Earlier this summer, Alexandria Wilson traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to attend a two-week intensive academic, community, and field experience where students from across the country learned about issues pertaining to social justice and inequity, particularly for people living in poverty and on the margins.
When we spoke to Alexandria about her experience, she said, “It was a very full-circle moment for my life, because I learned [a lot about the civil rights movement] outside of school — and some of it in school — but to see [those places in person] was something I could never imagine me being able to do if my university hadn’t sponsored me to go to the trip.”
Alexandria was able to visit the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, among other historically important sites. She said her family is from down south, so she could have been standing in the very spot where her ancestors were sold into slavery. “I cried — it was very emotional,” she said.
Alexandria is a Give Back Scholar attending Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, and she was selected to participate in the program by the McLaughlin Social Justice Institute of Lasallian Practice.
Her favorite part of the trip, she said, was fostering a community of people she met in the program. “I feel like I made lifelong friends,” she said. People who are interested in the same things.
Together, they spent time working with Catholic Charities to pack meals for those in need. Alexandria explained that the trip was split into two sessions and they “competed” to see who could pack more meals. (Alexandria’s group beat the record set by the first session.) “To know that I was giving my time for the greater good and for a bigger cause than myself was very powerful for me,” she said.
This fall, Alexandria will be entering her senior year at Lewis University, where she plans to finish up her double major in Paralegal Studies and Peace & Justice Studies — with a minor in Political Science and a pre-law concentration. Her #1 goal coming out of university is to move on to law school, and her ultimate dream is to one day become a judge. But before that happens, she’d love to work as an attorney for the public defender’s office — standing up for the “little guy.”
When asked what receiving the Give Something Back scholarship has meant to her, Alexandria said, “The Give Something Back scholarship has allowed me to take on things that I never expected I would do. […] Give Something Back allowed me to believe in myself and see that I am worthy.”
When it comes to giving back after graduation, Alexandria said she wants to start her own small mentorship program to mentor kids who are interested in a career in law. She explained that getting into college is hard, but navigating graduate-level programs can be just as daunting, if not more so.
She’d also love to branch out by starting a scholarship of her own. She has a couple ideas on the types of students she’d like to give scholarships to and for what purposes. Specifically: helping students afford LSAT prep. Alexandria said it can be expensive, and she doesn’t want the Law School Admissions Test to keep anyone from reaching their dream of becoming a lawyer or judge.
Alexandria will have plenty of time to think about how she’d like to give back over the next few years, and we’re sure it will be on her mind a lot.
She said, “In the future, giving back is definitely my top priority. Giving back to every organization that has given to me. But I don’t have everything planned out…yet!”
Good luck with your final year of undergrad, Alexandria! We can’t wait to see where you go from here!