Alumni Feature- Interview with Amelia Chizwala Peterson

peterson-lgAlumnus Amelia Chizwala Peterson visited campus to participate in a focus session titled “Protecting the Beloved Community by Caring for the Global Climate and the Communities Affected by Climate Change.”  The focus session was a part of the Valparaiso University MLK Day 2014 commemorative programs. Amelia also participated in a question and answer session lead by current 3L Law student- Olivia Robinson in Stride Classroom in Wesemann Hall. Amelia is a proud 2011 Valparaiso Law School alumnus and currently works as the Senior Research Associate at the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF). She shared with us her thoughts on Valparaiso Law:

Why did you choose Law as a profession?

I wanted to do something that had a significant impact on people other than me and I knew  I couldn’t do medicine. I’m grossed out by everything. Law felt like something I could do that has high impact and I’ve always felt like a ‘defender’; that’s just my personality. I was always the kid on the playground that couldn’t stand the bully and would take up for the little guy. Working with people in indigenous communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. That’s the part the fits my personality the most.

What has going to VULS done for your career?

My Law degree is a strong foundation for big things. In my work, I’m doing things that I never thought I’d be doing at my age. One of my undergraduate professors discouraged me from going to Law School because I already had two bachelor’s degrees. She thought that I would be wasting time and money. She also believed it would be really hard to find and job. I trusted that professor and respected her opinion, but I felt she was wrong about that. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her. For me, having a law degree from Valparaiso, gave me a great foundation and people respect me because I have a J.D.; especially in other parts of the world. That respect is important for me to be successful.