Laura Whipple drops her overstuffed blue Vera Bradley tote on the Marketplace table with a clump and runs over to say hello. She is full of energy — not surprising given the multiple cups of coffee she drinks daily. A bit flustered and on the move, she still takes time to sit down and ask her friends how they’re doing. Without cues, she congratulates each on their respective achievements of the past week and wishes them luck on their upcoming papers and exams. There are times I think Laura takes notes whenever people say they have a test or event coming up so that when the day arrives, she can remember to send them a note or text to say she is sending her best wishes. I’ve learned that loyal, caring friends still exist, and this week’s That Girl is one of them.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I’d say just being at the beach with my grandfather, grandmother and our whole family, running across the sand into the ocean and riding the waves back to shore.
Can you tell me a little bit about your family?
I’m from Princeton, New Jersey. People like to give me a hard time about being from New Jersey, but I’m only an hour from Philly and New York. My family is pretty close-knit; there are 16 of us within a 20-minute radius.
What is a random fact from your childhood?
I went to Little Fiddler Academy for preschool, and that’s where I learned to play the violin.
And a recent favorite memory?
Watching the sunset in Zurich and then the sunrise in Paris after a 10-day backpacking trip.
Were you studying abroad at the time?
Yes, in Bath, England. Aside from making me appreciate American culture and falling in love with British culture, it’s where I found my academic focus. I interned at the Bath Magistrate, which provided me with experiences that I had never really had before. I came back much more independent and confident. I wouldn’t say I went to go to find myself, but I definitely realized a lot about myself while I was there.
Did you leave wanting to study law?
I’ve always been interested in right and wrong. To me, understanding what affects a person and why they would become a criminal, and how to handle that in a process which helps society is really interesting. Since I returned from Bath, I’ve done a lot of research on victim offender mediation programs and the dilemmas restorative justice is facing toward widespread implementation.
So where do you go from here?
Well I am going to law school next year and, ideally, in three years I will be clerking and working in some position in an alternate court such as a mental help or drug ward. I think our justice system needs to be fixed, and I’m really interested in what therapeutic justice has to offer. It will marry my interest in helping people as well as my strong interest in law and justice.
What has been the most difficult thing you have had to deal with at school?
Well I’ve been in a walking cast for three out of the past four years, and I probably spent four weeks on campus in crutches. Two ankle surgeries were pretty frustrating.