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From Pre-Med to Premeditated

  • November 24, 2014
Brian Rice interviews Sharmin Anwer, a recent graduate of UAB’s Department of Government currently attending Vanderbilt Law School.

Sharmin Anwer Chooses Law School

Brian Rice interviews Sharmin Anwer, a recent graduate of UAB’s Department of Government currently attending Vanderbilt Law School.

Sharmin Anwer. Q: How did you discover an interest in political science?

A: When I first started at UAB, I majored in Biology, on the pre-med track. While I did enjoy some of the classes in the pre-med curriculum, I found myself particularly intrigued by some of the classes in the Department of Government. After taking a few government classes, I discovered a new passion — one that centered on social justice. The most logical step was to change my major to Political Science with minors in Philosophy and Spanish, on the pre-law track.

Q: You were involved in advocating for state constitutional reform during your time at UAB. How did you balance the theoretical aspect of classes with experience?
A: The Department of Government equipped me with so many amazing resources — from classes, to clubs, to internships. Out of the amazing opportunities given to me, the one that made the largest impact on my undergraduate career was with Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation (ACCR). While interning for this organization I had the opportunity to meet and speak with legislators, host fundraising events, and help create ACCR student chapters across Alabama. Alabama has made great strides over the years, but our outdated constitution remains a hindrance towards progress. Some of the issues that really stood out to me were those that affected our state socially. I truly enjoyed working on some of these projects, and I hope to take a shot at the legal side of this issue once I graduate law school.

Q: Do any classes stand out to you from your time at UAB?
A: One of my favorite classes I took was American Political Thought with Dr. Canada. I enjoyed the laid-back and philosophical nature of the class. It was through the discussions and readings in this class that I developed an interest in studying women’s rights. After writing a term paper on Mary Wollstonecraft’s impact on female political writers, I decided to further explore her writings on girls’ education. Inspired by her work, I wrote my senior thesis on the status of girls’ education in Pakistan. While many of the urban cities in Pakistan provide excellent education at all levels to both girls and boys, there are many rural parts of Pakistan that do not provide proper education to girls, especially secondary education. While researching, I found that Pakistan is not alone; there are many other countries with the same problem.

Q: You started law school at Vanderbilt University in August. What are your plans for the future?
A: I am adjusting to the change and am very excited to immerse myself fully in the classes and clinics the school offers. My experience with ACCR coupled with the interests I developed in some of the political science classes have inspired me to pursue public interest law. Ideally I would like to work as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program.