This week, you can read about two of IPLP's current students, Joy Parker, a 2L who spent her summer working for the National Council on Urban Indian Health in Washington, DC, and 3L Martie Simmons, the new president of the Native American Law Student Association at the College of Law.
Please also join me in welcoming former White House advisor Karen Diver to the University of Arizona.
Second-year JD student Joy Parker was born and raised in Minnesota and moved from the north woods on the shore of Lake Superior to Tucson to attend law school.
"I literally moved from the coldest areas in the country to the hottest area in the country, and from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. I was worried about missing the snow and frozen, cracking lakes and trees up north, but the saguaros have welcomed me and I have fallen in love with the Sonoran desert!"
Joy brings a wealth of experiences from her former career as a midwife and health policy advocate to the study of law. In her work as a midwife, Joy found herself doing more and more advocacy work in addition to the clinical and organizational work she was doing in service to her community.
She enjoyed experiences that included working as an appointee on a maternity care committee for Minnesota Governor Pawlenty, working on two major legislative efforts, drafting policy position statements as president of her statewide professional organization, and testifying before Congressional committees on issues related to health equity and reproductive justice.
At Arizona Law, Joy is enrolled in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy certificate program and is also interested in environmental law. As a lawyer, she hopes to advocate for justice at the intersection of health, environmental and Native issues. She says her goal is to work on policy at the national level, either for a non-profit organization or public interest firm, and to live somewhere small and wonderful with access to wilderness areas nearby (like Tucson!).
Joy says of her recent summer experience that she is immensely grateful for the guidance and support that enabled her to seize the opportunity to work for the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) in Washington, DC. The NCUIH is a national nonprofit devoted to the support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally competent health services for the 78 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people living in urban settings.
Joy initially connected with the organization while visiting Arizona Law as a prospective student.
"While visiting, I met the executive director of NCUIH,
('13), in Professor Rob Williams' office. As an IPLP alumni, she had stopped by to say hi, and the rest is history, as they say!"
Joy's work for NCUIH this summer included a variety of writing projects, like comments on proposed rules as part of the statutory conferring process, resolutions and reports to Congress, white papers in collaboration with other national organizations that analyze health policy and its potential impacts across the Indian health system, and a substantial internal memo.
"This work was very fulfilling for me because it is situated squarely at the intersection of my professional background as a midwife, my Abenaki heritage and identity, my current studies in indigenous peoples' law and policy, and my passion for social justice. The experience of working at a national policy organization in DC my 1L summer was invaluable and the relationships forged laboring alongside such brilliant folks with shared values will help carry me forward in my learning and advocacy work."
Joy is especially thankful to the Justice Advocates Coalition (JAC) and to the National Native American Law Students Association (NNALSA) for awarding fellowship funds that made it possible for her to even consider going to DC to work for NCUIH.
"It takes a lot of hard work to find positions and to secure funding for this type of work, as the mainstream still flows towards big law and government. I am eager to be available to anyone who has questions and am happy to pass on any bits of knowledge I gained from my summer experience."
Thank you, Joy, for sharing your story and your summer experience with all of us.
Q&A with NALSA President, Martie Simmons (3L)
Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) President
shares her tips for 1Ls and plans for a mentorship program with Native attorneys in this
Q&A featured on the College of Law website
. Read on!
3L (Class of 2020)
resident of NALSA
What are you looking forward to this year?
I am looking forward to planning events for Indigenous Peoples Day and Native American Heritage Month. It's going to be a busy and eventful year.
As a 3L, I am also excited to finish the JD program, graduate, and find a great job.
What are your goals as NALSA president?
My main goal is to work with outside organizations and create a mentorship program that matches our students with Native attorneys working in Tucson and Phoenix.
Why should students be involved in NALSA (or any other student organizations)?
We are an inclusive group that works hard at fostering a strong community for our members. There are 20+ federally recognized tribes in Arizona alone; if students decide to stay here after graduation, it is likely that they will work on cases that affect tribes. Joining NALSA will create a strong network for you to lean on even after law school, and you don't need to be Native American to join.
