Pre-Law Program at Miami University
[More People in the Spotlight.]
Camille was interviewed by former Director of Miami's Pre-Law Program, Yvette Simpson, on April 15, 2008.
YS: What is your name?
CS: Camille Stewart.
YS: What year are you in school?
CS: I'm a senior.
YS: What is your major?
CS: Interdisciplinary Business Management.
YS: Do you have any minors?
CS: Political Analysis.
[Coming to Miami has] been a good experience. I learned a lot, had a lot of great leadership opportunities, and met a lot of great people who have helped me become more of a leader.
YS: What law school do you plan to enroll in this fall?
CS: I just paid my deposit at American University.
YS: Alright! What has been your most memorable experience at Miami?
CS: Wow. The day I realized I liked it here.
YS: And when did that happen?
CS: Probably about my sophomore year. I was very skeptical about coming to Miami because it is out in the boonies and a predominantly white institution. But it has been a good experience.
I learned a lot, had a lot of great leadership opportunities, and met a lot of great people who have helped me become more of a leader. I was kind of shy when I got here, but I no longer use "shy" to describe myself. So, it's been a great experience.
YS: What courses did you find most beneficial here at Miami, considering your plans for the future?
CS: All of the courses for the Business Legal Studies track of the Interdisciplinary Business Management Major, because I got to see a lot of different aspects of business law — employment law and antitrust. So I was exposed to a lot of aspects of the field and a lot of different avenues you can take. Before I began the business undergraduate degree, I was very stuck on corporate law. Courses like Employment Law and Antitrust opened my eyes to new things.
YS: What activities have you participated in at Miami that you found particularly interesting?
CS: Too many! [chuckles] I joined a sorority my sophomore year, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I was also the President of NPHC [National Pan-Hellenic Council], which is the governing body for historically African-American fraternities and sororities. I was on Student Court, which I loved. I also participated in "Keepin' it Real", National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and Order of Omega.
YS: Were there any of them that you feel were particularly helpful?
CS: My leadership in all of the Greek organizations — Phi Alpha Delta gave me a lot of experience in the legal field and opportunities to meet lawyers — things that I have found very helpful; particularly this year because Phi Alpha Delta has picked up. But also the leadership skills that I received from my sorority, NPHC, Order of Omega and things like those, were really helpful.
YS: Who have been your mentors here at Miami?
CS: Enid LeGesse, who is no longer with the university, worked with me in the Honors & Scholars Program, as well as Augustus Jones, a political science professor, James Brock, an economics professor, and Yvette Simpson.
Students often don't know about things ... that are available to everyone or that might, by some slight chance, be available to you.
YS: You all say that. I don't know why [chuckles]. What has been your greatest obstacle here at Miami?
CS: Finding all of the resources available, because there are a lot. For example, through the Urban Leadership Internship Program I was able to work at the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern. Students often don't really know about things like that — things that are available to everyone or that might, by some slight chance, be available to you. The fact that this type of opportunity is not as well publicized as it could be and that it requires your effort to find out about it, I think, is the greatest obstacle.
YS: How did you find out about these opportunities?
CS: Through a lot of my mentors.
Changing from an introvert to an extrovert ... has made this career choice possible, because you don't want to be a shy lawyer.
YS: Let's talk about what you feel has been your greatest accomplishment here at Miami.
CS: Changing from an introvert to an extrovert [chuckles].
That is the result of a lot of the things that I've done that have really helped open me up and made me more outgoing. This has made this career choice possible, because you don't want to be a shy lawyer.
YS: You don't hear about them, they are just so shy.
Nothing really ever sparked my interest like law. Everything about it seemed so interesting, whether it was the stuff that you would see on TV or the real stuff you learned from talking with real people.
YS: When did you decide to pursue a career in law?
CS: I was one of those little kids who would make people sign contracts whenever they made me a promise [big laugh], so it was kind of a long time ago, but I solidified it in high school. I was applying for college and thinking about all of the things that I could do and the schools that were best for those things. Nothing really ever sparked my interest like law. Everything about it seemed so interesting, whether it was the stuff that you would see on TV or the real stuff you learned from talking with real people.
YS: What are you most anticipating about law school?
CS: The work. I'm scared [big laugh] ... I am scared. But I'm up for the challenge.
YS: You'll be in D.C.?
CS: Yeah. It will be a lot of fun, I hope.
Take advantage of the new Pre-Law Program. It wasn't available when I was an underclassman or even for much of my time as an upperclassman, but the experience that I have gained from it this past year has been great ... phenomenal!
YS: What advice would you give to underclassmen who are considering law school?
CS: Take advantage of the new Pre-Law Program. It wasn't available when I was an underclassman or even for much of my time as an upperclassman, but the experience that I have gained from it this past year has been great ... phenomenal! So I would definitely say, take advantage of it ... and enjoy your time as an undergrad.
YS: Before the Pre-Law Program started, where did you receive most of your information about law school?
CS: Family or the Internet. I'm, like, a Google nerd; I like to research things. I also received information from my mentors.
YS: What did you find most useful about the Pre-Law Program?
CS: Assistance with writing my personal statement [laugh]. I was freaking out about that, but some of the programs such as the Young Lawyers Panel, as well as just talking with students who currently are in law school, provided a lot of insight.
Each person has a different perspective; this was especially evident with the law student panel. It was nice seeing that some students kind of freaked out but then calmed down and got into the groove. Like when one young man said that he took the Miami undergrad mentality of working hard and playing hard with him to law school. It was nice to know that you can still have a life.
YS: What suggestions do you have for developing our Pre-Law Program?
CS: Expanding outreach. Making sure that people know about the center and that students feel like it is somewhere they can really come — regardless of whether they are solid in their decision to go to law school or they are unsure.
YS: Is there anything else you want to add that may be helpful to those students who are going to reading this?
CS: Good luck and get involved!