Sept. 16, 2021
Desire to help community drives pursuit of law
While volunteering with Amnesty International leading a youth workshop in 2019, first-year law student Amanda Cha was able to attend the organization’s annual general meeting. During that experience, she learned the work that human rights lawyers do to serve the community and those in need. It was that experience that set her on a path to pursue a legal education.
“Before attending that AGM, I hadn’t even thought of becoming a lawyer, it never came up,” says Cha. “When I heard those people talk about their experiences, I thought 'Wow, this could be the career'.”
Cha, who was born in South Korea and immigrated to Calgary in junior high school, completed a combined degree in philosophy and psychology at UCalgary this past June.
I enjoyed the balance between the scientific research aspect of psychology, which involved statistics and learning new software, and the philosophical research that involved critical thinking and argument construction. Furthermore, knowledge gained in each discipline complemented my studies in the other.
Desire for career beyond academia
After working on various research projects in her undergrad, including studies in psychology and the workplace and a philosophical look into the role industry plays in scientific research, Cha had a feeling that she wanted to move beyond a career in academia.
“I absolutely love philosophy and thinking critically about things that we take for granted, things that we haven’t thought about,” she explains. “But I realized that it’s really difficult for people without higher education to be engaged in this conversation. So even though I truly love the subject, I wanted to find something that would allow me to help my community, and to solve the societal issues that are often discussed through philosophy.”
Active volunteer throughout undergrad
Cha was an active volunteer throughout her undergrad studies, reviving the campus Philosophy Club, organizing bi-weekly debates and career panels. She also sits on the board of the Canadian Bioethics Society as the undergraduate student-at-large, and had a role as a campus mentor for three years.
As a result of her academic success and community involvement, Cha is the 2021 recipient of the Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP Entrance Scholarship, the law school’s most prestigious scholarship.
"In addition to easing the financial burden of law school, this scholarship acknowledges and appreciates the hard work I have put into my academics and volunteer work. It validates the choices I made throughout my undergraduate studies, and I couldn’t be happier to be recognized for that."