confidence to pursue a higher degree.
This is certainly subject to change, but my ultimate career goal is to work in the Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor.
Student ambassador & teaching assistant
As a student ambassador for the Political Science Department, I attended events on campus to share information about the department to students. I answered questions about the major, minor, courses, professors, internships, and job opportunities.
In the fall of my senior year, I worked as a teaching assistant for Professor Freitag’s Introduction to American Politics course. I recorded and maintained grades, held office hours for tutoring, facilitated review sessions before exams, and helped to prepare and organize class materials.
Most of the students were first-years who were not shy about flooding my in-box or stopping me in the halls for clarification on an assignment. Seeing that they sought me out so often and appreciated my help was rewarding. I strived to be someone they could go to for help with anything from studying for an exam to calculating their class grade to making decisions about their courses of study. A few times, I even edited essays unrelated to our class, to provide a helping hand.
Growing commitment to human rights
Two classes helped me discover my interest in human rights.
The final project for my public relations writing course involved working with Three Spinners, a non-profit organization located in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. This organization provides rescue efforts for, but not limited to, Syrian refugees and helps to provide resettled families with essential items for everyday life.
My partnership with this organization involved writing a press release and other public relations materials to promote a fundraising event they had planned. The event ended up raising over $500.
In my human rights seminar, my capstone project involved researching human rights violations within our criminal justice system. Through this course, I was able to collaborate with UMass Law's Human Rights at Home Clinic. Working together with the law students, my classmates and I drafted an initiative to declare New Bedford & Fall River "human rights cities."
We also presented our individual research topics to New Bedford city council member Dana Ribeiro.
Internship with the Plymouth County DA
In the summer before my senior year, I interned with the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office. I spent the majority of my time observing the assistant district attorneys in action at the District and Superior Court houses. I was fascinated by the contrast between the fast pace of the District Court compared to the slower pace of the Superior Court proceedings.
I realized that prosecutors have one of the most difficult jobs, since the burden of proving guilt lies completely in their hands.
Writing for the web
Currently I have a student position as an assistant web writer/editor for University Marketing. I navigate the university’s web content management system to write feature stories, maintain web pages, and approve events for the calendar.
Outside of my social media activity, writing for the web is not something I’ve had much experience with, but I was eager to take on this job—especially after my boss mentioned I’d be better prepared to write for law review in law school.
I approached my web writing position with an open mind, hoping to develop a skill set that distinguishes me from other law school applicants. I’ve already noticed improvements in my attention to detail and writing style.
Upcoming internship in the Superior Courts
I've been in contact with an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Courts, who is providing me with the opportunity to intern with her this summer. As her intern, I will undergo training on how to write as a law clerk.