Soni Madnani ’16 Delves into Social Activism

Soni Madnani '16 speaks with attorney Jason Tulley of the Public Defender Service. (Photo by Emma Robertson)

Soni Madnani ’16 spent this past summer working in the Public Defender Service for Washington, D.C. as an investigative intern, a role that involved collecting evidence for serious felony cases. Soni, a student at Bucknell University, was tasked with interviewing witnesses and victims, digging up criminal records, and visiting suspects in prison. Her work was ultimately in service of ensuring that defendants receive a fair trial.

“I wanted this opportunity because it’s hands-on experience you can’t get anywhere else,” said Soni in a feature on Bucknell’s website. “It’s all about persistence. Interns here don’t give up until they’ve found out the facts of the case.”

Her internship was facilitated by the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, which places students in agencies serving disadvantaged communities. Soni, who studies political science, Spanish, and economics at Bucknell, has a keen interest in social and civil rights work, an interest that she said was sparked at George School.

“Opportunities for activism were placed at our feet,” said Soni. “When I came to Bucknell, I took everything that my high school had cultivated in me and used it to find my voice on our campus.”

Soni aspires to become an attorney after college, and she plans to carry her passion for social activism into her future career. “Whatever type of law I practice, I want to help people who are marginalized and make some sort of systemic change in our country,” she said.

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