Red Deer Alumnus Goes to Harvard Law School – Red Deer Advocate


Helena Rickards’ international studies at the University of Glasgow have been cut short due to the pandemic.

But now the former Red Deer student is tied to Harvard Law School in Boston.

The University of Calgary psychology student, who applied to six law schools, said she couldn’t pass up such an incredible opportunity when she learned she had been accepted into this prestigious institution. .

“It was my interlocutor who called me, not an admissions officer. I assumed she had just called me to politely tell me I was being rejected, ”said Rickards, 21.

“It was just shocking,” she said of his acceptance. “I really couldn’t form sentences. “

She said competition in post-secondary schools was even tougher than usual this year due to postponements from 2020 which reduced available places and the number of students who put their study plans on hold last year. and were returning to academia.

But she wholeheartedly encourages students to pursue their Ivy League aspirations.

“Everyone should apply. They are looking for such diverse things. They are probably interested in whatever you have on your CV.

In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Rickards studied ballet for many years and was invited to join programs with the Boston Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and Radio City Rockettes.

Rickards said she envisions a career in criminal law with a focus on reforming the justice system and / or the prison system to recognize people with mental health issues. Often the system criminalizes mental illness.

“I really enjoyed the abnormal psychology and clinical psychology, looking at disorders and their impact on people. Much of our prison system lacks mental health care for people, ”she said.

For his dissertation, Rickards wrote about the interactions between the black community and the criminal justice system in Calgary, which also focused on system reform.

“I was able to interview criminal lawyers, police officers and black activists to get a feel for how the Black Lives Matter movement has changed Calgary and how reforms are being undertaken and not undertaken, and who is included in the speech.”

Helena’s parents, Christopher Rickards and Donna Purcell, are both lawyers in Red Deer.

Purcell said her daughter’s admission to Harvard almost made her cry.

“To see that she would have the opportunity to do something like that.” It was a dream I could never have had. We’re thrilled for it, ”Purcell said.

“Harvard Law is where they want you to change the world.”

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