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Fall 2022 Edwards Law Firm Community First Scholarship Winner

Farida Shawkat

Law student Farida Shawkat hopes to one day use her legal education to fight for accessible healthcare. She aspires to advocate for individuals, including minorities, who cannot afford the medical treatment they need. In Farida’s essay, you will learn the goals she has set for herself to help those who need it most.

Farida Shawkat

Read Farida's Essay:

My name is Farida Shawkat and I am a 2L at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. I appreciate the opportunity to apply for the Edwards Law Firm Community First Scholarship.

Biomedical engineering challenged me, changed me, and ultimately and most importantly, fulfilled me. I am forever indebted to Rutgers for the opportunities it presented me but, most notably, the opportunity to work with disabled veterans. I got the life-changing opportunity to work with an inspiring group of disabled marines that rely on prosthetics to compete in athletic events. I got to hear their stories and watch their struggles first-hand. Some of them had waited years to get access to the technology they needed and deserved. I lost a lot of the respect and admiration I had for my degree. I could not help but wonder what good it does to spend years perfecting these medical devices when they are so financially inaccessible to the people who need them. I decided to fill my schedule with as many public health and healthcare access courses as I could fit. I wanted to know more about our healthcare system and what I ended up learning horrified me. That is where my legal career began. I realized my passion is advocating for those who do not receive proper healthcare access in the United States which inevitably lends to advocating for minorities like myself.

The health law faculty at Seton Hall not only understand my interest in healthcare reform, they advocate for it. As a member, and recently elected treasurer, of the Health Law Forum at Seton Hall, I have met peers with parallel career goals. My peers understand the power of the law and its potential to change public health in the United States. I am excited at the prospects of taking advantage of all the opportunities offered to me at Seton Hall as I did at Rutgers. I plan on continuing my affiliation with the Health Law Forum and joining the Health Justice Clinic my 3L year. The Health Justice Clinic gives students the opportunity to provide free legal services to individuals needing representation in a wide variety of health-harming civil legal matters.

I appreciate the opportunity afforded by the Edwards Law Firm Community First Scholarship to continue my professional journey without worrying about how I will continue to finance my degree. My career goals include working towards a seat on a corporate board of one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the United States whilst committing my pro bono hours, and beyond, to helping those in need receive the medical services they deserve. No one should ever have to choose between their home and necessary medical treatment. I believe that at that stage of my career I will truly have the opportunity to make choices that will impact healthcare accessibility on a meaningful level. Spending this summer as a diversity and inclusion intellectual property law intern with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), an organization truly dedicated to its patients, has only reinvigorated my career goals. I believe I am an excellent candidate for the Edwards Law Firm Community First Scholarship.

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