A Johnson Scholar’s Next Steps Courtney Hauck '18 looks forward to continuing her debt-free education with a fellowship to Columbia Law School.
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Majors: Accounting, Chinese
What are your post-graduation plans?
I’m very excited to attend Columbia Law School on the full-tuition Hamilton Fellowship. It’s been a dream of mine to attend law school since high school, and I’m so grateful to Columbia for allowing me to continue my education debt-free and at such an incredible institution.
I also want to get involved in my local W&L Alumni Chapter, Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, and Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association.
How did your time at W&L prepare you for this path?
Thanks to the Johnson Scholarship, I’ve been able to harness every aspect of this community and fully experience life as a W&L student. Without the Johnson Scholarship, I would never have been able to attend a school like W&L. I think the most significant pluses on my application to law school were my publications, work experience and language skills. I credit all of these to my education here at W&L.
What were the opportunities that allowed you to do research and be published?
The engagement with faculty here is unparalleled, and that’s why I felt comfortable approaching Professor Raquel Alexander my junior year to begin independent accounting research that will eventually lead to my publication, with Professor Julie Youngman, in the Loyola of LA Law Review. Professor Youngman helped me revise, revise, revise—and the process made me an infinitely better researcher and writer. Our article, “Medical Necessity: A Higher Hurdle for Marginalized Taxpayers,” will be published in the upcoming issue.
My first publication, “The Orphan Drug Act: Incentive or Inhibitor to Rare Disease Research?” would not have happened without Lorri Olán, associate director of Career Services, sending out updates about the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal submission cycle; I ended up publishing a revised version of my final paper for Professor Neil Birkhoff’s tax accounting course in the journal’s Spring 2017 issue.
Overall, doing research and publishing is a tremendous learning experience, and I look forward to continuing the process in the future.
You mentioned work experience earlier. How did W&L prepare you there?
I’d say the single most valuable thing I’ve learned at W&L is how to be a more effective oral and written communicator, as well as how to use those communication skills to build relationships. The alumni network was a wonderful resource throughout the internship search—and in fact, it’s been a great resource throughout the process of applying to and choosing among law schools.
My first internship was during the summer after my sophomore year. I had met an alumnus, John McManus ’91, during Career Development’s Public Policy & Government trip in D.C. I followed up with a resume and cover letter email, and the process was pretty smooth from there. I learned a lot about health care policy and really enjoyed my experience, and the Johnson Opportunity Grant helped with the cost of housing and food while I was in D.C.
Likewise, this past summer was fun and challenging—I interned at Ernst & Young and worked in their tax department alongside a couple of alumni I’d met through the on-campus recruiting process. Both experiences reaffirmed my interest in law and convinced me to go straight to law school.
Finally, you mentioned language skills…
I’ve studied Mandarin since sixth grade, and I taught myself basic Japanese in middle school. In college, I’ve been thrilled by the resources available at W&L. From studying abroad in China and Taiwan during my first Spring Term and summer to learning how to haggle in Italian using Mango Languages before the Science of Cooking trip, the educational opportunities here have great breadth and depth.
In terms of funding, W&L was again extremely helpful. During my first year, I received the James Boardman and Ju Endowment scholarships and Johnson summer enrichment funding, which supported my experiences in China and Taiwan.
Finally, the fact that W&L is so small means that you can be a bit more flexible with the curriculum. Coming into W&L, I placed into fourth-year Chinese. During my first two years here, I took about two Chinese courses per semester, including advanced topics such as Classical Chinese and Business & Legal Chinese. Professor Hongchu Fu even helped me count some high school coursework towards the core major requirements so that I could focus on more advanced-level studies.
What will you miss most about W&L, and what are you most looking forward to this summer?
I’ll miss the people and the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. It’s been a wonderful place to spend four years. This summer, I’m looking forward to lots of reading, relaxing and maybe a family road trip. I’m currently searching for a part-time internship with a judge in Portland. In any case, I’m grateful for the chance to spend lots of time with family before I fly back east in August.
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More about Courtney
Honors and awards:
- Columbia Law School Hamilton Fellowship (full-tuition merit scholarship and faculty mentorship throughout law school)
- George A. Mahan Award for Creative Fiction (Senior Prose).
- Andrew M. Hemm Senior Award for Excellence in Chinese
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Beta Alpha Psi (accounting honor society)
- Hearing Advisor to the Executive Committee, Student Judicial Council, and Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board
- Former President and Founder, Roosevelt Institute at W&L
- Former President and Founder, Chinese Club
- Former House Manager, Pi Beta Phi
- Independent Research, Accounting (led to publication with Professor Julie Youngman)
- Financial Records Investigation on behalf of Appalachian Law Center (with Professor Megan Hess)
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai. I order chicken panang curry and honey-ginger tea.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
You can always make time for what matters. Self-care matters.
- On-campus: my current Spring Term course, Negotiation with Professor Julie Youngman. Tons of fun and practical, too!
- Off-campus: the Science of Cooking, hands-down. It’s hard work, but you get to spend a month in Tuscany sightseeing and eating ridiculous amounts of incredible food. Worth it.
Favorite W&L event?
I’m torn between Young Alumni Weekend/Homecoming and Alumni Fancy Dress. As a senior, I love seeing old friends again!