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Tulane Law School
New Orleans, Louisiana

Exactly ten years after graduation from Palm Bay High School, Clarissa graduated from Tulane Law with a Juris Doctor degree and a Certificate in Environmental Studies.  Two days after graduation she started working as a Certified Legal Intern at the Brevard State Attorney's Office, working full time while studying for the Bar Exam, and passing the exam on her first try.

Clarissa chose Tulane for its strong reputation for trial advocacy instruction and focus on public interest law.  She seized opportunities for real-world legal experience as a student lawyer at the Tulane Criminal Law Clinic, as a volunteer trial assistant with the Orleans Indigent Defender Program, and as a Work-Study Intern at the United States Attorney's Office. 

She was a student member of the New Orleans Inn of Court and tutored elementary school students as part of the Free Tutoring Program of New Orleans on the north border of the French Quarter on Saturday mornings.  Also, as a volunteer with the Project for Older Prisoners, Clarissa worked with fellow law students to secure the release of elderly and infirm prisoners from Angola Prison in order to make room for more violent convicted offenders.

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Clarissa's time at Tulane taught her how to make the most of every minute of each day.

Tulane Law faculty selected her to be a Senior Fellow and Instructor in its Legal Research and Writing Program for first-year law students.  She was named to the Order of Barristers and as an Administrative Justice on the Moot Court Board after winning both the Intraschool Appellate (briefwriting and oral argument) and Intraschool Trial competitions (with trial partner Rod West, pictured below, on right) during her second year. She was Captain of Tulane's National Trial Team traveling to out of state competitions the following year.

She was also an active member of the Tulane Public Interest Law Foundation and was awarded grants to pursue summer work in child abuse and sex crimes prosecution before being elected President of this organization her third year.

During her years at Tulane Law Clarissa was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for Oral Advocacy, the Callaghan Book Award for Excellence in Oral Advocacy, and the Dora Rosen Scholarship.

As the daughter of a single mother of three who was a financially struggling Brevard County school teacher, Clarissa is most proud that she was able to put herself through law school, and college before that, through a combination of multiple part-time jobs, scholarships, grants, and loans.

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Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

Clarissa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in International Politics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.  She worked her way through college as a nanny, typist, Work-Study employee at the Georgetown Athletics office, restaurant server on the overnight shift at the American Cafe, and legislative research assistant for the Electronic Mail Association -- when e-mail was in its fledgling stages!

Georgetown named Clarissa an Alumni Admissions Program Scholarship recipient, a John Carroll Scholar, a member of its touring Admissions Office recruitment team, and a Model Collegiate Organization of American States delegate.  The most exciting part of college for her though was being a multi-year cheerleader for the National Championship-winning Hoyas basketball team.

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Palm Bay High School

Clarissa's years at Palm Bay High were among the best of her life.  After a tumultuous childhood of many moves and attending nine different schools before the ninth grade, with the social adjustments and periodic "new kid" bullying that came with that, she was welcomed into a huge, supportive and loving student body at Palm Bay High.  Decades later she still enjoys warm ties to those special classmates.

She jumped into practically every activity the school had to offer -- clubs, student government, debate, Brain Bowl, tennis, cheerleading, science research, and community volunteering.  In her senior year she received the Principal's Award and was named Florida Girl of the Year by the Florida Exchange Clubs, a Florida Girls' State delegate, and a U.S. Congressman Bill Nelson Intern; and she was one of two Century III Leaders Award Scholarship recipients for the state of Florida.

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