Outstanding Law Student of the Month Award
The VLP is pleased to announce that Kate Curl has been selected as our Outstanding Law Student Volunteer for the month of October 2014. Kate is a second year law student at the University of Arizona. She currently participates in the VLP’s Minor Guardianship Court Project, and she’s also a member of the VLP’s newly formed Student Advisory Group. Kate is a pleasure to work with, and the VLP can’t thank her enough for the time she donates to assist people in need.
Kate is a native Tucsonan, but grew up in El Paso, TX. She moved back to Tucson for high school and considers Tucson her home. Kate left Tucson again to attend undergrad at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and International Affairs and graduated magna cum laude.
After acquiring her BA, Kate was the Operations and Development Officer for Natural Capitalism Solutions – a Colorado nonprofit that works to educate government and business leaders about environmental sustainability. In this role, Kate co-authored the online resource Climate Protection Manual for Cities as well as helped with grant writing, donor cultivation, and event organizing.
Kate also spent two years in The Gambia, West Africa as a Peace Corps member. She worked as an Environmental and Natural Resource Management volunteer, serving as the interim program head for a local nonprofit. She organized and conducted trainings and events on beekeeping, composting, tree planting, resource conservation, climate change, and deforestation.
After the Peace Corps, Kate moved back to Tucson and enrolled in the University of Arizona’s School of Geography and Development to obtain a Master of Arts with a graduate certificate in water policy. During this time, she also worked as a research assistant for the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy where she researched decision-making in land and water management in riparian regions of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.
Before completing her Master’s program, Kate decided to also pursue a J.D. Kate told us that she stayed at U of A for law school because it has strong programs in both environmental and indigenous peoples law, which are two of Kate’s main interests. Kate also considers herself lucky to have been placed in Professor Jaime Ratner’s small section her first semester of law school. According to Kate, “Not only does [Professor Ratner] make Contracts fun and engaging, he makes it clear to all his students that we can talk to him about anything and that once you’re a Ratnerite, you’re always a Ratnerite.”
As a law student, Kate is involved with the Environmental Law Society, Native American Law Student’s Association, and the Law Women’s Association. Kate also joined the VLP her first semester of law school, participating in the Domestic Relations Project. When asked why she chose to join VLP, Kate said she “wanted to gain practical legal skills and serve the community at the same time.” She also said that she “love[s] that VLP gives [law students] the opportunity to start volunteering as soon as they start law school.” Kate explained that community service keeps her grounded by reminding her that her stress about school is small compared to some of the life problems with which she helps clients at the VLP projects.
In her spare time, Kate enjoys hiking, running, yoga, traveling, and reading. Kate “will [also] watch just about anything to avoid studying for an hour.”
In the future, Kate envisions herself practicing environmental law, or working on tribal issues for the government. Kate is also interested in working for a firm that represents tribes on natural resource issues.
Thank you, Kate, for being such a wonderful volunteer!