Rutgers Law School's 2019 incoming class of students is a fascinating, eclectic, and diverse group. One of our 409 new students is Mumbi Ngugi, who came to our Camden location from California.
What were you doing before you came to Rutgers Law School?
I am from Irvine, California, a small suburb in Southern California about one hour south of Los Angeles. I went to undergrad in Southern Florida, at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and concentrated in law and society, women's studies and Spanish.
Before coming to Rutgers Law, I worked at a premium finance company, Cypress, in my home area of Southern California as a customer service representative. It turned out to be great practice learning to use my voice and practice adult life. Taking 50 calls a day and learning to speak and advise according to a set of rules which govern our practices is great preparation to be an orator.
How did you choose to come to law school, and why Rutgers?
In undergrad, I did moot court. I had never felt more beautiful, confident or strong than when I was arguing before the moot bench. At first, I had a hard time speaking; I was so afraid to use my voice. By the end of the semester, my partner and I qualified for nationals in 2014. I just knew then that law is what I wanted to spend my life doing.
I grew up hearing about Rutgers from my Mom because my cousins are alumni and we used to live in New Jersey. I chose the Camden location largely because of meeting Professor Michael Carrier when he came to speak in a roundtable at the University of California, Irvine. I loved his presentation and he was kind to let me keep in touch with him about my law school application journey. I now see what I could only then sense—that Professor Carrier was at least in part reflecting the character of kindness and intellectual solidarity that exists at Rutgers Law.
As if I needed more confirmation that Rutgers is where I'm supposed to be, Jay Austin, former Dean of UCI Law Admissions, is now Dean of Admissions here at Rutgers Law. UCI is where I grew up and lived prior to coming here. Seeing Dean Austin and his wife Tammy, whose gender advocacy inspires me, at Orientation felt like having a bit of home here on the East Coast. I feel grateful.
What do you hope to get out of law school?
I hope that through this experience I become more accepting and loving of myself as a person and that I may be of service to others through practicing law.
Feminism and social justice are my background, so when I heard about the Social Justice Scholars (SJS) program it was a no brainer to apply. I was pleasantly surprised (and ecstatic!) to find out I received the scholarship. Everyone at Rutgers has been so welcoming, supportive and sensitive. I perceive the social justice scholarship program, lead by amazing Dean Friedman and Pam Mertsock-Wolf, is a subculture in which people who are even more sensitive to injustice have come together to take special action on how we can advocate for justice through the law. This year we're focusing on Camden. Every time we meet I'm still in awe I get to do this. I'm so excited to develop in SJS, as a SJS, and through the pro bono work I'll get to do.