For this edition of Texas Law’s Student Spotlight series, meet 2L Natalya Baptiste! She serves as the 2023-24 president of the Thurgood Marshall Law Society.
Q: How has having a leadership role with TMLS added to your overall law school experience?
A: The Thurgood Marshall Legal Society (TMLS) has been at the core of my favorite law school memories and experiences. Serving as the president of TMLS this year has been an absolute privilege and a true honor, and every moment of it has filled me with gratitude. The Black community at Texas Law—comprised of faculty, staff, and students—consists of the most intelligent, resilient, and supportive individuals that I have ever encountered in my academic and professional career. Each day, entering the law school feels like a blessing, knowing that I have a second family in Texas in TMLS, and I take pride in being given the responsibility to lead our community.
What’s your favorite Texas Law moment to date?
My favorite moment at Texas Law was TMLS’s first annual Black Women’s Brunch. This event was designed to bring together Black women in the legal community across Texas, celebrating our intersectionality and fostering discourse about navigating the legal field and empowerment. This moment served as a powerful reminder that, as a Black woman, I am joining a legacy of women who are achieving the seemingly impossible and advancing justice and diverse perspectives in the legal field every day.
What are some ways that you maintain a healthy balance between school and life?
Although law school life is busy, I still make time for meditation and continue the hobbies I enjoyed before starting law school. I find relaxation in playing tennis with friends, singing, and cooking.
What is your biggest motivator to keep pursuing this career?
My biggest motivator to keep pursuing a career in law comes from the unwavering support and love I have from my family. Both of my parents are immigrants from the Caribbean, and when they moved to this country, they made significant sacrifices for the betterment of our extended family who wished to immigrate to the U.S. and for my siblings and me to pursue our dreams. Throughout my upbringing, I witnessed my parents wholeheartedly commit themselves to obtaining an education and working tirelessly, all while providing support for family members who fell victim to the American criminal justice and immigration system. Pursuing a career is not solely to equip me with the skills and resources to provide for my family, but also to empower me with the voice and education to contribute to the well-being of the Black community.