Our students talk about #excellencewithoutbarriers

Wanekia (Kia) Dunn, JD 2019, Newton Rowell Bursary Recipient

Wanekia (Kia) DunnHometown: Ottawa

Undergraduate degree[s]: Moral Philosophy/Psychology

Undergraduate institution[s]: Carleton University, University of Delhi

I chose to pursue law as I saw it as the practical and applied extension of the moral philosophy I'd pursued previously. A career in law offers a unique intersectional opportunities between theory, business, policy and legal practice itself; the skills it teaches as well as the doors it opens seemed like the most relevant step I could take in pursuing a broad agenda of public benefit and service.

The Faculty of Law’s reputation for being among the best law schools in the world certainly didn't hurt but the decisive reason for me was its combination of expertise in business while also having a growing and dedicated interest in Aboriginal law; I see the intersection of those areas as critical in the future of Canada's legal landscape.

Both with and outside the legal community the recognition is pretty universal, usually with a joke which underplays its merits such as, "Oh, just U of T? Well I guess if you couldn't get in anywhere else…"

It's been a very worthwhile experience overall and I have no doubt I made the right choice. The level of challenge is intense but it's only so due to being commensurate with the opportunities we're afforded to excel.

In broad terms, my goal is to be of service to my community. In more specific terms, I see a need around corporate social responsibility and Aboriginal law, both independently and in relation to one another, so I'm taking a broad view and keeping my eyes open for opportunities to address those gaps.

I simply would not be able to afford law school without the myriad financial supports available. More than that, it allows me to participate in the community on par with other students who may have more resources at their disposal and I've never felt at a disadvantage for financial reasons.

I know for a lot of people, when they look for an institution to support they want it to make a real difference. When you support law schools and their students, you’re making a difference for people who spend their careers making a difference, so the effect is exponential and that's just a good-sense investment.

Student financial aid is so important for two primary reasons. First, it sets the tone. It’s difficult to come out of an expensive law school education process and immediately think about giving to others, yet knowing that the opportunity was itself afforded to you due to the generosity of others impresses upon a young lawyer their obligation to make paying that generosity forward an integral part of their practice. Second, it levels the playing field. Considering the impact and influence one can have during their career as a lawyer, it's imperative that opportunities remain open to all in our society and that the social bonds and communities formed during a law school education are broadly inclusive and representative of Canada's population.

Think of how the law affects your life, now think of the impact lawyers and judges can have. What kinds of lawyers and judges do you want deciding issues for you and your children? This is your chance to help ensure a fair and representative portion of Canadian society attains those positions on their merits.

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