I was 11 when Katrina hit. I remembersitting with my back against the lockers in the hallways of middle-school, withmy hands covering the top of my head in case of falling debris. I remembergoing home that day, naively excited that school was cancelled for two weeks. Iremember watching my mom prepare my after-school snack, and both of us pausing,as if in shock, as we watched what was being shown on the TV screen. I rememberhearing the hundreds of thousands of pleas for help, and seeing that there was nothingleft.
Most of all, I remember feeling helpless. Fast forward 12 years. HurricaneHarvey hits Texas, setting the record for the most rainfall from a hurricane,ever. This time, as I watched the images come in, I knew there had to besomething that I could do. I have been involved in animal rescue since I was akid, always bringing home stray cats and dogs and finding them new homes. WhenI went to college, I became more formally involved with animal rescue byfostering then continuing to serve on the Board of Directors for a nonprofitdog rescue.
However, even with my previous experiences, Hurricane Harveypresented unique challenges that allowed me to grow as a leader in a sometimes dangerousand always high-stress environment. I started a supply drive in three cities,and as soon as I had collected enough to fill my car, my journey began.Suddenly it was 5 AM in the morning and I was driving in the pouring rain to a smallcoastal city. One second, I was wading through chest-deep water to rescue two kittensout of a flooded apartment. The next I was pushing through waist-deep water torescue an endangered, 90 lb., 90 year old tortoise who could not touch thewater during the rescue without damage to his health. I then found myself asthe site director of a triage staging area for animals brought in from rescueboats. Here, I worked for weeks to bring supplies in for the community, and vetcare and rescues for the animals.
During all of this, I bonded with a smallgroup of ragtag rescuers, and founded an official nonprofit disaster animalrescue and relief team, Boots on the Ground Volunteers. We have since traveledto Florida and set up a triage staging area there for Hurricane Irma, as wellas sent supplies to Puerto Rico to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Despite being placed in a new and uncomfortable environment, these experiencesgave me an immense amount of leadership opportunity, and helped me to realizemy own untapped potential to be a legal advocate for those in need. Even though law school will bedifficult, my academic career thus far has taught me how to thrive inchallenging academic settings. I have written and presented at a conference variouslegal-related research papers including topics such as terrorism, internationallaw, and environmental inequality.
My favorite research paper of myundergraduate career examined chemical contaminants in Texas prisons, finding apattern of contamination in prisons located within rural areas along the BrazosRiver. My professor commended the unique perspective that I brought to thework, and allowed me to discuss my findings extensively with my fellowclassmates to explore the legal complications related to the issue. Throughwork like this, I have found that I thrive in an environment that promotesacademic dialogue. Within this open setting, I could see how my own lifeexperiences had value and brought an important perspective. It is thisperspective that makes me confident that I can become a skilled and valuableattorney. As a law student, I will bring my compassion, enthusiasm, and desireto learn in both classroom and professional settings.
I will also bring mypassion for Environmental Law and Litigation, which is one of the reasons I amattracted to BaylorUniversity. I know that the skills I havedeveloped from my life experiences will profoundly benefit me in my career asan attorney, such as my dedication and commitment to service. I believe thatthis comes from my study of Shohei-Ryu martial arts, an Okinawan form ofself-defense.
I have studied the form for many years, and it has taught me moreabout discipline than any other activity I have been involved in. When I was17, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan to test for my first degree, and am currentlya second degree Black Belt. My sensei allowed for me to assist him as a juniorinstructor in regular classes, as well as in Women’s Self Defense classes,which gave me a unique look into the everyday challenges of victimized anddisadvantaged women. Additionally, when I was in high school, I was electedcaptain of the mock trial team and ended up taking our team to the StateChampionships for the first time in 20 years. Being a part of the Debate teamsand Mock Trial teams throughout high school and college is what first piqued myinterest in becoming an attorney, and my resolve to accomplish this has notwavered since.
My ambition and dedication to work hard have always driven me tosucceed. I believe my experiences and my studies have uniquely prepared me tobe successful in the management of a demanding law school curriculum and acareer as an attorney. Through my education, employment, andadvocacy work, I have garnered invaluable knowledge about myself and what Idesire to achieve in life. I strive to do my best inside the classroom, andhave come to define my standard of achievement by both my academic achievement,as well as whether I have made a positive impact at the end of the day. Thelife experiences I have had outside of the classroom have been equally importantin shaping who I am.
I value a community where there is a common pursuit ofknowledge and growth in all settings, and I believe that the University ofArizona Law School will reward me with such a community and willcontinuously inspire and challenge me academically and personally. I would behonored to be a part of such an esteemed program.