Disability does not define super-achieving TU Law graduate
Written by Jody Harlan, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
TULSA, Okla. ─ Julie Hildebrand graduated Friday (Dec. 19) with a 3.48 grade point average after only two years at The University of Tulsa College of Law. The pretty, 20-year old Jenks resident has already accepted a contingent job offer at Occidental Petroleum in Houston. Hildebrand is among the brightest graduates – she calls herself a nerd — but she won’t be the tallest student.
Hildebrand has a rare form of dwarfism called 3M syndrome.
“My disability is part of me, but it’s not who I am,” Hildebrand explained. “If anything, it’s made me stronger. It’s made me learn how to overcome things and adapt very quickly.”
Raised to be self-reliant, she hesitated before contacting the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation for help with law school tuition, a laptop and adaptations for her vehicle.
After spending two years with the Department of Justice in San Diego, Caleb Overstreet (JD ’10) relocated nearly half way around the world to Thailand where he now works for International Justice Mission dealing with anti-human trafficking issues.
On June 15, TU College of Law students, alumni, and staff teamed up to provide critical legal assistance at a free immigration law clinic held at the Boesche Legal Clinic. The clinic was organized to provide assistance to individuals applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program announced last summer by Department of Homeland Security. The DACA program allows undocumented young adults to request deferred action on their immigration status for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They would then be eligible for work authorization. The program is aimed at qualifying immigrants who came to the U.S. on or before June 2007 and who were 16 or younger at the time of their arrival. Among other qualifications for the program, the young adults must be free of serious criminal convictions, be enrolled in or have completed high school, or have served in the U.S. military. The clinic volunteers, who included law students enrolled in a summer immigration law course taught by Professor Elizabeth McCormick, participated in a day-long DACA training on June 14. The training and clinic were organized by Professor McCormick and Laura Bachman, Staff Attorney with the legal clinic’s Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network and adjunct faculty member at the College of Law.
(Chynna Smith, Class of 2014)