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UC Law student awarded Shanda L. Spurlock Scholarship

Sarah Ochieng recognized for dedication and leadership potential

The Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati has awarded this year's Shanda L. Spurlock Memorial Scholarship to Sarah Ochieng, a second-year student at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. The scholarship is awarded to an African American law student who shows outstanding leadership potential and dedication to the Cincinnati community.

Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Ochieng came to the U.S. at age 17 to study at Xavier University. Ochieng credits her upbringing in Kenya with inspiring her to serve others.

Portrait of Law Student Sarah Ochieng

Sarah Ochieng

“Growing up, I saw a lot of people suffering from poverty in my country, Kenya, and in the communities there when you see that somebody needs help, you help them. That’s how my mom and dad brought me up, with that mindset.” said Ochieng.

While an undergraduate, Ochieng studied political science, gender & diversity studies, and theater. She was also a Brueggeman research fellow and used that opportunity to study child marriage in Africa and investigate strategies for ending the practice.

After graduation, Ochieng joined the Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati, an outreach program run by St. Vincent DePaul. For the next year, she served as a client advocate and “getting ahead coordinator,” helping clients suffering from poverty obtain basic needs and financial support. She also met with them to learn more about their circumstances and help them plan for the future.

After graduation, Ochieng decided to remain in Cincinnati and attend the UC College of Law.

“After my studies at Xavier and the year of service, I felt a sense of community in Cincinnati. Also, the Human Rights Quarterly and the Urban Morgan Fellowship attracted me to Cincinnati Law,” Ochieng said.

When you see that somebody needs help, you help them.

Sarah Ochieng

Among her many activities at UC's College of Law, Ochieng competes with the Trial Practice Team, is the managing editor of  the Human Rights Quarterly, is a member of the Moot Court Board, and completed a judicial internship at the High Court of Botswana.

Ochieng is interested in corporate law because of the influential role of corporations in global affairs, but also human rights and international law.

“Human rights has been a passion of mine since I was young--there are so many issues that affect communities, especially in developing countries,” she said. “I also think it’s important to understand corporate law, because it intersects with so many other aspects of the law and corporations influence a lot of things that are going on in the world.”

Further reading

The Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati is a bar association that works to ensure all lawyers and law students are given the opportunity to share equally in the benefits of the legal profession.

The Urban Morgan Institute is a world leader in legal education and human rights scholarship. Students are connected with opportunities for hands-on experiences at sites around the world, and edit the Human Rights Quarterly, the first academic journal devoted to international human rights.