March 30, 2020 at 2:19 pm

Happy Beginnings | Alexandra Wainwright Credits Legal Future to Law Center Faculty

Alexandra Wainwright., portrait

Alexandra Wainwright

The Happy Beginnings series features College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

Ohio University senior Alexandria Wainwright plans to attend the Boston University School of Law next fall, having received a full-tuition scholarship as a dean’s scholar.

Wainwright is a member of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture’s Certificate Class of 2020.

Why did you choose to attend Ohio University?

When I first visited Ohio University, I saw a group of guys skateboarding in kilts. As a person who’s never really fit in with what everyone else is doing, I was really excited to see a campus where everyone’s uniqueness is not only accepted, but admired and celebrated. Of all the campuses I visited, OHIO was the only one that made me feel like it’s OK to be different.

Not only did the campus culture draw me in, but I was also accepted to OHIO’s Honors Tutorial College. This opportunity allowed me to pursue an individualized course of study within Business Administration and also provided a full-tuition scholarship. In the end, as much as I love OHIO, I would not have been able to come here without HTC’s help.

What’s your major?

Business Administration with a Minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Technology and Society, as well as the Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture.

What drew you to apply to the Certificate for Law, Justice & Culture?

When I first enrolled at Ohio University, my career goal was to manage a nonprofit organization. The CLJC’s website said this certificate was good for people who wanted to work in the nonprofit sector, and the course offerings looked pretty interesting, so I applied.

How did your time within the Center for Law, Justice & Culture affect this path forward?

As I mentioned before, my initial career goal was to manage a nonprofit. As part of the certificate, I took Politics of Law my Freshman year. I immediately became fascinated by how the United States’ legal system works.

After being accepted to the certificate, I took Themes in Law, Justice and Culture and learned about how law and society impact one another. This class really concreted my plans to practice law someday. I realized that I could combine my passion for nonprofit work with my interest in law.

What are you most grateful for regarding the CLJC?

I love the CLJC’s interdisciplinary nature. Through the certificate, I took classes in Political Science, Sociology, and Philosophy. As a Business Administration Major, I wouldn’t have been exposed to these classes if I had not enrolled in the certificate.

I guess I could have gotten a Minor in Sociology, but then I wouldn’t have learned about political science or philosophy. This certificate gave me the opportunity to combine perspectives of law, justice, and culture from multiple fields.

What class within the certificate offerings was your favorite?

Police and Society. We hear about incidents, both good and bad, involving the police all the time, but learning about the history of policing in our country was really enlightening. The class also really helped inform my thesis, which focuses on the public perception of civil forfeiture, a controversial tool used by police departments across the country.

Is there a CLJC faculty affiliate who helped shape your time at Ohio University?

Larry Hayman was really the only reason I knew how to apply to law school. I first went to his office hours fall of my junior year to ask him when I should take the LSAT. He’s been really helpful throughout the process, from proofreading my personal statement to helping me choose where to go after I graduate.

Are you involved in any CLJC affiliated student organizations? If so, in what capacity? What has the organization rewarded you?

I was involved in Ohio University’s Chapter of the ACLU from my freshman to my junior year. I was treasurer for my junior year, but I had to quit because I was having a hard time juggling all of my responsibilities. My time spent with the organization was great, though. I loved being able to meet with other like-minded students and talk about modern political issued and what we could do about them.

I have also been involved in Students Defending Students since I was a sophomore. I absolutely love being a part of this organization because I get to guide my peers through Ohio University’s often confusing and stressful judicial process and make sure their rights are upheld.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

Take advantage of opportunities related to your interests, even if you’re not sure if you’ll like them. Throughout my time at OHIO, I’ve been involved in seven student organizations, and I ended up quitting six of them so I could devote my time to my favorite one, Students Defending Students.

I’ve also had two campus jobs related to policy research, and two internships related to law, one at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services and the other at the U.S. House of Representatives. All of these activities ended up showing me what I didn’t want to do in my career, which is still really useful for mapping out a career journey. Basically, just follow your interests and they’ll develop over time, and don’t stress too much if they end up changing.

What were your best Ohio University experiences?

Pretty much all of my experiences with Students Defending Students have been amazing. I am grateful every time I have the opportunity help a fellow student get through a stressful Community Standards Conference or Administrative Hearing, regardless of the outcome. The SDS team is also an amazing group of friends; I don’t know what I would have done without being able to treat the SDS office as my home-base on campus.

What’s your fondest memory of Athens?

I can’t decide between meeting my best friend at the Union a few years ago or when he proposed to me by putting a ring in a fortune cookie at China Panda a few months ago. Either way, Athens holds a very special place in my heart. I don’t want to imagine how my life would be different if I had not spent the last four years here.

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