Thursday March 9, 2017

Student Profile: Julia Court

University of Dayton senior Julia Court spent the summer of 2016 in London interning with Hibiscus Initiatives through the Global Flyers program. The 16-semester honor roll student from Cincinnati is a double-major in political science and human rights studies, with a double-minor in sociology and women's and gender studies. She hopes to someday pursue her dreams of solving social issues.

Tell me about your interning experience in London with Hibiscus Initiatives. What is the importance of the work being done there?

With the Global Flyers Program, we teamed with an organization called CAPA to find internships in London. When they found Hibiscus Initiatives and asked me if I would be interested in working with women in the prison system, I was a little caught off guard but I was interested in trying something new. I got to interact with some prisoners and hear about their lives before prison and how they got there. It was really jarring, to be honest. It makes you step back and look at your life. The program really helps people get back on their feet, especially when there is no one there for them. It helps provide resources for when they're in prison trying to navigate their legal situation. When they are released, Hibiscus assigns them food stamps and temporary housing until they can find something better. Often times, they help with custody of children. My main task was to find organizations to partner with Hibiscus and help women in need to become stable after jail. Some of these partners could be lawyers who would be willing to work pro bono or other non-profit housing organizations that could provide housing for these women.

Would you recommend the Global Flyers program to other students?

Yeah, it was really great. It is a good opportunity to experience other people and other cultures. London itself is very diverse. I had never been out the country so it was a good first experience, especially because I had the support of UD.

What inspired you to double major in political science and human rights studies and minor in sociology and women’s and gender studies?

When I came to UD, I was only a political science major. I was interested in politics in high school so I thought I’d give it a try. I was in some classes that mentioned human rights and I also met some human rights students in my classes. It was interesting to hear what they were talking about in class. I took Politics of Human Rights as an elective and loved it. I ended up taking a couple of sociology classes because they counted for the Common Academic Program and I thought the subject matter was interesting. Then, I ended up taking classes related to women's issues and just thought it was great, so I picked it up also. It has been so interesting, all of the subject matter connects to each other in an interesting way.

What is your main focus in your work?

Understanding how people organize, and relate to their government and third-party organizations. With women’s issues, obviously women are not completely equal in our society. I think it is fascinating to understand why and then try and figure out solutions. It is an interesting local application to global ideas that I think is interesting. I like trying to solve social issues.

How did your other internships in the Cincinnati Mayor’s Office and the National Confectioners Association in Washington D.C. impact your educational experience and career goals?

My internship at the mayor’s office was my first internship. It was interesting to see how government can help solve problems. That is how I became very interested in solving real-world problems. The Confectioners internship was totally different. It is interesting to work for a lobby group if your values do not match theirs. It was a fascinating insight into that kind of industry. I learned I did not want to be a lobbyist; I’d rather work in the interest of others or in the grand scheme of things.

What type of work do you wish to pursue?

I am looking for something in local government or something that has to do with government relations for private corporations. I am also looking into nonprofit work.

From your three internships, what is one valuable tip or insight you gained?

Just always be willing to do more work. A lot of times with internships, you aren't doing something 100 percent of the time. If you constantly ask for more work, your supervisors will think of you in a better way. They will be more likely to give you something that you want to do and help you later in your career, which is super important in the social sciences. Also, being a dedicated, hard worker will get you far, too.

You play on the University Quidditch team and also help foster service dogs in training as part of the 4 Paws for Ability partnership. How have these organizations contributed to your experience at UD?

The Quidditch team was fun; it’s not your typical college activity. I've made a bunch of friends through it. It is crazy how I have watched the expansion of the team since my freshman year. 4 Paws was great. I co-fostered a dog, Darling, with my roommates last semester. It was a crash course in caring for another creature while balancing your own life. I learned a lot about myself through the experience.

With graduation in May, I know it can be bittersweet. What will you miss most about UD?

It is hard to think I am not going to come back. I think campus is beautiful, and suddenly I am not going to be in the community. I am going to miss the friendliness of all the faculty and students.

- Dawnn Fann 19’

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