Founded in 2015, the Senior 27 is an exciting award society for graduating seniors who have made significant contributions during their time at UH to showcase and grow the University’s profile among students and the community. To explore the meaning of this honor, we caught up with Mahin Ansari (’15), a member of the inaugural Senior 27, who graduated with degrees in American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting and History. She is still on campus as a student at the University of Houston Law Center, and also works as a Client Advocate at Daya Houston and as an interpreter — not only in ASL, but Urdu and Hindi as well.
Why did you apply to be in the Senior 27, and what does the honor mean to you?
When I learned about the honor society and what it meant to be a part of it, I knew immediately that I could identify with its values of academic excellence, community service, and dedication to the University. It is definitely an honor to be selected out of so many deserving applicants and to be recognized for all of my hard work at UH.
Why did you decide to enroll at the UH Law Center, and how do you see your skills as an interpreter playing into a career in law?
I had always envisioned myself in the courtroom, but as a sign language interpreter, not as an attorney. Still, I took my chances and applied to the UH Law Center. I was surprised when I received my acceptance letter, but I was also overcome with joy. I could not believe UH was giving me the opportunity to join one of their most rigorous, highly ranked, and successful programs. My goal is to serve the South Asian and Deaf communities as an attorney that can provide direct access to communication.
Do you plan to stay involved with UH in the future, even after you graduate from the Law Center?
Absolutely. UH has many opportunities for its alumni to stay involved with the University. I would love to come back one day and contribute to the UH ASL Interpreting program in any way possible. I would also love to take a role in the Law Center’s immigration clinic, so I could serve survivors of human trafficking and individuals who are seeking asylum in the United States.
What do you hope to see for UH in the future?
I hope to see UH continue doing what it already does. The University is known to play an important role in our community, making a significant impact. For example, the UH ASL Interpreting Program volunteers in the Deaf community by interpreting plays, social events, and more. The UH Law Center has an amazing array of clinics that provide legal services to underserved members of the city of Houston. I would like to see UH continue to support our city by engaging in events like these, and continue to advance in its pursuit of academic excellence, research, and student diversity.