open menu


The Desire to Uplift

Admission Essay by Joanna Plaisir / Florida State University


I am a proud descendent of two individuals who emigrated from Haiti in pursuit of higher education and economic solvency for themselves and their family. Their determination shaped the work ethic that anchored my undergraduate career and continues to define my first post-graduate year. This determination arises from a devotion within me to uplift the exemplary, although often overlooked, communities of our nation from which I stem.

I unexpectedly discovered a vital aspect to my life’s passion when, as a member Florida State University’s W.E.B. Du Bois honor society, I went to the Boys and Girls Club of Tallahassee to tutor high school students. The club is located in Frenchtown, Tallahassee, a low socio-economic neighborhood primarily comprised of newly immigrated families. My experiences at the club were extremely consequential to me because I easily saw myself in my students. They were recent emigrants from Haiti and proficient in Haitian Creole, and French, but weak in English.

They were exceedingly intelligent and eager to learn and engage in their studies. However, they lacked the resources, such as personalized instruction with language translation, to properly acclimate and thrive in their new environment.

As their tutor, I attempted to provide the students with what their schools could not, using my experiences as both a Haitian American and an exceptional scholar. Through my work, I realized then that a vital aspect of my future profession had to include using my skills to promote the disenfranchised, especially outside the immediate purview of my community.

As an avid traveler, I have always been enthralled by the exploration of cultures.

Differences—from cuisine to social norms—distinguish one nation from another, but, I have noted, despite regional variations, their legal systems often mirror one another. This dual-sided nature of international law encapsulates everything that drives me in my academic and personal pursuits, and thus will become a significant part of my legal education.

A major goal I have at Boston College is to research Asia’s legal systems, with a focus on corporate law as Asia increasingly becomes the world’s economic hub.

I also plan to study abroad at China’s Renmin University. After graduation, my hope is to serve as legal counsel to an international corporation and continue to discover ways to contribute to legal scholarship on a personal, national, and international scale.

Illustration by Dana Smith