Katherine Sanchez, University of Arizona Law School
by Teresa Cajot
When Sanchez started law school, she had a three-week old infant, a four year old, and a seven year old at home. Unlike most students who would spend their free time in the student lobby, Sanchez took her breaks in the lactation room, which was located in the library. ''It's just a study room that's been altered but the fact that it's there shows how supportive the school is,'' said Sanchez, who credits the supportive faculty and staff with helping her through her first year.
However, the University of Arizona, as a whole, is not new to Sanchez. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and her Master's Degree in Education from the university before starting work as a middle-school teacher. Despite the familiar location, Sanchez insists that life as a law student has few similarities to her previous experience at the University of Arizona. As a law student, Sanchez finds that much of her time is spent in the law library. She points out that although the main campus is just one street away from the James E. Rogers College of Law, it seems very isolated. ''Personally, I like that,'' says Sanchez.
Before entering law school in 2009, Sanchez spent six years teaching Spanish and social studies with the Tucson Unified School District. She also taught at a facility that was run by the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections in Tucson for the duration of one year. While there, she taught juvenile delinquent males, assisted in creating personalized lesson plans, and prepared students for the G.E.D. exam. As a Spanish speaker, Sanchez also performed translation services at the schools that she taught at. She largely attributes her Spanish language skills to her time spend studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, as an undergraduate student.
Upon entering law school, Sanchez was quick to get involved. During orientation, she established an interest in the Volunteer Lawyers Project's (VLP) minor guardianship clinic. ''It seemed like a fun and interesting way to get some real experience, not just reading and writing,'' explained Sanchez. In November of 2010, the VLP honored her services by presenting her with the monthly Outstanding Law Student Volunteer award.
According to Sanchez, the clinic taught her the importance of using language that clients can understand. ''Being in law school, we forget how to speak like humans and turn into Law Robots,'' said Sanchez, who also served as an interpreter for the clinic's Spanish-speaking clients. She further noted that through her work as an interpreter, she was able to overcome the divide that is often created when presenting clients with legal information that sounds like a foreign language.
During her second year of law school, Sanchez wrote for the Arizona Journal for International and Comparative Law and during the most recent school year, she served as the Secretary for the Latino Law Student Association.