Rural Law Fellow
Class of 2020
Hometown: Hampden, Maine
Grad: Emotional Impairment and Juvenile Delinquency at Western Michigan University
Undergrad: Secondary English Education at the University of Maine
What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?
Mothered two wonderful children; taught social studies and coached mock trial and track at Hampden Academy, a public high school in central Maine; and spent summers raking blueberries, most recently with Haitian and Honduran crews in Hancock County.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?
In 2001, I spent a sabbatical year at Maine Law. That experience, especially Professors Zarr’s and Rogoff’s teaching and mentorship, was life-changing. I promised myself that some day I would come back.
What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law student?
- People: Our professors were as engaging and supportive as they were challenging; our teaching assistants were tirelessly helpful and generous; the students I came to know were brilliant, kind, and thoughtful. The administration helped me navigate technology, financial aid, and housing. And my family’s and friends’ support was inexpressibly important.
- Perspective: I knew from parenting and teaching that the bigger the challenge, the more important it is to love what I’m doing, keep a sense of humor and a sense of wonder, and in Oliver Wendell Holmes’s words, “have faith and do the needful.”
What is one thing that has surprised you about Maine Law?
I keep discovering ways in which the Law School directly affects Mainers’ quality of life: just one example is the Rural Practice Fellowship program that is closing the “justice gap” in some of the most underserved areas of our state.
What are you hoping to do after graduation, and how is Maine Law helping you to facilitate that goal?
I will work in rural Maine, but haven’t yet settled on the area of law I want to practice. Originally, because of the raking I did with Honduran and Haitian crews I was leaning in the direction of immigration law and advocacy for migrant workers. But this summer’s Rural Practice Fellowship has made me strongly consider doing criminal defense and family law. I’m also excited about working with LGBTQ youth.
But I have two more years of classes, intern- and externships, and meetings with my advisor to figure things out. By the time I graduate, I know that Maine Law will have equipped me with such a strong foundation of knowledge and practical skills, including researching, writing, and speaking, that I will be able to serve clients excellently in any field I choose to enter.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?
I will be a peer liaison this year for one of Maine Law’s international students, and am a liaison between the student body and faculty. I’m also a member of the Finch Society, and will be interning again with Immigration Legal Services at Catholic Charities in Portland.
When you are not at school, how do you like to spend your time?
I rock climb in Acadia National Park, run and strength train, read, hang out with my wonderful family, play my guitar, bake bread, and knit.
What do you like best about Portland?
I love that Portland is so rich in history: you can follow Portland’s Freedom Trail, visit Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s and the “Father of Prohibition’s” homes, explore historic forts, and more. It’s pure joy to be able to hear seagulls and foghorns on my way to class!
What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?
My favorite thing is exploring the city. There’s always something surprising and moving to discover. I love to sit quietly by the sea.
If you could tell a prospective student one thing about Maine Law, what would it be?
Give yourself the gift of a Maine Law education: it will challenge you, satisfy you, connect you with truly amazing people, and prepare you for important, fulfilling work. (And no, it’s never too late!)