Where are you now?
Right now I am studying far away from home in the sunny paradise that is UCLA. I am currently a Comparative Literature major/ Gender Studies minor and, hopefully, on the path to law school. I am a member of UCLA’s nationally ranked mock trial team and on the public relations committee of my sorority, Kappa Delta.
How, if at all, did the Empire help you get there?
Empire made me want to travel, to meet new people, see new places, and experience what the world has to offer. Before Empire, I planned to attend a college in or near New York because I loved where I lived. After making friends from everywhere from California to Ireland, though, I realized that I couldn’t know if New York was the best place for me because I hadn’t ever lived anywhere else. I think a large part of the reason I ended up 3,000 miles away from home, at UCLA, is because I wanted to indulge in the different cultures and people I had gotten a glimpse of at Empire.
What’s your favorite Empire moment?
I would have to say the cruise at my first Empire. I was used to going into mock trial tournaments with a hostile attitude toward the other competitors. This was the first time I was at a competition where I had an opportunity to actually socialize and get to know other teams. I spent the night dancing and chatting (and maybe flirting… just a bit) with students from Ireland, Wales, and Australia. Add in amazing food, good music, and a breathtaking view of the city skyline, and it surely made for an unforgettable night.
If you’ve come back as a volunteer, why have you stayed involved with the Empire family?
The Empire family is something you’re always a part of no matter how far you go or how long you’ve been gone. I have friends at college that competed at the Empire with me years ago. I’ve even run into fellow Empire competitors at college mock trial tournaments and it’s amazing how instantly we bond over the amazing experience. For me, Empire was incomparable to any other experience in my high school career, and it really did change me as a person. I come back and volunteer because I want to make sure every student who comes to Empire gets that same experience.
How would you describe the Empire to someone that has never been?
Is that even possible? Hmmm. It’s an experience where you will make friends from all over the world while bonding with your own team and exponentially improving your mock trial skills. Empire is a place to work hard and play hard. The competition is beyond any other high school tournament out there. It takes hard work and talent just to be invited and at the end of the weekend there can be only one world champion… but between pin exchanges, dances, and karaoke, you’ll find plenty of time to make friends and memories that will last long beyond the moment the winners are announced.