Catherine Kubischta ’10 grew up on a small farm in the heart of North Dakota and dreamt of someday practicing law and exploring the globe. She came to Arcadia as an International Studies major and was one of the first students to declare a major in Global Legal Studies (GLS), new to Arcadia in 2006. Today she lives in the city of London, nearly 4,000 miles away from her hometown, and notes that choosing Arcadia was the best decision she ever made—both in terms of her personal and professional life.
“My time with Arcadia was instrumental in my career choice,” she says. “The GLS major provided an abundance of opportunities for me to challenge myself and learn about subjects that I was most interested in.” She is currently a full-time student at the the London College of Law, studying the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which is the practical element that all law students must take after they complete their law degree.
Her professors in Glenside guided her successes, always pushing her to work harder, inspiring her to achieve more. She specifically names Associate Professors of International Studies Drs. Bob and Joan Thompson. “With Bob, I always felt really at ease in class and encouraged to voice my opinions and Dr. Joan gave me so many opportunities for responsibility as a group leader and important roles in class projects. Both of these experiences made me want to work harder to prove to myself and to my teachers that I was making the most of my education.”
As a First Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE) participant in Stirling, Kubischta was inspired to return to the United Kingdom for an additional semester, this time at Queen Mary, University of London where she took law courses with a focus on European Union (EU) Law. By the end of her course of study at Queen Mary she had not only decided to return to London and pursue an education and career in law, she also met her future husband, Christopher Band. In 2011 she completed her Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) to convert to English law.
“I was really fortunate in the coursework that I did while at Arcadia,” she says. “The law classes I took prepared me for the hard work the GDL and the LPC involve. I also chose a very useful thesis topic. Since I knew I wanted to return to London, I wrote my senior thesis on the difference between judicial review in the USA and the UK. It turned out to be very useful. My GDL involved knowledge of the court system in England and Wales, which I had researched for my thesis. Many of the core elements in one of my classes were also topics that I covered in my thesis. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to choose this thesis topic—it was tremendously helpful for the next stage of my career.”
Though Kubischta spent more than 18 months abroad over her four years with Arcadia, she still found time to get involved with many campus organizations, serving as a peer mentor for the International Services department as well as prospective FYSAE students. She also became involved in the Harvard World Model United Nations course which featured a trip to Puebla, Mexico, where the international conference was being held. Along with a partner, she represented Egypt in the World Bank Committee. The experience provided her the opportunity to meet students and working-professionals from all over the world, and put her research into practice.
In addition, Kubischta spent a semester at American University in Washington, D.C., where she studied International Law and Organizations. The course required her to attend classes and seminars at American University, as well as visit embassies and law firms in the city. The course involved some travel, too. She visited influential non-profit institutions such as the UN in New York City, and also had the opportunity to spend a few weeks traveling through several European cities including Geneva, Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and The Hague as well as visits to the UN, European Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the EU and NATO headquarters.
Already familiar with the nation’s capital, Kubischta completed a summer internship in 2008 in the US Senate in Washington DC. The experience proved so valuable that she completed two additional internships the following 2008-2009 academic year, first in public affairs at The Dershowitz Group and then at the Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania. “I received credit for all of these internships, and picked up a lot of key skills and had wonderful experiences,” she says.
Kubischta will complete the LPC in June 2012 and is currently searching for a training contract with a law firm in London, where she will spend two-years training at a law firm before qualifying as a solicitor. She hopes to find a position with an international focus.