Sept. 22, 2023
Work experience paves scholarship recipient's path to UCalgary law school
Jeremy Zantua’s path was well laid out. Their parents were dentists, and they completed a Bachelor of Health Science from UCalgary in 2020 with a First Class standing. They actively pursued optional classes in high school and university that involved math, and enjoyed robotics projects. They had interviews lined up for dental school.
But it was their experience working with Between Friends, an organization that provides social, recreational, and developmental opportunities for people with disabilities, that they started thinking about a profession where they could be an advocate for people.
Shift from STEM to social justice
“I spent so much time doing things involving science, math, or engineering. But when I started working with Between Friends, it allowed me to interact with a completely different aspect of society. It shifted my perception of disability and my perspective on what I wanted to do for a career,” they say.
Talking with Zantua, with their warm smile and friendly demeanour, it’s easy to imagine them using the law to help others. They are also keen to explore the intersection and interaction of science and law and how science is used to support the legal process, and credits Dr. Jesse Hendrickse and his Science in Society courses which encouraged Zantua to think about how we grapple with science as a society, how we interact with, and believe science.
Scholarship reinforcement of right path
As a result of their passion for helping others and outstanding academic achievements, Zantua was awarded the Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP Entrance Scholarship, the Faculty of Law’s largest entrance scholarship.
“I’m still coming to terms with being awarded this scholarship,” they admit. “It wasn’t something I was accounting for financially.
“Receiving the scholarship also proves that this is what I’m supposed to do.”
As they settle into classes and the demands of law school, there’s one thing in particular Zantua is looking forward to about law school, and that’s being able to have engaging conversations with classmates and professors, to challenge and debate the norms, and to learn from the experiences and thoughts of others.
“The very idea that I can talk about society and social issues in ways that you can’t in the science disciplines, to have those challenging conversations — to challenge and to be challenged — and to be able to do that in a place that invites these challenges is what I’m most excited about.”