How has this experience impacted my career goals…

Long before gaining acceptance into this program, I wanted to be a lawyer. However, everyone I told would ask what field of law I wanted to get into and I was never quite sure. As I gained entry to the program I got the position as health promoter which would require me to share information about safer sex practices to the community of St. Ann’s bay in Jamaica.  This was exciting and troubling for me because although I was excited about this new and exciting experience, I was still left with the question, “how does it relate to law.” Thankfully, the answer to that question quickly surfaced as I entered the country and began my placement. It turned out the position I was hired required much more than I thought. Though I was still in part as health promoter, my manager had additional assignments that I was to work on and those assignments took priority over my health promotion duties. I took on a new role as the program manager and was outfitted with a whole new portfolio.  As the program manager I was given the task of working on an advocacy project with the main goal of addressing and potentially seeking the amendments in laws and policies that limit some from achieving optimal sexual and reproductive health in Jamaica

Jamaica is leading the Caribbean with teenage pregnancy, Jamaica is also the 3rd highest country in the region with people living with HIV/AIDS, abortion is illegal under any circumstance and Adolescents do not have access to contraceptives though they are legally able to consent to sex at the age of 16. These are issues in Jamaica because there are laws and policies that directly affect the statistics listed above. Since the organization was implementing this new advocacy project, it became my responsibility to do the research and report back on these specific issues as the foundation for the advocacy project. As I spend my days doing the research I learned so much. I also discovered the personal connection I felt to the work I was doing because although most of my time was spend on the computer, I was also able to interact with the people the laws are directly affecting.

As the internship came to an end, I discovered that I wanted to continue the work that I started; I began to feel like I needed to find a way to do this.  As I discovered it was not possible to stay past the time allotted to do so, I knew that it didn’t end there for me; in fact it was just the beginning.  I am now aware of the type of law I would like to study (Human rights) and the specific area (Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights). I am excited because not only has this experience been excellent for my resume, it has added meaning to my goal of becoming a lawyer which is invaluable to me.

 -Gabrielle Slater