Natasha Karamally, a third year International Studies: Political Science major, is the leader of UCSD’s Mock Trial team. A graduating senior, Natasha is spending her third and final year running the competitive student organization and, in doing so, chasing her dreams of a career in law. By dedicating hours of her time to the program, Natasha has helped the team grow substantially, and it seems that the competition and team dynamics of Mock Trial have taught her a great deal, as well. When she is not participating in a fake trial, Natasha enjoys spending time with her family and visiting the beautiful beaches in San Diego. Let’s hear from her!
Can you tell me a little bit about Mock Trial at UCSD?
Mock Trial at UCSD is a student organization in which students act as fake lawyers and fake witnesses and put on a fake trial in a real courtroom, in front of real judges and attorneys. We compete against other schools at tournaments all over the country throughout the year.
How has UCSD’s Mock Trial been doing in it’s current season? Are there major tournaments coming up for the team?
We’ve been doing really well! We took first place at a tournament for the first time in Santa Barbara two weeks ago. We’re going to a huge tournament at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. this weekend, and have our regional and national tournaments coming up in the next few months.
Why did you initially choose to join Mock Trial?
I did Mock Trial in high school and really enjoyed it, so when I saw a table about Mock Trial on Library Walk during my first year, I decided to check it out and get involved. That year, it ended up being where I spent the vast majority of my time and found the people who are now my best friends.
What are some of the greatest things you’ve learned from your experience on UCSD’s Mock Trial team?
I could go on forever. I’ve learned more than I could explain about communication and professionalism. I’ve learned how to lead a group of people successfully, and how to deal with difficult people in the best manner possible. I’ve learned to put the interests of a team before my own, because I made a commitment to do so. I’ve learned a great deal about the law and the American justice system. I’ve learned how to argue a case and persuade, and I believe that all of these skills will truly aid me in my professional life.
Do you believe Mock Trial helped you decide your future career path?
Definitely. I’m going to be a criminal lawyer some day.
How do you balance a position of leadership with other school responsibilities?
It’s really difficult. Being in charge of Mock Trial requires putting in 4 – 6 hours of work every single day, and attending competitions on weekends for most of the school year. It has been really tough to balance that with schoolwork, a job and my personal and family responsibilities, and I feel like I’ve definitely slacked in other parts of my life along the way. I’m still trying to find that ideal balance.
When you’re not focused on Mock Trial, what else do you do enjoy doing in your free time?
I spend a lot of weekends that are off from Mock Trial at home in Irvine with my parents. I love going to the beach and exploring San Diego, but honestly don’t really have time for those things. I spend most of my non-Mock Trial time catching up on school work and working.
Do you have any advice for other college women?
I think it is really important for everyone to find an activity or club or organization that they love, and to delve into it head first. I think its important to find your passion and to work as hard as you possibly can at it. If it’s something that is related to and will help your future career path, like Mock Trial is for me, that’s even better. Being a leader is trying, but very rewarding, and I think all women should find positions of leadership in whatever their passion or niche is.
What has been your favorite memory from UCSD Mock Trial?
I would have to go with the National Championship Tournament in Washington D.C. last April, when we made UCSD Mock Trial history by taking 4th place in the nation, out of over 700 teams. We spent an entire week there and explored the city in addition to attending the tournament, and being in the capitol of our nation and seeing the government working around me was inspiring. I fell in love with the city and the environment, and I hope I can work as an attorney and live in D.C. someday.