Thursday, September 10, 2015

Niveda Anandan

Part of our series of profiles of some of the newest law students this year. Read more here.

By Suzanne Bowness

Niveda Anandan is drawn to the power of words in whatever form they take—whether a literary text or a legal brief. Now the 23-year-old is taking that interest straight into the combined JD/MA (English) program, seeing a distinct fluidity between the two subjects.

“I've always had an interest in language and words and the power they can have on people in general. Law was fascinating because it was this codified set of sentences and words that had an impact on how society worked, how people thought, and what our moral code was. It was English literature put to a practical everyday use,” says Anandan. The daughter of war refugees from Sri Lanka, she's the first in her family to attend university—but in spite of that, she says she’s known she wanted to go to law school since age 11.

She’s no stranger to U of T. The last five years were spent at the Scarborough campus pursuing a degree in English and psychology with a minor in biology. She also threw herself into extracurriculars. She worked as a publishing assistant for a UTSC initiative called Bioline International that provides a platform for scientists in developing countries to publish their work. She also called attention to health issues in the South Asian community, as a member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s health awareness committee on campus.  

“My volunteering experiences helped me realize that education is not a passive process, that simply going to your classes and writing exams would not help you ‘learn’ in the real sense of that word. Volunteering helped me apply what I had learned in classes and also taught me the importance of using knowledge for the betterment of the community.”

The law school's academic strengths and the joint option for a master’s degree in English attracted her to the Faculty of Law. While she plans to explore a couple of fields before settling on the one that’s right for her, her core motivation is to help others.

“With my law degree, I know that whether I go into intellectual property or whether I go into human rights or any other field, I want to make sure that I am empowering individuals and helping somehow.”