Katie van der Sloot ‘16
J.D. Program, Peter A. Allard School of Law,University of British Columbia
Katie’s Question: How can creative communication enhance human health?
Keystone Title: Creating Change: Advocacy for the Abolition of the Toxic Chemical Triclosan
Abstract: Katie’s Keystone aims to improve education around triclosan in order to enable the public to participate in its regulation by the federal government. This is achieved in three phases: first, a risk assessment of available scientific literature; second, a development of a risk-management strategy for the chemical; and an application of this strategy to highlight the advocacy work on this subject across Canada.
Katie talks to us about how Quest prepared her for law school, and gives students a piece of advice.
What’s law school like? Is it all studying, all the time?
No. School is hard, but I’m used to it. The most challenging thing is to juggle academics with networking, volunteering and extracurriculars.
Networking is so important because it determines where you do your articling positions and likely where you end up working. It’s up to you to find a position and build relationships, so you start networking right away when you arrive in September. There are events for law students, mentorship programs matching you with lawyers in your community and daily lunch-talks from lawyers doing all kinds of work in different fields.
I secured a job with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary this summer. It’s a national Seven-Sisters firm [a top-seven firm in Canada] and the people are amazing.
On your LinkedIn profile it looks like you have a little time to play, too.
I was convinced by the rugby girls to play! We’re a bit thrown together, but it’s the most fun group of women. I’ll play for the full three years.
I’m also on the Women’s Caucus. This week we have a Women in Law dinner to raise money for the Elizabeth Fry Society [a charitable organization that supports some of society’s most vulnerable populations—women, girls and children at risk].
How did Quest help you prepare you for all this? What was that transition like?
In law school you have seven classes at a time and all grades are 100% based on final exams in April. It’s intense. But so was Quest. With the Block Plan, I always had major assignments due. It forced me to keep on top of things. It prepared me for the hard work of law school. No other law students had that.
What was your Question?
How can creative communication enhance human health?
The most helpful thing that came from that Question was my decision to go to law school! I went to Quest with the idea that I would continue my education. While I was working on my Keystone, I spoke with a lot of different kinds of people about advocacy, including a lawyer who inspired me to pursue law.
What’s a memory you have of your time at Quest?
Quest had a grand piano in the MPR. I practically lived there. I developed a tight relationship with the security guards, who let me sneak in at all hours of the night. I tried out jazz and improv but always fell back to my classical piano training. I like the Romantic era. I like Debussy and Brahms. Beethoven. And the French composer Francis Poulenc.
If you had one piece of advice for current Quest students, what would it be?
Accept being behind.
There is never enough time in the day. You might never be ahead of the game and that’s okay. Don’t lose sight of who you are and what you love. You’re always going to be catching up, wishing you could do more. Just keep plugging forward.
I’m a little bit behind right now, but it’s not the end of the world.