Sept. 10, 2019

Shift in thinking opens doors for avid volunteer and first-year law student

Selwynne Hawkins receives Dean of Law Award of Excellence
Selwynne Hawkins
Selwynne Hawkins started the joint JD/MPP in September Adrian Shellard

After taking a year off when she completed her undergrad degree at McGill University, Selwynne Hawkins was excited to start law school.

“I miss being in school, and the friendly-competitive environment,” she says with a smile.

Hawkins started her journey in the JD/MPP program, a joint degree with The School of Public Policy, this month, which is a bit of a different path compared to the joint physiology and physics degree she earned in Montreal. After working on some research projects with a cardiologist specializing in MRIs, she started to lean more toward the social side of medicine instead of the science side. 

“I never thought about being a lawyer when I was growing up. I always thought I’d end up in medicine. Now I can see myself working in public interest law, where I can combine science and law to help make policy changes in the system.”

Hawkins’s hard work is one of the reasons she was chosen to receive the Faculty of Law’s Dean of Law Award of Excellence; she is also an avid volunteer, dividing her time between Momentum, where she  tutors math, and doing communications work with the Elizabeth Fry Society.

Hawkins was born and raised in Calgary, and was excited to stay close to home for law school. She also wants to practise in Calgary or southern Alberta, and knew UCalgary Law was well-known for its connection to the legal community.

“I’ve heard from current students that the Career and Professional Development Office is a fantastic resource. I’m confident that, with their support, I’ll be successful when I’m ready to start looking for work in the legal marketplace.”

Hawkins also knows that the law school’s Calgary Curriculum will be an asset to her career path.

“I really like that the curriculum is less traditional compared to other law schools,” she says. “I don’t know if I am going to be practising law when I’m done the joint program, but I think that UCalgary Law will set me up for success, no matter where I land.”