I graduated from Seattle University in 2010 with a BA in English, and spent the following two years serving through Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. My work experiences during my first of service in Aberdeen, Washington fueled a passion for public interest law and more specifically, juvenile justice issues. While in Aberdeen, I worked part-time at Northwest Justice Project, a civil legal aid office, and part-time at a social services agency called Coastal Community Action Program. At Northwest Justice Project, I focused my work on youth outreach, including co-developing and presenting an educational seminar for youth in the juvenile detention center and conducting “Know Your Rights” presentations at the local high school for at-risk youth.
I spent my second year of service in Spokane, working as a Case Manager and Program Aide at a homeless shelter for women and children. My two years of service instilled in me a more refined understanding of the direct needs of some of Washington’s most vulnerable citizens, as well as the perspective to see how law sometimes provides the only remedy available to otherwise powerless people.
While in law school, I plan to use the skills and knowledge I acquire to serve as an advocate at both the individual and the systemic level for vulnerable residents of Washington State. I feel honored to be a part of the Thomas More community and look forward to developing sound legal skills and relationships at Gonzaga Law.
In everything I have done, education and service have been synonymous. Whether it was the requirement for high school graduation or the number of hours necessary for membership in certain undergraduate campus organizations at Rockhurst University, working with others to fulfill a need or complete a goal has taken on many forms.
I find my passion and drive in those whom I meet and their stories are what compel me to work towards social justice. Following graduation from college I spent a year as a kindergarten teacher at The Good Shepherd School in New Orleans through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Law school was eventually the goal and I recognized that I could only be as effective as the experiences that I brought to the endeavor. Working in a school brought me face to face with bright children whose vibrant dreams were constantly challenged by the harsh realities of their city and their lives at home. Living with others working toward similar goals took me into the courtroom, homeless shelters, and homes devoted to the dignity of every human life.
My time in New Orleans answered the question of what type of legal career I want to pursue and whose voices I want to facilitate in my work. The Thomas More Program provides the opportunity to learn from and work alongside others to advocate effectively for those whose voices go unheard. I am honored to be a part of the program and energized by the possibilities.
Growing up in Romania, a country that has freed itself from Communism not long ago, one cannot be oblivious to the constraints rooted deep within society. Corruption is flourishing, at both the legal and political level, and has been diminishing people’s faith in the leaders of their country. My childhood was plagued with the war against Romanian Gypsies, opening my eyes to a community ostracized, disgraced, and forced to live outside the system. This, combined with issues resulting from emigration, are the driving forces for me to advocate for people’s rights, fighting for those who are not able to navigate the legal system for themselves.
Being confronted with these societal needs at an early age instilled a deep desire to give back to my communities. Since high school, I have participated in organizations such as “Millions of people, millions of trees”, “Children’s Green Police”, and “Let’s do it Romania!” After graduating from college, I continued volunteering with the Volunteer Lawyers Program and Northwest Justice Project, acting as a CASA advocate and mentoring through Children of Promise.
I have been given the chance to observe various cycles created by the interaction of society and law, along with different approaches law takes in various regions of the world. Through my knowledge of the law, I hope to influence social change to help initiate better, healthier, and wiser conflict resolution alternatives.
I first became interested in public service while mentoring kids in the Big Buddies program at the University of Redlands in California. While building a relationship with my mentee, I realized the power I could have on a child’s life through service. Soon after, I interned in Washington, D.C. for the policy department of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), an organization that advocates for civil and human rights in the United States. While working on the Campaign for High Equity at LCCR, I was exposed to the impact lobbyists had on education law in the United States.
My experience interning in D.C., and my time mentoring kids at the University of Redlands, motivated me to apply to Teach for America (TFA). As a corps member in TFA, I believed I would be able to directly serve students in need while gaining valuable insight to the structure of inner-city public schools. From 2010 to 2012, I taught second grade in a dual language classroom at Marie Reed Elementary in Washington, D.C. My passion for educating children flourished while teaching and I became convinced that attending law school would help me make a broader impact on the lives of students. I hope that after graduating from Gonzaga I will be able to practice in the areas of K-12 education or child advocacy to reach my goal of creating social change through law.
Born in the city of Split, Croatia along the beautiful Adriatic coast, my family immigrated to Takoma Park, Maryland in the early 1990′s. As immigrants, my parents worked extra-hard to provide for our family. My parents stressed the importance of working toward and contributing to the community. After graduating from the University of San Diego, I spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Baltimore, Maryland. In my Jesuit Volunteer service, I worked at the Public Justice Center (PJC) as a legal assistant. Specifically, I worked with PJC’s Tenant Advocacy Project to provide legal services to tenants facing eviction because of their landlords’ foreclosure, as well as tenants seeking to enforce their rights to safe and habitable housing. Thanks to my experience at the Public Justice Center, I gained a greater appreciation for the important responsibility that attorneys have in building just communities.
With a strong emphasis on service and community, Gonzaga Law School seemed like a good fit for me. I’m grateful and excited to be a part of the Thomas More program.