Jah-Neyce Carter had no objection to spending her summer break studying law.
“The experience solidified my drive to get into law school,” the St. Joseph’s College criminal justice major said after a four-week internship at the prestigious Saint Louis University School of Law.
While living on the university’s campus, Carter attended high-level courses and lectures at the law school, home to the highest ranked health care law program in the country.
“We heard from tons of attorneys that practice in different areas of the law — education, tax, corporate, employment — and I was able to speak to some current SLU Law students,” said Carter, a sophomore at SJC Brooklyn.
Carter sat in classrooms and courtrooms alongside law students, learning the basic skills and competencies of a legal professional. The internship, an immersive experience designed for minority groups underrepresented in the legal profession, was offered through LSAC’s DiscoverLaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program.
“My favorite experience was our field trip to a county courthouse,” she said. “We were allowed to step inside the juvenile facility within the courthouse. That was the practical experience law school students always talk about receiving, where you actually get to see the things that you’re studying about.”
The program gave Carter a firsthand view of the skills and training required of lawyers who work to serve their community and bring about social change.
Most importantly, Carter appreciated the underlying mission of the program, which was to encourage diversity in the field.
“Coming from a high school where I was in the racial majority, I chose St. Joseph’s because I was interested in attending a school with more diversity,” she said. “SJC has an environment where all students have a space to express themselves — I’ve met international students, and students from varied religious and racial minority groups.
Her time in St. Louis this summer fueled Carter’s passion for learning as much as she can about the legal system.
“Not only do I want to do criminal defense work, but I’ve become heavily interested in death penalty work,” she said, referring to a classroom discussion about the state of Arkansas recent efforts to expedite executions of inmates on death row before their legal injection drugs expired.
Carter heard about the internship from Ellen Burti, director of the career development and engagement office.
“Since I’ve gotten back (from St. Louis), every time I have a chance to talk to her, I thank her for forwarding me the email to apply,” Carter said.