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Student spotlight: Meghan Grumbling

Get to know Legal Clinic intern, Meghan Grumbling!

Year: 2nd
Major: Government and Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Hometown: Smithfield, VA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you're at UVA?
I lived in Smithfield, Virginia (located in Hampton Roads) my entire life before moving to Charlottesville for school, so I know the area quite well! Downtown Smithfield is absolutely gorgeous; with Victorian style houses, locally owned bakeries and an ice cream parlor, and a wonderful park. It's a great area!

Why are you passionate about the Women's Center?
As a Women, Gender and Sexuality major, I am incredibly interested in women's rights and empowerment. I am a proud feminist and as such, I believe the work that the Women's Center does is vital to the Charlottesville community. Specifically, my work with the Legal Clinic provides much needed legal advice from attorneys to community members for free. Legal advice is incredibly expensive, but necessary for so many people, so the work the Women's Center is doing is transforming the lives of many in the Charlottesville area.

What is your favorite UVA tradition?
At convocation during students's first week at college, they sit on the Lawn, facing the Rotunda, and are addressed by the University. While I enjoyed this, I enjoy the prospect of commencement at my graduation more. Originally, students faced away from the Rotunda, toward the Blue Ridge Mountains, as an indication that they are now a part of the world as a whole, not just UVA. I love Jefferson's mentality behind that, but what fascinates me is how this tradition evolved. Just below the Blue Ridge mountains was a predominately African American community that formed after slaves were emancipated. Unfortunately, due to the long history of racism associated with the University, school officials decided that the visibility of African Americans was not suitable for UVA, so the construction of Old Cabell Hall began. While this tradition is not my "favorite" in the colloquial sense, I believe sharing this story is of utmost importance so the true history of UVA is shown, and not just a polished version that ignores the plight of many lives that weren't benefitted by the University, and to gain a holistic, intersectional view of UVA.

What's a fun fact you'd like people to know about you?
I was a competitive sailor in high school! My team sailed 2 kinds of boats: 420s and FJs. While I don't sail that much anymore, I still love it and will hop into a boat whenever I have the opportunity!

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Malala Yousafzai. Now 18, when this young female activist was 14, she was shot by the Taliban for advocating for access to education for young women and girls. Ever since I heard about her experience, I have followed her story and she is such an inspiring young woman. Younger than I, she has already published an autobiography, opened a school for refugee girls, and won the Nobel Peace Prize. I would love to have the opportunity to meet and talk to such an inspiring woman.

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