Article from NY Daily News
These girls are raising the bar for ways to spend summer vacation.
Female high school students from the Bronx and Westchester County are participating in a weeklong summer law program at Pace Law School in White Plains, beginning Monday.
The program was started three years ago by Bronx County Supreme CourtJustice La Tia Martin, and is offered to young minority women from disadvantaged homes.
“It really is a phenomenal program that gives high school female students an opportunity to interact with judges, lawyers and professors,” said Martin, who started the summer academy as president of the New York chapter of theNational Association of Women Judges.
“It also teaches them life skills, study skills and leadership qualities,” she said, adding that she hopes to expand the program to eight weeks.
This year’s class of would-be legal eagles boasts 23 students from Westchester, 10 students from the Bronx and two students from other areas. About 40 girls applied for the free session, which offers a stipend at the end of the session.
Next week, the girls will be heading to Washington for private tours of the Supreme Court, the Capitol and, possibly, the White House.
“I’m interested in learning more about the little things that have to do with the law,” said Francesca Martin, 15. “In mock trial, everything is pretty much handed to you.”
The timely program is taking off as high-profile cases, such as that of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Casey Anthony, are in the headlines.
“Domestic violence and criminal matters are involving more women – more women seem to be prosecuted – and we’re also going to discuss same-sex marriage, cyber-bullying and human trafficking,” Martin said.
Aqsa Nadeem, 18, participated in the program its first two summers, and is now a mentor. She said being around strong female role models made her a more confident public speaker.
“I didn’t even know some laws existed,” marveled the Yonkers resident. “Our professor showed us actual trials and asked us to analyze them. It was a great opportunity.”
Nadeem plans to study biology at Drexel University in the fall, but she is keeping her options open.
“Now I’m looking at law as well after this program,” she said. “I met a woman who was a lawyer and a pediatric doctor, so I guess maybe I can do both, too!”