Posted October 30, 2013
Since first arriving at Bowdoin from Albany, N.Y., Diana Lee (History/Government & Legal Studies) knew that volunteering would be an important aspect of her college experience. As a first year, she first became involved in the McKeen Center when she participated in a Community Immersion Pre-Orientation Trip. Since that time, Diana has served as a program assistant and trip leader for the Community Immersion Trips during her sophomore and junior years.
Diana’s participation in the Community Immersion Trips introduced her to the impact of poverty in the greater Portland and Brunswick regions. As a result, Diana sought to become more involved in service activities that specifically addressed the issues of hunger and homelessness. Sophomore year, she joined a student group working with the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, a non-profit in Portland that provides free legal services for low-income Maine residents throughout the state.
During the spring of her sophomore year, Diana participated in an Alternative Spring Break Trip to New Mexico, in which she helped provide nutrition lessons for Navajo students. Diana found that issues of health education in the Navajo community were also tied to widespread poverty in that region. This experience prompted her to propose an ASB Trip that focused on the impact of poverty, particularly access to shelter, social services, food, and education. In the spring of her junior year, Diana co-led an ASB Trip to Philadelphia, in which participants volunteered with a number of non-profit organizations that support low-income and homeless families.
In the summer of 2012, Diana was fortunate to receive a Preston Public Interest Grant to work at The Legal Project, a non-profit organization in Albany, N.Y. that connects low-income people with free legal services. She helped coordinate their uncontested divorce clinic and assisted low-income people and domestic abuse survivors with the completion of their New York State divorce paperwork.
This year, Diana is a McKeen Fellow for the Alternative Spring Break and Alternative Winter Break Trips. She also serves as the student leader for the Bowdoin Volunuteer Corp student group, Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.
As a result of her volunteer experiences through the McKeen Center, as well as her studies in history and government, Diana found that the law can be a powerful tool for change in society. Her decision to pursue a career in law was solidified by her involvement in the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project and The Legal Project, as well as her fellowship this past summer at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. She looks forward to continuing to promote social justice in her community after graduation.
“My involvement in service has provided me with the incredible opportunity to join a group of students dedicated to the common good, and to engage with communities and cultures different from my own.”