Student Spotlight: “I Wouldn’t Have Even Known”

Since she was in high school, Karen Enomoto has known that she wanted to go to Georgetown Law after undergrad. The spring 2022 graduate studied politics and philosophy in order to prepare and started seeking out internships the spring of her freshman year. Enomoto quickly decided she wanted to graduate early and go straight to law school, but was lacking previous legal experience on her resumé. 

Trying to build up a more competitive law school application, Enomoto began attending Pitt’s career fairs. She was able to secure her first internship in spring 2021 at Pitt’s Institute of Politics, where she worked closely with Pennsylvania Representatives in their Harrisburg offices, reviewing policy memos and researching current issues.

Looking for another experience that would be less focused on legislation and more focused on legal issues, Enomoto attended the G2U Virtual Career Fair: Opportunities in Federal Government that the Pitt Career Center hosted. By networking at that fair, Enomoto was able to secure two separate internships, the first of which was with the National Labor Relations Board at their Pittsburgh field office.

If I hadn’t attended that fair, I wouldn’t have been able to make those connections and get those positions,” Enomoto says. “I wouldn’t have even known that the NLRB had a Pittsburgh-based branch.”

After completing the NLRB internship in the summer or 2021, Enomoto moved onto the second role she secured from the virtual career fair: a fall 2021 internship with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Aside from attending career fairs and gaining invaluable public service experience, Enomoto also relied on the Career Center to help bolster her law school applications. She met with Michelle Yingling, career consultant for pre-law students, who reviewed Enomoto’s documents and helped her navigate the application process.

I’m a first-generation law student, and the first person in my family to get a college degree in America,” Enomoto explains. “Michelle’s help was really useful. She read the drafts of all of my application essays and offered me expert advice about improving them.”

With this assistance, Enomoto was able to secure a spot at her dream school, Georgetown Law, starting in the fall of 2022. She plans to study civil rights and anti-discrimination law with a focus on racial justice.

“I’m so excited,” Enomoto expresses. “I really want to dedicate my life to public service, and the fact that I have the opportunity to go to grad school and the ability to pay for law school is a huge privilege. It’s gratifying for me to help the general community and I can’t wait to do impactful work.”

Enomoto, a student of color, has been able to feel a sort of inclusion in her legal work that she sometimes lacks at Pitt.

Pitt is a predominantly white institution, even more so in the humanities sector which is where I studied,” Enomoto notes. “I sometimes wished there were more groups to help support people of color, specifically for those studying law. During my internships, I definitely felt less ostracized since I was working one-on-one with just a few direct supervisors, and they were all virtual.”

Enomoto plans to partake in Georgetown Law’s RISE program, which helps support underrepresented students who don’t have the same connections in the legal field that others might have.

“It’s really comforting knowing I have that backup,” Enomoto says. “Having Michelle as a dedicated advisor during undergrad was helpful, too, because she was able to give me specific, law-related advice.”

Enomoto suggests that other students who visit the Career Center have specifics in mind when they arrive.

“It’s good to have an idea of what you want to talk about so you can ask pointed and focused questions. The Career Center’s has a vast number of services, so knowing which ones you want to use is key.”

By Dionna Dash
Dionna Dash Nordenberg Scholar