Sarah Cahalan '14 | February 5, 2019
Cameasha Turner has always known she wanted to be a lawyer — to help people like her father, who, since before Cameasha was born, has been serving a life sentence for a crime that she says he didn’t commit.
“Growing up, I was like, ‘Man, this can’t be right. How could this happen?’” Turner says. “So I would always be like, ‘I want to go to law school. I want to get my dad out of prison.’ Of course, as life went on, it became about so much more than my dad…but I always told myself I wanted better. I want to fight that good fight.”
The Dallas native is now in her final semester of law school at Notre Dame, where her commitment to civil rights recently earned her a spot on the speaker list for the University’s 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
Turner was one of two student representatives on the seven-person MLK Celebration Luncheon panel, which, on Monday, January 21, discussed issues of diversity and inclusion before a crowd of 3,000-plus students, faculty and staff in a jam-packed Joyce Center. The appearance was the latest in a long line of impressive academic feats for the law student and Farley Hall assistant rector.
“I learned at a very young age that grades were so important,” she says.
With the goal of college — she would be the first in her family to attend — and law school always in mind, she applied that early lesson, graduating as valedictorian of her high school class in 2012 and moving on to the University of Texas at El Paso, where she studied criminal justice and played point guard on the women’s basketball team. At UTEP, she earned a 4.0 and, in 2016, was named a finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year.
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