I was raised by a single mother with only a high school degree, leaving my family below the poverty line all of my life. As a first-generation college student, I know that higher education is not a right, but rather a privilege. My mother instilled not only a love of learning in me but also an understanding of her hardships so that I would enjoy a better life. By instilling the values of intellectual curiosity and hard work, my mother has helped me become the first one in my immediate family to graduate from college and the only person in my extended family to pursue graduate study of any kind.
My initial interest in law arose from my early experiences in the court system to escape my abusive father. Thanks to an army of supportive attorneys and sympathetic judges, we obtained a protection from abuse order and established mandated child support. I acknowledge that my current position is thanks to the aid of others and the grace of God. From the lawyer who worked the pro bono case against my father, to the financial aid I received to attend Georgetown University, my life and experiences have depended heavily on help from others. I believe that it is very important for everyone to help one’s fellow man, but it is particularly important for me to give back because of all of the opportunities I have received.
Seeing the ability of the legal system to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people has made me want to help others navigate the system. I plan to commit a significant portion of my time to pro bono work. I want to work to defend children and families, specifically working to ensure educational and disability rights for low-income children and families who would not be able to seek legal remedies without lawyers willing to donate their time.
In my undergraduate coursework, I have sought to hone my literary skills and pursued my interests in law, children, and education to better prepare me the career I intend to pursue. This May I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Government. Specifically, I have taken major classes in Constitutional Law as a foundation for my future legal study, as well as child development and education classes that will better prepare me for my eventual work with children’s issues. For the past three summers, I have worked with the Delaware Department of Justice to affect change on a small scale before receiving my JD and gain real-world experience in the field I plan to enter.
Last fall, I also had the opportunity to work with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability law, conducting in-depth research of disability law cases like the ones on which I hope to eventually work. Thus far I worked with children and families to remedy some of the problems in my community, but I hope to make an even greater impact in law school and beyond.
JustJobs.com’s scholarship program is proud to announce Ashley Kempczynski as one of the seven finalists for its August 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.