What do you think everyone should experience as an Arizona Law student?
I highly recommend taking Federal Indian Law, even if you don't plan on working in Indian Country. It would be beneficial to have that knowledge base regardless of your chosen field of interest. Also, "hands-on" experience with our clinics. There are so many options here at the University of Arizona. The school does a great job providing you with real-life experiences.
What do you think everyone should experience living in Tucson?
Hiking up Sentinel Peak gives you an amazing view of all of Tucson. I have yet to make it up to Mount Lemmon, but it is in the plans.
Favorite hangout spot on campus?
The NALSA lounge in Rountree Hall.
What three words come to mind when you think of Arizona Law?
Community, growth, and networking.
Advice for 1Ls?
It is really easy to get into a new place and immediately form cliques. Get out of your comfort zone and create a variety of networks that will help you beyond school. You never know when one day you might need to lean on your classmates for help.
Your biggest accomplishment at Arizona Law so far?
Working in the Human Rights Advocacy Clinic that assists Indigenous people as they fight against oil pipelines.
What are your future career plans?
I plan to work in Indian Country and with tribes to help our Native children stay connected to their culture.
Former White House Adviser Karen Diver Joins UA in New Role to Expand Native American Student, Faculty Advancement
Karen R. Diver
(Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) has been appointed as director of business development for the University of Arizona Strategic Plan's Native American Advancement and Tribal Engagement Initiative, a joint position through the College of Law and Native Nations Institute.
Her role will support the Strategic Plan by securing the financial resources and partnerships necessary to support the achievement, sustainability, and expansion of Native American advancement at the University of Arizona. To that end, she will be working with tribes throughout the United States to increase Native American student and faculty recruitment and retention.
Diver expressed enthusiasm for her new role, recently stating,
"It's exciting to join a team from across the University to grow our relationships and service to Indian country. The new Master of Professional Studies in Indigenous Governance is a natural extension of the Graduate Certificate program and January in Tucson initiative that allows tribes to strategically focus on growing their current and future leaders."
Diver served under President Obama's Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs from November 2015 through the end of the Administration. As part of the Domestic Policy Council, she assisted with inter-agency efforts, policy, and regulatory changes to benefit 567 Native American tribes.
Diver also served as Chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa from 2007-2015. Her duties included acting as CEO of the reservation's corporate boards and stewarding the 2nd largest employer in northern Minnesota, with over 2,200 employees. Diver also served as Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Vice-President from 2009-2015. Most recently, she served as the inaugural Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence for Native American Affairs at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.
Third Session of Course on Civic Leadership Skills,
College of Law alumni are invited to participate -- in one session or multiple sessions -- of a fascinating and timely course being taught by
Leading Across the Divide:
Civic Leadership Skills for Troubled Times.
The course is held every Monday through November 18 from 5:30-7:20 p.m. (full syllabus).
Join us for the next session on Monday, September 23:
Jeanette Maré, founder of Ben's Bells, and
Leslie Langbert, executive director of the UA Center for Compassion Studies
Topic: Empathy and Compassion. The role of empathy and compassion in building relationships and community. The skills of empathy allow you to understand the views and motivations of others, particularly those with whom you have the least in common - people with different life experiences, political views or ethnic backgrounds. At higher levels, empathy allows you to stand outside yourself and see how others view you, which is critical to effective leadership. We will explore various aspects of empathy, its importance and how to cultivate the skills of empathy and compassion and bring those skills to difficult conversations with our partners, clients, and adversaries.
If you would like to attend next Monday, or for any of the sessions between now and November 18, contact Nancy Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Bear Down Network
Join to access networking and career development opportunities exclusive to Wildcats. Once you've signed up, you can find classmates by looking for the College of Law group.
The IPLP program, and the many initiatives connected to and growing from that program, have for many years been a shining light at Arizona Law.
The new University of Arizona Strategic Plan emphasizes student success, superb and transformative research, a deep connection to people and place, a global perspective, and our institutional ability to innovate and adapt.
IPLP, Professor Williams and other faculty, and the superb students who study in IPLP classes and degree programs embody all of those goals.