Editor’s Note: As the nation responds to COVID-19, NYLS alumni and students are sharing their time, talents, and resources to benefit their local communities and the School. In this series, we share their stories.
For the past four years, Kacia Wilson 1L has balanced full-time school with a part-time job in the Lenox Hill Hospital Emergency Room.
She works weekends, keeping the ER fully stocked on supplies, escorting patients to their scans, and assisting with other duties as needed.
The job was always busy, but a month ago, everything changed.
Lenox Hill added a second ER to accommodate the flood of COVID-19 patients and converted most of its facility into COVID units. Staff at the hospital—like hospitals throughout the city—have faced shortages of protective equipment.
After her first COVID shift, Wilson came home exhausted and upset. But the next morning, she returned for her next shift.
Adding to the stress, Wilson’s mother works at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and her older sister is a nurse at Lenox Hill. Wilson’s younger sister has asthma, and the family is being vigilant about keeping her sequestered.
Why She’s Giving Back
“People have asked me why I don’t decline shifts or quit,” Wilson said. “I was born and raised in New York. This is my home and my heart. How could I not help in this time of need?”
A graduate of Townsend Harris High School in Queens, Wilson says that the school’s directive, “To leave my city greater than I found it,” guided her decision.
At NYLS, Wilson is pursuing her longtime interest in criminal law with the same drive and purpose. This fall, she’ll extern with the New York County Public Defender’s Office. Later in law school, she plans to enroll in Advocacy of Criminal Cases—an intense criminal justice simulation course—and to take part in one of NYLS’s 20-plus legal clinics to explore her interests.
“I want to effect change and help people who are treated unfairly in the criminal justice system,” she says.
Wilson is also Vice President of the Caribbean and West Indian Law Students Association and a member of the Black Law Students Association.
Wilson’s mother is also a graduate student, studying Social Work so that she can take on a larger role at her hospital.
“She immigrated here from Jamaica in the mid ’90s,” Wilson said. “It’s taken her this long to finish school because she took care of me, my three sisters, and my cousin, by herself. She is truly amazing.
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