Sunday, August 31, 2014

9/5 NSOP Meet and Greet

We had a great time meeting the first-years at the NSOP Meet and Greet today!

Did you miss us today? Don't worry — we'll also be at Activities Day (12-4pm) and our Pre-Law Info Session (7pm) next Friday, September 5th!

Welcome, Class of 2018!

The Pre-Law Society will be at these NSOP events this Sunday and next Friday:
  • NSOP Meet and Greet (Aug 31: 2.30-3.30pm, Lerner Hall)
  • Activities Day (Sept 5: 12-4pm, College Walk)
  • Pre-Law Society Meet and Greet (Sept 5: After 7pm, location TBA)

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meet Our Board: Sahng-Ah Yoo, Co-President

Name, Hometown, Major:
Sahng-Ah Yoo
Milford, CT
Psychology | Pre-law

Current and Previous Roles on the Pre-Law Society Board:
I have the pleasure of serving as Co-President for the 2014-2015 school year. Previously, I was a general body member (’12-’13) and Pre-Professional Officer (’13-’14).

What are some of your "career highlights" and/or professional goals?
My interest in law slowly developed from my initial involvement and concerns with women’s rights. Looking back, a huge turning point was when I read Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn in high school. I became aware of sex trafficking, poverty, and truly inhumane deaths of women around the world and understood how abysmal education, healthcare and human rights protection have been in developing countries. But I also recognized and emphasize that this is a continuing issue in “developed countries” as well. 

Inspired, I got involved with women’s rights issues whenever I could – attending UN Millennium conferences, supporting national women’s rights initiatives, and creating a National Organization for Women chapter in my freshman year at college. Through these various activities, I realized that change should be made not only by direct service to individual sex-trafficked and abused women but also by systematic changes in this nation’s fundamental institutions. That is a part of the reason why, in more recent years, I have aspired to work in the legal and the judicial systems, specifically those of the public sector. I believe that the law remains the fundamental basis of our society both as a representative of our society’s ideals and as a precedent for future progress and societal maturity. 

This new-found interest in law led me to an internship with an immigration attorney at her law office, dealing with refugees and undocumented immigrants, especially related to students in higher education, culminating in a paper focused on translating the legal terminology to a more accessible language for college administrators and faculty and pushing them to use their voice to push for a more equal society. 

Recently, I completed an internship with the New York Civil Liberties Union as a Solomon and Seymour Fisher Fellow that gave me closer look and better appreciation for the kinds of issues and number of people it takes to keep non-profit human rights watchdog organizations alive and pertinent. All of their work was inspiring, but I found the criminal justice system problems to be the most fascinating and urgent – just think of the Orange is the New Black campaign, upcoming Hurrell-Harring case, and recent tragic police-shooting incidents and I’m sure you’ll understand why.

As a senior at Columbia University studying in the Psychology Honors Research Program and in the Pre-law Program, I am interested in promoting human rights through the justice system while understanding the psyche of our society and the underlying reasons for inhumane actions through psychology. 

Do you have any advice for other pre-law students at Columbia?
As strange as this may sound, I would advise incoming pre-law students to really just avoid over-focusing on law school and to focus on finding out what you enjoy doing, instead. Don’t think about law school – other than, perhaps, the LSAT. Rather, really spend the first couple years at Columbia taking intro courses for every major and after choosing one, really delving into it. I say this for two reasons:

1. Law schools, unlike med schools, don’t ask you to take certain courses and thus, the majors that are open to you are endless. Law schools are more interested in your academic prowess and ability to excel in a certain field so it’s important that you find something that is, if not a passion of yours, is at least something you can enjoy studying in depth.

2. As you develop your interests in a field, you may find that law school actually isn’t as appealing as grad school or another field of work. And this realization is more important that preparing for law school. Law school is a heavy investment, considering the amount of time, effort, and money that goes into it. Having a BA in something you were deeply invested in will help you no matter what you end up doing.

What's a fun fact about yourself?
I say this in every class the teacher makes us go around the table to introduce ourselves, so I’m not sure how “fun” this is anymore but my name means “Elephant Child.” 

There is a back story. If you’re interested, come find me at one of our Pre-law events!