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Helping Students Help Others

Stella Boswell advises law students on the public sector

While on vacation in Sedona, Ariz., Stella Boswell stopped to blow a kiss to one of several pig statues in the city. Boswell collects pig-related items. Photo courtesy of Stella Boswell.

Name: Stella BoswellPosition: Senior career counselor and public interest advisor, School of LawYears at Duke: 8

What I do at Duke: I advise law students and some alumni on anything related to employment in the legal profession. My focus is advising students who want to be government or public interest lawyers and creating resources and programming to support students in those areas. When I went to law school I had the intention of practicing public interest law but after practicing law and working in other contexts in the legal profession, I ended up in counseling. Working at Duke enables me to do something I'm really passionate about: help others find their dream jobs. I also help a bit with students and alumni who want to work in the private sector.

If I had $5 million, I would: Try to facilitate efforts to allow more funding for legal aid lawyers. There are whole segments of this country without access to the legal system because they can't afford representation. If we can pay more lawyers to do this work, there's a great need for that.

My first ever job: I volunteered at the Children's Association for Maximum Potential camp for terminally ill or disabled children. I started doing it when I was 14 and did it through my second summer of college. I'd spend several weeks each summer in Texas. It's still in existence.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Bicycling. I love to ride my bike, and I'm on a sponsored, local bike team called LUNA Chix. We're sponsored by LUNA Bar. My team provides support and encouragement to women who want to ride. We host weekly group rides and host clinics to teach about bike handling and maintenance. I started biking when I was an undergraduate at Duke in 1988.

The best advice I ever received: Don't burn bridges, especially in the legal world, where things are much smaller than they seem. There's value in maintaining relationships.

When I'm not at work, I like to: Read and hang out with my family. We like to go on day hikes at the Duke Forest properties.

If I could have one superpower, it would be: To take away pain, either physically or emotionally. Sometimes you wish you could do more for people, and I'd like the power to get people out of a place where they doubt their abilities.

Something most people don't know about me: I love pigs and to some degree, I collect pig things. At work, I have a paper mache "pig in a blanket" that my daughter made in art class, a felted wool pig and my office keys are on a pig key chain. I had a pig or two at various times while growing up. My mom also collects pig things and has hundreds.

An interesting/memorable day at work for me: I don't have any one specific day, but I have really exciting days when I hear that a student or alumni I've worked with has been successful with getting a job or winning a case. I get to live a little vicariously through their excitement.