CJ began to get involved in science advocacy. She joined the March for Science Southern Arizona team in 2018 to help with the Science Voter's Guide and now serves on their board.
"I was inspired toward a law career when I discovered I enjoyed the time spent learning about policies, regulations, and legislative processes in Arizona."
She thought her experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries could be valuable in informing evidence-based policies. CJ reached out to attorneys at her work for mentorship in making a career change.
"They got me in contact with Dean Miller, who was fantastic at putting me in touch with faculty, staff, and students at the university. There were many kind people who spent time on the phone or met in person to help with the decision to study law."
"I want to leverage my training as a chemist and experience in product development and research to bring unique insights into my future law practice. I look forward to being a part of this exciting program to learn how technology and the law intersect."
In addition, CJ now has roots in Tucson and is excited to stay.
"Many of my mentors discussed the importance of networking and building a community where you want to practice. Because I love the area so much, I want to take advantage of the opportunity Arizona Law provides to start my future professional network here."
She also enjoys the Tucson food scene.
"In pre-COVID times, a dozen friends and I made a point of going to eat in a new restaurant once a month for the past few years. We've been all over Tucson and had excellent (and not-so-excellent) cuisines all over Tucson. One of our favorite places was a tiny Beninese restaurant on Swan. If you need recommendations for a place that you might not have considered, I love to talk Tucson food!"
As she begins her first semester at Arizona Law, CJ looks forward to learning about the different fields of law practice and their associated challenges. She is also eager to learn about how policy is made in order to influence policies to incorporate more science and evidence.
"One of my goals is to start an Arizona program, like California's CCST Science Fellows Program, to embed scientists in the legislature and better inform policy decisions."
CJ also has a small amount of experience with patents from the scientist's perspective and an interest in intellectual property.
Situations like those surrounding COVID-19 add to CJ's resolve to work toward bringing more science and evidence into decision-making processes.
"The massive amount of information and disinformation makes it difficult to know what to believe. I believe policies affecting us all should be based on the best available evidence. That's what motivates me to advance the role of science in those decisions. It's unfortunate the science is sometimes portrayed as partisan. The current, hopefully unique, situation underscores how important this issue is for Arizona and for the nation."