My name is Merel Pontier, I am 27 years old, and I am from The Netherlands. Before I came to the University of Texas at Austin, I worked at the prosecutor’s office in Netherlands. I graduated law school in 2016, also in The Netherlands. During my studies, I have worked for law firms specialized in criminal law in New York and New Orleans, as well as in The Netherlands. My focus is on criminal law, specifically capital punishment. I came to The University of Texas at Austin primarily because of the capital punishment class and clinic. I would like to specialize in that area of law, and hopefully become a defense attorney working on capital cases. That is my passion more than anything. Since my country doesn’t have the death penalty – which I consider to be a good thing – I decided to give up my job, and come to Texas to pursue this new career. My research topic with the Institute for Transnational Law will also be related to capital punishment. I am very excited to be part of this amazing program, and can’t wait to start my research fellowship with the Institute.