Scholarship recipients committed to social justice, diversity
(August 25, 2010) Seattle University School of Law is proud to announce the four recipients of the law school coveted full-tuition scholarship awards. Each brings important perspectives and experiences to the law school.
The 2010 recipients are: Chanele Brothers and Sarah Haywood, Scholars for Justice; Bree Blackhorse, Native American Law Scholar; and Sonja Carlson, Adolf A. Berle Scholar.
Scholars for Justice Awards
Two full-tuition Scholars for Justice Awards are given each year to admitted students who demonstrate a commitment to a career in public interest law, both before and after law school. This year's Scholars:
Most people think of gypsies as a Halloween costume. Chanele Brothers learned during her time in Romania that gypsy is actually a pejorative term for the Romani, Europe's most marginalized population, and it changed the course of her studies and career. Living abroad, she saw how poorly the Romani were perceived and treated.
Brothers, who earned a B.A. in Russian studies from Stetson University in Florida, intended to specialize in Russian studies in graduate school. Instead, she became a member of the Romani Studies program at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her master's degree in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.
She learned more about discrimination when she taught at a private Muslim school in Austin, Texas. She found students to be open to new ideas, including her courses on world cultures and religions, and respectful of others. They did not find the same respect themselves outside the school.
"To see these children that I adored face such discrimination just because they were wearing a head scarf was painful," she said.
For her dedication to eradicating discrimination and working for justice, she was named a Scholar for Justice at Seattle University School of Law.
Brothers has volunteered with the United Way, the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross. Her interest turned toward law school when she volunteered with a tenants' rights organization in Chicago. She is interested in studying immigration law and pursuing international externships offered through the law school.
"I saw all the different ways that law can change and help people," she said. "Poverty, homelessness, discrimination and inequality are realities in all societies, but through a strong commitment to justice, the effects can be minimized. This is what I intend to achieve through a career in public interest law."
Growing up as an adopted Korean American in New Mexico, Sarah Haywood sometimes struggled to find her own identity. She found it by reaching out to the Latino community at home and abroad - which eventually led her to law school.
As a high school student, Haywood volunteered in Costa Rica with Amigos de las Americas, working with low-income families. She went on to double major in Diplomacy and World Affairs and Spanish at Occidental College in Los Angeles, where she was also exposed to a larger Asian American community that brought her closer to her Korean cultural roots.
Haywood returned to Latin America (Mexico and Honduras) twice to direct volunteer projects, most recently as a senior staff member managing 55 youth volunteers helping to plan to build school facilities. After college, she spent two years as an Americorps*VISTA member at El Centro de la Raza in Seattle, which provides direct services and advocacy for the Latino community.
"It's important to provide services, but at the same time we need to be changing the system that creates the need for services," she said.
For her commitment to service and change, she was named one of Seattle University School of Law's Scholars for Justice.
"The time I have spent working abroad juxtaposed with my work with local disempowered communities has helped me put into perspective both my capacity and limitations, as an individual, to effect change," Haywood said. "I believe a law education will increase this capacity, as well as redefine my limitations."
She looks forward to getting involved in justice-related activities at the law school and to studying abroad.
"Social justice is a systemic, institutional, societal issue, but the victims of social injustice are individual people," Haywood said. "These people and the relationships I share with them motivate my work."
Native American Law Scholar
Some people choose to take some time off before starting law school.
"Not me. I view my time and energy as valuable resources that must be invested wisely," Bree Blackhorse said.
Blackhorse is Seattle University School of Law's 2010 Native American Scholar. The School of Law established the full-tuition award to encourage more Native students to attend law school. Native Americans have one of the smallest bars in the nation.
Blackhorse graduated from Seattle Pacific University in just three years with a degree in political science while working full-time as a certified fit specialist and prosthesis fit specialist at Nordstrom, a job she began when she was 16. Throughout that time, Blackhorse, a talented artist and traditional dancer, traveled with her parents to powwows and art shows around the country.
She is an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; she is of the Beaver Clan and the Tom Palmer Band. Bree's Indian name is "Prized Woman," which was given to her by Elder Bruce Wolf Child from the Blood Reserve in a ceremony in Alberta.
Her mother, Catherine Blackhorse, and stepfather, Terrance Guardipee, are established artists, having shown their work with the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute, as well as at the Santa Fe Indian Art Market. Bree is also a painter and ledger artist who has exhibited her work at the Heard Museum Indian Art Market and who has had her work published by Native People for Cancer Control to promote awareness for cancer prevention. She also was powwow royalty for Edmonds Community College 2005-2006 and for Gonzaga University 2006-2007.
She looks forward to becoming involved in the law school.
"Historically, law has been a weapon of oppression used against my people, but now I see it as tool of empowerment" she said. "I look forward to attending Seattle University School of Law and contributing to the community."
Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Scholar
With a degree in economics from Columbia University, Sonja Carlson has professional experience with multinational corporations. She has worked in New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Seattle, including time at KPMG and Deloitte performing transfer pricing analysis, as well as at Corbis Corporation.
Carlson's experiences living and working overseas sparked her desire to pursue legal studies, and led to her being named Seattle University School of Law's inaugural Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Scholar. The scholarship is given to student who has a keen intellectual interest in understanding the nature of modern society - particularly the nature of the modern corporation and its intersection with law and society. As the Berle Scholar, she will be involved with the work of Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law and Society.
"Law is a field of work that is very powerful," she said. "The legal system is intertwined with societal structure. I'm very interested in how corporations influence our society and globalization."
Most recently, Carlson's involvement in a prolonged custody dispute over her son confirmed her desire to attend law school. Even though she was somewhat savvy about the court system thanks to her academic studies and prior experience navigating systems at home and abroad, being involved in such an intimate legal dispute was a humbling experience - one that caused her to examine power structures from a new perspective.
Knowing that many people confront similar situations with few resources and/or little understanding of the legal system, she hopes to focus at least a portion of her professional efforts on women's human rights, including family law and domestic abuse.
Carlson enjoys analyzing societal issues from varying perspectives. In fact, she initially chose to enter the field of economics because she appreciated viewing such issues from a 'scientific' perspective rather than a purely 'public policy' oriented one. Combined with her cross-cultural experiences living abroad, this fits well with the work of the Berle Center and her desire to study law.
"It really is interesting for me to see the different ways that people hold and view the world, and how it shapes the context of their lives," Carlson said.