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The Aspiring Judge

News Story

Kaitlyn Houlihan ’19 is set to graduate early this December with a major in political science and an eye on law school. She’s a passionate advocate for domestic violence survivors and wants to one day empower them as a judge.

Political science major Kaitlyn Houlihan ’19 is about to graduate early this December, and she has her sights set on Pace Law. “I want to become a judge so I can empower survivors of gender-based violence by making real changes in their lives,” she said, and she’s made a number of strides to make that dream a reality. But what initially drew her to Pace? “I went to a large, diverse high school and it [was] important to me to surround myself with a diverse community.”

Houlihan actually entered college during a tumultuous time in politics: the 2016 US election. “[It was] right in the middle of a very historic presidential election,” she told us. “Originally, I wanted to direct and produce documentaries that could inspire change, but after the election, I realized there were other ways I was being called to inspire change in the world.” She swapped her major from filmmaking to political science the day after the election ended. That’s some serious dedication to effecting change.

As secretary of the Political Science Association and head delegate for the Model United Nations team, Houlihan has been an active participant and leader in the political science community on campus. “My leadership experiences have by far been the greatest experience I have had [during] my time in college. Through leadership, I learned so much,” Houlihan told us. And she credits much of her acquired mentoring skills to her own mentor, Political Science Professor Paul Londrigan, who leads the Model UN team on the PLV Campus. “He enables me to be [the] best at what I do and I really appreciate him for that,” she explained.

She also spends quite a bit of her time over at Seidenberg working as a student assistant at their front desk. “I hate to say it, but I am totally dependent on my laptop and phone in order to be a functional person, so to surround myself with tech-savvy peers is awesome!” Houlihan likes to call herself the “Seidenberg oddball,” but explained that, “What makes working at Seidenberg so great is that everyone on the team has a different skill set.”

Currently, Houlihan also works for a domestic violence shelter on weekends, assisting clients and fielding hotline calls. “I have learned how to service survivors of violence from a feminist philosophy of empowerment,” she told us, a subject that is a personal one for her. “A few years ago, my cousin was in an abusive relationship. I never want anyone to experience what she endured ever again,” Houlihan said. She began volunteering at a local domestic violence agency when she was just 17 years old. “I fell in love with working with survivors of domestic violence because, like my cousin, they are by far the most courageous individuals on the planet.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that family is one of the most important things to Houlihan. But did you know she comes from a very big family? “I am the oldest of five kids and have over two dozen cousins, aunts, and uncles with whom I am very close. Although I live far away in New York year-round, when I go home to Massachusetts and we all get together, I am at my happiest.”

We expect to see Houlihan continue to advocate for survivors and inspire everyone she meets, just as she inspires us here at Pace.

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