Brian Messing, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Alexis Skinner was selected as the 2019 recipient of the Reynolds Scholarship Award for pre-law students. Selection for the award is highly competitive, with a key emphasis on academic achievement and financial need. Skinner was selected as the recipient by a panel of three Saint Martin’s faculty: William Stadler, Ph.D, Shawn Newman, J.D., and Robert Hauhart, Ph.D, J.D.
When asked about what it meant for her to receive the award from her professors, Skinner said: “For them to pick me for this role and to see that I exemplify a good student [and that] I excel in my academics is very flattering.”
Skinner grew up in the small town of Ferndale, Wash. in Whatcom County, not far from Bellingham or the Canadian border. She came to Saint Martin’s as a first generation college student in 2016. Her family emigrated from El Salvador as refugees during that country’s civil war.
This unique past gives her a different approach to college than others:
“Growing up has been different from most because I have a lot of pressure given all of the sacrifices that they have made to come here. I make sure that I take every opportunity seriously.”
Skinner says that she is seeking further higher education in part because of all of the sacrifices that her family has made.
When asked why she wanted to study law, Skinner said, “From a young age for some reason, I gravitated towards law. For one I argue all the time.”
Skinner also mentioned that she is very passionate about the criminal justice system, in particular the demographics of the prison population. She believes that it is not a coincidence that a large percentage of the prison population is African-American males, given lots of legislation and case precedents that she believes are very problematic and contribute to the situation.
When asked how law could help her fix the problem, Skinner said, “So I figure, why don’t I just go into the system myself and try to change it…Rather than sit back and complain about it, I actually want to do something.”
Skinner is interested in practicing many different kinds of law in her future career. Her dream is to practice tribal law, something that she is very passionate about. She is interested in many of the complex legal issues that arise from the legal status of tribes and their governance. However, since she is not Native American, she understands that it may be difficult to practice tribal law as an outsider.
Skinner also has a passion for immigration law. She mentioned that a lot of this comes from her family’s background, and the fact that she speaks Spanish is an additional plus.
Skinner also wants to know more about marijuana law. This is of particular interest to her given that marijuana is illegal at the federal level, yet some states have made it legal in their own respective jurisdictions.
This question of interpretation led Skinner to reflect by saying, “The law can be interpreted into the way you want it. I want to make sure when and if I become a lawyer that I use it to my advantage.”