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As I leaned forward in my chair at the long conference table, I scribbled Amicas brief on my white legal pad notebook.

I thought Amica who? The insurance company? In my stretch-fit khakis and button down shirt, I unknowingly sat in a supervisors seat, while hoping that none of these articulate and intelligent professionals would shake my hand because my palms were dripping with sweat. I felt out of place. I wasnt in Rhode Island scrubbing toilets anymore. I wasnt selling books door-to-door to the proverbial Mrs. Jones of Illinois. I was in the District of Columbia attending weekly legislativeoutreach meetings as part of my internship at the National Womens Law Center. Exiting the Metro each morning at DuPont Circle, I kept thinking that I would wake up one day and realize it was a dream. My civic engagement on the education and employment team at the law center catalyzed an interest in law school to create more equal opportunities in these areas that serve as the cornerstones of the American dream. A semester prior, I had been living a nightmare. Doctors couldnt find out what was wrong with my mothers heart, but told her that it was physically impossible for her to work given her medical condition. It seemed no one had a remedy to my familys economic situation either as my mother had been denied for disability claims twice. My father picked up overtime janitorial shifts, but it wasnt enough. The date had been set. We were going to lose our house in February. The stress on my parents was unbearable, yet I could feel it from eight hours away, so I clung to a childish delusion that the solution to everything was to throw myself into my academic work. If I multi-tasked constantly, I could avoid thinking about what was happening at home and the position I had put my family in by moving away to college and no longer working full time. As immigrants who worked full-time as young teenagers and never earned a college diploma, my parents wanted me to get the best education possible, so they paid for private school, which meant remortgaging the house several times to pay for tuition because we lived in a low-performing school

district. I may have blended in with Catholic school jumpers and skirts, but I was always reminded that my family was part of the so-called working class. My parents sacrificed and struggled their whole lives, working hard to provide me with more opportunities than they had. It wasnt fair. My mom couldnt work, but it seemed like no one would help us. Angered and confused at the injustice of it all, I was starting to think that the idea of social mobility was a farce and working class was just a euphemism for poor and hopeless. This cynicism would last only until February when I lobbied on Capitol Hill as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and my mother was approved for disability payments following an appeal process. I was initially dumbfounded by how much I didnt know about the courts, legislation and public policy, but soon found that hard work and an immersion in information allowed me to succeed with a newfound confidence and belonging. I had never heard the term amicus brief. In the practical sense, I didnt even understand what it meant to lobby Congress. Thirsting for knowledge as an aspiring journalist, I diligently took notes on everything I didnt understand, and then researched on my own time. I arrived earlier than my supervisors and left after them. I took work home. I used my commute time on the metro to familiarize myself with the centers varied documents. I began not only following the jargon-riddled conversation in the centers weekly meetings, but also started forming my own views, knowing that each had been informed by my experience and standpoint. My background may have been different, but I finally felt like I belonged in that conference room. At the National Womens Law Center, I researched landmark Title IX cases, attended a congressional briefing on the WAGES Act, and compared the text within relevant data bills. As part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I organized an unprecedented number of meetings with senators and representatives and lobbied for the High School Data Transparency Act and High School Athletics Accountability Act, while advocating to increase opportunities for women and girls in school

sports. Representing a coalition of five national womens organizations established to work toward gender equity, I began to feel a new sense of opportunity, an ambition to overcome adversity and set higher goals to create social change in education. My undergraduate education at the University of Maryland and internship at the National Womens Law Center, informed by my personal experience, has shown me that the only way to truly work for justice in education and employment is to know the language of law. Through an interdisciplinary educational background, I have actively engaged in the analysis and debate of conceptually sophisticated theoretical texts. My training in journalism has taught me how to research and abridge complicated issues in different fields in a precise way that is adaptive, eloquent and significant for those who lack the training in that particular field. It has given me the confidence to ask the basic and difficult questions that, in part, have stemmed from a background in gender studies. My coursework in womens studies trained me to think critically, questioning basic assumptions of knowledge and power from diverse socio-cultural, racial and economic locations. I want the challenge of studying law because I want to claim an education that will provide me with the avenues to seek out justice, and open possibilities to create meaningful social change for others in education and employment. I want the chance to work hard and struggle and prove to myself that I belong in the most stimulating and overwhelming academic arena. I am eager to embark on the journey of law school because, to achieve professional and personal fulfillment, I can only do so by growing and embracing the learning process. My academic journey has shifted from distress and anxiety to empowerment and optimism, and a combination of womens studies and journalism experience has prepared me well for the rigorous writing and critical thinking skills required in law school.