Meet Claire Reiling: Our August Leading Woman
Name: Claire Reiling
Hometown: St. Peters, Missouri
What are you career goals?
I would love to one day be involved with international human rights advocacy either through working with the International Criminal Court based in The Hague or with agencies like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Essentially, Amal Clooney is my idol for her work in prosecuting war crimes and genocide on the international scale. Here in the US, I want to get involved with civil rights work with the ACLU and by influencing responsible, effective public policy.
What are you involved in at Mizzou?
At Mizzou I am a Student Justice on the Judicial Peer Advisory Council in the Office of Student Accountability and Support, a member of Phi Alpha Delta, a Junior Initiate of Phi Beta Kappa and an undergraduate aid in the Department of Anthropology.
What are you involved in outside of Mizzou?
This past semester, I volunteered with the City of Columbia's Law Office within their Commission on Human Rights. I helped perform research on the city's fair housing movement of the 1950s and 1960s as well as the civil rights movement here in town in general. Through this, I was also able to hear the personal testimonies of citizens in town and their experiences of prejudice and discrimination within Columbia.
What are you up to this summer?
This summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Summer University Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina for two weeks, studying genocide and conflict resolution while also getting to participate in the Peace March. This march is the same 63-mile long path taken by men fleeing Srebrenica during the 1995 Genocide that resulted in the deaths of over 8,000 men in a matter of days, originally called the death march. During the lectures, I was fortunate enough to hear from officials of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Office of the High Representative (OHR), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as survivors of the genocide and concentration camps. Other than that, I'm currently applying for fellowships and studying for the LSAT (send prayers that your girl can pull an Elle Woods) while working full time.
What's your favorite thing that you're involved in and why?
I really treasure the time I spend as a Student Justice for JPAC in the student conduct process. Unlike what most people imagine, I'm really only there to lend a friendly face and offer support and advice during times of trouble or stress for other students, ensuring that they receive the education and/or resources they need to thrive here at MU. I think it's too easy to forget that people make mistakes, most especially when they're struggling with something else going on. I'm there to check in on students and reach out to them in case they need help. I'm not there to judge or punish students. Instead, I'm there to offer empathy and support in times where they might be facing a great deal of shaming and judgment.
What are you passionate about?
The better question is probably what am I not passionate about since I have always had an innate, intense interest in many topics. But, if I had to boil it down to one thing, I am most passionate about learning. I have never been the kid who dreaded or hated school (I'm pretty sure I sprinted my way into kindergarten). But, truly, I have always had a passion for learning about as much as I can. As a child, my favorite and most frequent word was 'why', much to the frustration of my parents. I enjoy hearing about the world and all of its different people and cultures. I love learning about humanity in general and how we came to be what we are. I am fascinated by science and history as well as literature and the arts. I just find this world so fascinating and I want to experience and learn as much as I can in my limited time here. But, more than that, I want to use my passion for learning by educating myself on the inequalities and injustices of the world so I can work to correct them.
What's your favorite thing about Theta?
In my three years with Theta, I have appreciated most the wonderful community of women who constantly encourage and challenge me. I love having a sisterhood where your sister's success is celebrated as much as your own. A sisterhood that genuinely cares for me and pushes me out of my comfort zone to apply for things I would never dared to before. Because of my sisters, I've gone to the Dominican Republic with MAB, Washington D.C. for the summer with the Kinder Institute, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to study genocide. I would never have thought I could have done those things or thought I was deserving of them without my friends in Theta who knocked some sense in me. These women have helped me become the confident, self-assured woman I had always wanted to be when I was younger. My theta friendships are some of my most meaningful and treasured friendships as they are the friends who I can count on to support me and accept me as the quirky gal I am.
Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory?
I have many, many favorite Theta memories (most of which come from living in house), but I would have to say my favorite was an impromptu, late night dance session to Mamma Mia's soundtrack in the Theta basement with all of my best friends. (We were really knocking it out of the park, let me tell ya).
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy a good face mask and chill to some relaxing music (self-care is vital, y'all). I like to paint and sing around the house (despite being not quite great at either). I love staying in and watching a good ole romantic comedy with my friends (2005 Pride and Prejudice and Mamma Mia is staple in my household). You can often catch me reading a new book when I have the time. If I'm entirely honest, I watch more vine compilations and Buzzfeed Unsolved/conspiracy videos on YouTube than most. I just enjoy relaxing and doing simple, fun tasks to unwind after a long, stressful day.