2021 Tillman Scholar
Sara grew up fascinated by the U.S. legal system, eventually studying history and legal studies at Bucknell University as a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. Later, working full time as a crisis services victim advocate, she was exposed to the realities faced by many: lack of representation, power imbalances, and devastating outcomes. Her idealized view of the system was shaken, case by case, but her motivation for pursuing law solidified.
As the domestic violence victim assistance program director in Oklahoma’s largest police department, she carried a heavy caseload, ran a court advocacy program, and supervised interns and volunteers. She chaired a coordinated community response team comprised of child welfare specialists, prosecutors, law enforcement, and batterers’ intervention professionals, teaching her the power of collaboration across disciplines and agencies. Along with her dedicated court advocacy team, she was a Liberty Bell recipient for non-attorneys making an impact on the legal system. She hoped to return as a lawyer. However, shortly thereafter, she joined her husband in his military relocation to Japan for several years.
She embraced her life abroad by traveling, learning basic Japanese, launching a business, and volunteering. Now, with their recent state-side assignment, Sara will re-engage her mission at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Despite the career shift her legal education will provide, her mission remains unchanged: create access, build community, and increase public safety by amplifying the rights and voices of survivors of abuse.