The newest member of the J.D. Admissions team, Maya Staples, introduces herself.
Welcome to the J.D. Admissions Office, Maya! We’re so glad you’re here. Tell us a little bit about your background. What brought you to Harvard Law School?
Thank you! I am so happy to be here!
This past spring, I graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in English and a certificate in Creative Writing and Composition. After graduation, I made the move from Western Massachusetts, where I have lived my whole life, to Boston, in hopes of finding a job in the field of higher education.
Throughout my time at UMass, I worked primarily in the non-profit sector. I was the Community Meals Coordinator at the Amherst Survival Center, worked as a Co-Manager at a student run co-op, and helped run programming for children and teens who had developmental (dis)abilities. I often found myself in roles that required a lot of responsibility, which I feel really grateful for. I believe these experiences gave me the confidence I needed when applying to jobs after college, as that search can feel very daunting.
I identify primarily as a writer. It is what I went to school for and what I spend most of my time doing and thinking about. I love editing and writing poetry, but have recently been working on some creative non-fiction projects. I knew whatever professional position I found myself in, I wanted it to be a role that would require lots of writing. Luckily for me, there’s always plenty of emails to respond to in the J.D. Admissions inbox.
I give my friend all the credit for me stumbling upon this job. He put me in touch with a friend of his who works at HLS. I ended up applying to several different Office Assistant positions, and three months later, here I am working in the J.D. Admissions office and loving it.
You’ve been here a bit more than a month so far. How are things going? Any highlights so far? What are you excited for?
Things have been going great! I would say a highlight for me is talking on the phone with prospective students. I encounter a lot of people who are experiencing a lot of anxiety around the law school application process. I really enjoy talking with these applicants and answering any questions they have. I think it is a nice reminder for applicants to know there are real people reading their law applications and that each application is read front to back.
The front office has been pretty quiet as Harvard is currently closed to the public. I am looking forward to the day campus opens again as I would love to talk with people face to face and for everyone to get the joy of experiencing the beautiful HLS campus!
You’re the first person on our team that many prospective students interact with, either on the phone, or email. How many phone calls and emails do you think you handle each day?
This is a great question. It really varies. There have certainly been days where we receive more than 100. I find those days especially exciting.
We receive far fewer phone calls than we do emails. We ask that people sign up for a phone appointment online which I think is really helpful, because it gives me time to make notes and look up resources that will (hopefully) benefit the prospective student.
Any unique or interesting emails or phone calls so far?
Oh yes! There have been many interesting inquires, but I am not sure how much I can elaborate on some of the really unique calls due to confidentiality reasons.
I will say receiving mail from elementary school kids is pretty delightful. I know I was definitely not thinking about law school when I was seven. I would love to see who those kids end up being in 20 years. I am sure they will grow up to be pretty special adults.
What do you appreciate about working with applicants so far?
I really appreciate how thoughtful the applicants are. It makes me believe nice things about the world and the people who are alive on the planet.
What’s something you wish prospective students knew before reaching out to the J.D. Admissions Office?
There is a tremendous amount of valuable information on our website. For many of the questions we receive, the answer can be found on the J.D. Admissions webpage. I think people believe our office is much more secretive and elusive than we actually are. There are not that many secrets, often you just have to take the time to read.
The blog, in particular, is an excellent resource, as are all the FAQ pages.
How do you spend your free time? What do you like about living in New England?
Most of my friends are involved in the music world in one way or another, so a lot of my weekends are spent attending their shows. I am currently trying to work up the courage to start playing music out again. I used to play a lot of open mic nights a couple years ago and I have missed being on stage.
As for free time, I love making fancy milk drinks, watching Curb Your Enthusiasm or cult documentaries, writing poems, and collaging. I love the arts so usually my time is spent either thinking, seeing, or participating in that world in one way or another.
As far as New England favorites, there are quite a lot of them! I have lived in New England for my whole life and I feel as though I often take it for granted. Some highlights include: hiking Mt Tom (the “cliff walk” is one of my favorite places in the world), exploring the cornfields in Hadley, Massachusetts, and hanging out on the bike path. In Western MA, they have a bunch of electric bikes and the past few years my favorite activity was electric biking at sunset with my friends.