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Aisha Dennis

Job Title
Attorney
Company
Federal Public Defender of the Northern District of Texas
University
Harvard University
New York University
Corps Year: 
2008
Corps Region: 
Metro Atlanta

Her time as a TFA corps member prepared Aisha Dennis for the courtroom. She credits her teaching experience with giving her the confidence to stand up and advocate for her clients in front of anyone.  After learning how to captivate an audience of high school seniors - with their occasional bouts of senioritis - appearing in court, meeting with clients, and speaking with others throughout her cases, feels less intimidating.

Career Path

Teach For America: Metro Atlanta Corps
In addition to teaching high school economics, Aisha created a college-readiness elective to help her students navigate the college admissions process.
New York University School of Law
While enrolled in law school, Aisha was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar and she spent an entire semester working on an Alabama death penalty case with attorney Bryan Stevenson.
NYU Juvenile Defense Clinic
Aisha represented kids in juvenile delinquency proceedings in the Manhattan Family Court. She saw many parallels between teaching underserved youth and advocating for them in the legal system.
Clerkships
Following her graduation from NYU, Aisha clerked with a federal trial judge in her hometown of Columbia, SC, before heading to Jackson, MS to clerk with a federal appeals court judge.
Federal Public Defender
TFA helped Aisha develop a familiarity with and connection to the communities she serves as an attorney, and provided her with a support network of other justice-minded professionals.

Q & A

Q
How did your experience as a TFA corps member influence you not just as an attorney, but also as a person?
A

I matured due to the responsibility associated with being a teacher. Being “Ms. Dennis” changed my perspective on myself—I became a capable adult who was responsible for preparing high school seniors for their next steps and the real world. Given the weight of that responsibility and my ability to take it on, I now feel that I can do almost anything.

Q
How has your TFA experience impacted your career?
A

It further fueled my passion for serving underserved communities. I want to fight for social change in the legal arena just as I did in the classroom. I learned to captivate an audience and manage a large number of students with varying needs. This improved my court performance and helped me manage my caseload. I now have a network of justice-minded professionals who frequently lend me support.

Q
In what ways did your TFA experience influence your beliefs?
A

TFA affirmed my beliefs and passion regarding the need for social change and justice.  And while it may sound cliche, the experience showed me that I can really make a difference.

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