Amber Acuna leapt at the chance to help her stepfather, a high school teacher, when he chaperoned educational trips throughout Western Europe. As she spent summers touring the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany, she repeatedly saw the United States' influence on these countries.
"The world is a big place, but it's also kind of small," said Acuna. "You can see how American pop culture, entertainment, music and movies affect people overseas."
She initially majored in psychology at San Francisco State University, but then she took an Introduction to World Affairs course that piqued her interest in international relations, which eventually made her want to go to law school. The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks fed her desire to learn more about the Middle East and American Foreign Policy, and the Orange County native found Southwestern a perfect fit for her interests in global entertainment.
The oldest of four daughters and a fifth generation American whose family lineage combines Portuguese, Irish, French, Mexican, and Spanish ancestry, Acuna, 24, isn't just the first in her family to go to law school; she's the first to graduate from college.
In addition to working
part time in Southwestern's Development Office, Acuna was active in student
organizations. As director of Club Activities & Ethnic Affairs for the SBA in Fall 2006,
she was in charge of the Cultural Food Fair. She was also on the board for the
Women's Law Association and looked forward to the speakers who talk ed about
issues that she considers important for her future, such as balancing work and
"My number one goal with these groups is to increase student involvement with all things extracurricular around campus," she said. "All of our classmates are our future colleagues and getting to know them now creates a feeling of community and belonging, which we'll hopefully build on during our careers."
During the summer of 2006, Acuna externed for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, Criminal Division (Pacific Branch) where she got a lot of experience interviewing witnesses and observing prosecutors at work. She sat in on jury selections and was quite flattered that lawyers asked for her input. She also met a lot of Southwestern alumni, who she says are really supportive. "They all give you advice and it's a close community."