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New Partnership to Educate Young Women About Careers in Law

A new partnership aims to spark an interest among young women to learn more about the legal system and possibly pursue a career in law.

Cincinnati Public Schools Girls to Women (G2W) District Coordinator and Student Engagement Specialist Shelly Conrad, Ohio First District Court of Appeals Judge Marilyn Zayas and Withrow University High School junior and G2W student Sanaa May met in a courtroom May 22, 2023 to begin the student-designed program.

May will co-design a “Girls in Law” program, under the direction of Conrad and Judge Zayas, that will be added as a pillar to the Girls to Women program for the 2023- 2024 school year.

“In an effort to amplify the female voice in the field of law, with an emphasis on the voices of women of color, it is essential for our young ladies in CPS to be among women they can identify with. Those who have made their marks and paved the way for their futures. Judge Zayas is one of those women,” Conrad said. “I am excited for this program to launch in the upcoming school year and proud of Sanaa who will get the opportunity to flex her leadership muscles while gaining more knowledge about her dream career as an attorney.”

“It’s really important to make sure every child is able to dream big, for them to be able to meet people of different backgrounds - mine being growing up in a very difficult neighborhood - and to see that these kinds of careers are not just for special people. They’re for everyone,” Judge Zayas said.  

During the initial meeting, Judge Zayas invited May to try on her robe, formally enter the courtroom and sit in the judge’s seat, allowing May to envision her dreams as a successful woman in the field of law.

“Experiencing just one day with Judge Zayas truly showed me the day-in-the-life of a Court of Appeals Judge who is not only a female, but a person of color," May said. "I am so grateful for this experience, and hope to create greater opportunities for other female CPS students wishing to explore law as a career choice in the future.”