I started working at the office of the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney (SCPA), Major Crimes Unit as an intern when I was 17 years old, during my first year of college. At the time, I felt an urgency to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life. As a political science major, with an interest in law school, I wanted to know the reality of being a prosecutor.
I sent an email to Gayle Ervin, a lead prosecutor in Spokane, in hopes of setting up a meeting to learn more about her profession. After the discussion, she introduced me to Annette Ingham, the Victims’ Advocate supervisor over the Major Crimes Unit. I told Annette that I worked and was going to school full-time, but I wanted to be involved in their work. She offered me an internship, and I ended up working there for over two years.
As an intern, I had the opportunity to be a part of several gang, major crime, sexual assault and domestic violence trials. During the trials, my responsibility was to help victims and witnesses of crimes. These are people who need support and comfort, but also guidance through the criminal justice system. I will always remember a murder case that I sat in on. The family of the deceased came to meet with the prosecutor and the victim’s advocate, who reviewed possible sentencing and outcomes. In that often harsh and emotional meeting, I witnessed the toll crime has on victims and their families, and the importance of an advocate as a provider of comfort and kindness.
That experience felt similar to my previous years of community service at the Worthy Boys and Girls camp in my hometown of Rock Hill, SC. My experience at the camp was with underprivileged children who were often victims of crime, something I learned listening to their diverse, and often dark, backgrounds. I had to be strong for these girls but also show kindness and be their comfort for the time being.
My array of community service has highlighted the idea that with anything, you must have kindness, but you must also be strong and fierce to invoke change. I remember my application process to law school, it was long and I was so anxious about getting in (which is completely normal). I remember reading the stories of all the Thomas More scholars and thinking wow, they are all extraordinary! Which they are, but I remembered that we all have our own individual story and our own reasons why we want to go to law school. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing school and cohort!