Third-year law student Brooke Purcell was recently awarded a Fulbright Binational Business Grant to intern with a multinational company in Mexico beginning in September until June 2006.
“The idea is to promote trade among the NAFTA nations and increase the understanding of NAFTA’s effects on Mexico and the United States,” Purcell said.
Purcell is one of only eight students selected for the Fulbright/García Robles Grant nationwide in an application process that began last September and included interviews with a U.Va. panel, review by a New York committee, and in February a phone interview with Mexican officials conducted in Spanish. Law School students have a strong history with the Fulbright program; including Purcell, four students have won fellowships since 2000.
While Purcell will spend her days at the company, either in Mexico City or Monterrey, two nights a week she will take graduate courses in international business law. The Fulbright is intended to cover all living, transportation, and educational expenses for the duration of the scholarship.
“I’m interested in international trade issues, and I’m also interested in socially responsible business models,” said Purcell, who added that she wanted to expand her expertise in international business to help her focus her career, considering everything from microcredit organizations to protecting Mexican interests in trade deals. “I thought this would be a great experience for me.”
Purcell was attracted to foreign languages early in life, learning French as a child and Spanish beginning in high school. While an undergraduate at Dartmouth she spent a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and after graduating she was an assistant teacher in Dartmouth’s study abroad program, traveling with students to Puebla, Mexico, and Lyon, France. In preparation for her application, an LL.M. student from Peru helped Purcell brush up on her Spanish legal and business terminology for the phone interview, and a University professor certified her written and oral Spanish skills.
Purcell also participated in the Law School’s Law & Business Program, taking entry level and advanced courses in that concentration, including International Dispute Resolution and Emerging Markets, among others. As a member of the Human Rights Study Project last year, she journeyed to Sierra Leone and researched the effects of the illegal diamond trade there. She has also worked with the International Rescue Committee's refugee legal aid project, helping two French-speaking families from Togo apply for their green cards.
This summer she will study for the New York bar in Melbourne, Australia,
and after her work in Mexico she plans to join the corporate department
of New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.