Melissa JensenPlease tell us about you and what motivated you to come to law school?

Before Law School I was an educator. My husband and I moved to a smallish town in Colorado where we became very involved in building a strong community of artists and question-askers. My last job before law school was as a Special Education Teacher in a Juvenile Detention Center. Though this experience, I became passionate about young people involved in the system. I wanted to learn more about the legal system on the "outside" to see if there were things that I could do to help my students before they became my students.

You have all been involved in public service work since you have been here at CU Law. What motivated you to become involved in public service work at CU Law?

Even though 1L classes were a little overwhelming, I wanted to be involved in something more than "just" school. When I started at Colorado Law, it was important to me not to move out of my community, so I have been a commuting student. Because of this, I wanted to be involved in projects that would help me to spend time with other students and with legal professionals around Denver and Boulder. 

Since you have been at law school, what are the most valuable things you have been involved with and how do you think these have shaped your public service career goals?

I have been lucky to be a part of several very valuable projects and programs at Colorado Law. The first is the clinical program. my 2L year I was a student G.A.L. in the Juvenile Law Clinic. My 3L year I will be working in the Technology Law and Policy Clinic. Clinic work is a great way to see what working as an attorney in the field is really like. For me, clinic was also a great way to make connections in the fields that I am interested in. 

I also have really valued working with the Byron White Center for Constitutional Law on several projects, including Constitution Day, the Marshall-Brennan Moot Court Competition, and the Stevens Lecture. These projects have helped me to remember how much I love being an educator, and have encouraged me to consider ways that I can continue to work in classrooms even after I become an attorney. 

What advice to you have for incoming law students who are interested in public service?

My best advice to incoming law students interested in public service is to get involved. There are great groups organized by students as well as groups and projects more directly sponsored by the school. Colorado Law has great public service minded professors and staff who are eager to help students find what they are passionate about.