Dominican experience leads alumna to NYU Law School

Audrey Curtis ’09 was accepted by some of the top law schools in the country – Harvard, Northeastern, UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC. When it came time to choose, she picked New York University’s School of Law in Manhattan to attend this fall.

“It was my intuition,” Audrey explains. “It’s very similar to when I came to Dominican. It just felt right for me and that ended up being an amazing decision. I see the same thing about going to law school.”

Audrey arrived at Dominican in the fall of 2005 as a double major in English and Political Science in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She was looking for smaller colleges close to her home in Sacramento and it helped that Dominican’s mascot is a penguin, her favorite animal.

“It’s a sign,” Audrey says, smiling, recalling her affection for penguins and connection to Dominican. “When I came here for the first time it felt like home. It was incredible.”

At Dominican Audrey found success on many levels. She was an honors student. She earned two minors in Women and Gender Studies and Psychology. She was inspired to write by English professor Penny Jackson and encourage to apply to multiple research conferences by Political Science professor Gigi Gokcek.

“Gigi just encourages all of her students to really understand what they are capable of,” Audrey says. “She really pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves.”

“We are fortunate to have Audrey as one of Dominican’s distinguished alumna and as an excellent role model for all of our undergraduates,” Gokcek says. “When meeting with my current students to plan their academic program, I offer Audrey as an example of what a good student can accomplish as an undergraduate. Audrey has been an inspiration to our future students because while some have never met her, they are all aware of what she was able to do while she was a student here.”

Gokcek suggested during Audrey’s junior year that she present her thesis “Manly Women: A Look at the Effects of Masculine Qualities on Women’s Political Success.” It was selected runner-up in national “Pi Sigma Alpha Best Paper Competition” in category of Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis and was well received at the Southwestern Political Sciences Associations Conference in Las Vegas where she was among only a handful of undergraduates to present.

“That just completely opened up my perspective to what was possible,” she says.

That experience inspired Audrey to attend graduate school. After Dominican, she earned her Masters’ degree in English at Claremont University and appeared to be on a path toward being an English professor. She was working as a tutor and prep teacher for Revolution Prep and as copy editor for The San Francisco Book Review.

While at the Book Review, Audrey checked out for free several law books, including Sandra Day O’Connor’s book on the history of the Supreme Court. Audrey realized that she could have more of a direct impact on social issues in the news and more options in her professional life if she went to the route of law school.

In addition, Audrey’s husband, Walter Wrigglesworth IV ‘09, was completing his degree at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of Pacific. The couple met as dormitory residents in Pennafort Hall as freshmen, started dating as sophomores and were married last year.

Walter, whose law field specialty is immigration, encouraged his wife to pursue law school.

“I saw him take his classes and looked over his syllabi and thought `That sounds fascinating. I want to learn that!”

Audrey took a LSAT exam and her scores were remarkable enough to motivate her to pursue law school. She had visited New York several years ago and felt comfortable and Manhattan offered more work possibilities for her husband.

The couple have secured an apartment in Staten Island and Audrey’s law concentration at NYU will be in constitutional law and intellectual property. Audrey feels prepared for the move and the new career pursuit, thanks in great part to the multiple tools she learned at Dominican with its philosophical emphasis on the well-rounded student.

“Dominican made me such a better writer and speaker. I learned how to do research and incorporate that into my work,” she says. “I learned how to think better and shape my focus.”


August 17, 2015