February 20, 2020

Group of law school visitors with students

On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, eighth grade students from San Miguel School in Washington, D.C., visited Catholic Law to learn about law school and what it takes to become a lawyer.

As the took their seats in Slowinski Courtroom, Father Raymond O’Brien excitedly welcomed them to the Law School. Father O’Brien then introduced Dean Stephen C. Payne to say a few words. Dean Payne shared the importance of education and the doors that it can open, as well as how lawyers help to build a world that is fair and just.

Group of aw students in courtroom

Katie Crowley, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Dean of Students then introduced four current Catholic Law students to speak with the group about how they decided to attend law school. Members of the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)Kenny Walters (3L), Nico Valderrama (2L), Krystina Dorta (2L), Rick Gomez (1L), and Aimee Solano (2L), each shared about where they were from, what drove their passion for the law, and what it is like to attend law school.

law student talking in the courtroom

Following the first panel, several San Miguel students participated in a mock trial with members of the Trial Team, Vania Smith (4L), Taylor Dontje (3L), and Garrett Tracey (2L). Volunteers sat on a jury and assisted in representing the defendant and the prosecution. Students were also able to ask the Trial Team questions about the competition. Smith shared about the team’s—and her—success as 2019 National Trial Champions.

law student panel discussion

After a tour of the Law School, the group enjoyed lunch and a final panel. Javier Bustamante, director of the Center for Cultural Engagement, gave a brief presentation on Take Flight, a program at The Catholic University of America geared at helping first-generation college students adjust to college life. Then returning panelists Walters, Valderrama, Dorta, Tracey, and Dontje were joined by Anna Gonzalez (2L), Hector Martinez (2L), and Armin Mohseni (2L)––also members of LALSA––to discuss their plans for after law school.

The visit concluded with a few minutes for San Miguel School students to mingle with panelist before departing with a few gifts from the University.