School of Law introduces 2012-13 full-tuition scholars
September 10, 2012
Seattle University School of Law is proud to introduce its 2012-13 full tuition scholars. The law school gives two Scholars for Justice Awards annually to students who have a proven commitment to working in the public interest before and after law school and a Native Law Scholar Award to a member of federally recognized tribe.
This year's scholars are:
Scholar for Justice
Born and raised in Seattle, Becky explored a variety of public service opportunities before deciding to pursue a career in law. In high school, she interned at Mount Zion Preparatory Academy, where she learned not only about persistent systemic barriers to education but also how one community had created its own alternative institution to overcome these barriers that opened her eyes to the relationship between power, prejudice and poverty in the U.S.
She earned her B.A. in Public Policy and American Institutions from Brown University, where she worked with the Student Labor Alliance in support of workers organizing for fair pay and work standards. She interned with non-profit organizations and government offices promoting access to health care, protection from domestic violence, stable housing and land rights. After graduation, she was an AmeriCorps VISTA through Solid Ground's Martin Luther King Jr. VISTA team.
"In all of these experiences, I was struck by how frequently a felony conviction proved to be an insurmountable barrier, based on a concern for public safety," she said. "I have seen how the system by which we classify people as felons has more to do with institutional racism and classism than with public safety."
Motivated to fight this injustice, she has worked for a public defender for the past two years. She will continue to work while earning her degree in the law school's Part-Time Program.
"Every day, I see the attorneys in my office help our clients assert their humanity in a system designed to label them only as dangerous or bad," she said. "In defending individuals, I see how attorneys also challenge rules, practices and policies to effect positive systemic change. I hope to follow in the footsteps of these lawyers, to stand up against a dehumanizing system and strive for actual justice."
Scholar for Justice
Alex grew up in Olympia, where she was exposed to politics and government early on. She started her undergraduate education at Seattle University in 2003. After study abroad in Barcelona her sophomore year, she decided to take some time to see the world before going back to school. She lived in Barcelona for two years and also spent time in Germany, Austria, Russia and Sweden. She interned for a Women's Crisis Center for victims of rape and trafficking in St. Petersburg, Russia, and worked on organic farms in Sweden.
She has spent the last several years working as domestic violence advocate in various capacities for the YWCA, New Beginnings and the Salvation Army. She has volunteered with Legal Voice on its self-help committee, bringing legal self-help materials to Spanish and Russian speakers. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Russian. She also served a year with AmeriCorps at Sea Mar Community Health Center.
She returned to college knowing she wanted to go to law school, committed to bringing more women's voices to the forefront of politics, business, and society.
"In order for this to happen, women need to be respected and treated with dignity in the public sphere, in the media, and at home," she said. "Women are systematically excluded from many facets of society either directly or indirectly, while others are under such control and abuse at home that they don't even have the option of raising their voice.
Native American Law Scholar
Jocelyn McCurtain graduated from the University of Washington, where she studied vocal performance and sociology. She worked throughout her undergraduate career to engage students on issues pertaining to sexual assault and relationship violence.
As the director of the Committee Organizing Rape Education, Jocelyn implemented various programs, including the Rock Riot Run 5K, the proceeds from which were donated to a domestic violence shelter. She also spearheaded the creation of a the program "Through Our Eyes", which sought to educate students on the effects of sexual assault and domestic violence amongst minority communities and c-founded Students Against Sexually Exploited Youth.
She served as vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Vice President in 2011 and was the Student Representative on the Board of Directors for the University Bookstore.
After graduation, Jocelyn was chosen to attend the prestigious Pre-Law Summer Program sponsored by the American Indian Law Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Through this program, Jocelyn was introduced to Native American scholars and advocates from around the country.
"This experience further solidified my aspiration of being an advocate on behalf of Native American women and children on issues pertaining to sexual assault and domestic violence within Indian Country," she said.
She is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and is very proud of her Indian heritage. She hopes to practice law with one of the many tribes in Washington, utilizing her law degree from Seattle University to make a positive impact on behalf of Native Americans.
She also is an avid runner, continues to pursue her love of music, as well as remaining engaged with advocacy on behalf of victims of sexual violence.