Assistance through Understanding
Sonia Tabriz, CAS/SPA '10, has been interested in helping at-risk youth for as long as she can remember, and she pursued a double major in psychology and law and society so she could turn that interest into a career. "In order to help people who lead lives so distinct from my own, [I realized] I would have to understand them first," she says.
Her unique course of study gave her this essential background. "I had the opportunity to learn about the legal system and those affected by it, and also got to learn about the way one's environments and genes can influence the way they experience the world," she says, "and I graduated with the tools necessary to identify factors that contribute to one's illicit behavior and, consequently, to develop ways to address these factors in order to prevent crime."
Last month, Tabriz was one of only two AU undergrads to receive the 2010 University Student Award for Outstanding Scholarship. The award recognizes exceptional academic achievements both inside of AU and in the larger scholarly community.
Since 2008, Tabriz has served as editor-in-chief of the Tacenda Literary Magazine, an online journal published by AU's Department of Justice, Law & Society that focuses on crime and punishment. She has also had her poetry and short stories published in the journal. She co-authored a review of written testimony for proposed bills dealing with juvenile sentencing, which appeared in the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class. And, as an AU Honors Program mentor and member of the AU Ambassadors Program, Tabriz has offered new and prospective students her insights on what AU has to offer.
This fall, Tabriz will begin the J.D. program at George Washington University Law School, where she will attend on a merit scholarship. "I am eager to earn my J.D.—not only because I look forward to practicing, but also because I feel it will provide me with a platform to promote social justice reform," she says. "I look forward to combining my legal skills with the knowledge I acquired through my psychology major about child development and risk factors."