Actively involved on campus, Amy Garrido Portillo can’t get enough of other experiences. With lots of aspirations and interests, Garrido Portillo has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come her way.
As a freshman, she was asked to step in last minute for Moot Court Team, giving herself just two weeks to prepare. Moot Court is a mock court where students argue imaginary cases, typically meant for law students.
In moot court, you have to be able to argue for both sides of the case. Garrido Portillo worked with Dr. Allison Fetter-Harrott every day until the competition and got a partner during the actual trial.
“While I was about a semester behind everyone else on the team, I did my best with my arguments,” Garrido Portillo said. “Overall, the opportunity was very insightful and terms of what type of law I might want to go into the future.”
Not only did she take advantage of Moot Court but last summer she interned with the Immigrant Welcome Center. There she worked directly with immigrant communities to help direct them to resources for their journey.
“This was a very meaningful experience to me because I want to become an immigration attorney in the future,” Garrido Portillo, a political science major with a pre-law concentration, said. “Although it is important to help people with long-term solutions, getting to see and hear the relief of these communities when I directed them to food resources and financial aid was more than enough.”
Now she is interning at the Johnson County Court System. Her day consists of observations and other administrative tasks related to the courthouse needs.
“Regardless of what I end up doing in the future, my main goal is to help people, whether that be working for a nonprofit or at a more legislative level,” Garrido Portillo said. “It is small little changes that will eventually add up to a large change. Regardless of the size of the impact that you have on someone, you are still having an impact.”
An advocate for change, Garrido Portillo received the Laurels and Lancer scholarship, a scholarship that recognizes a student’s community contributions. She also received the Montel Ogdon International Law and Diplomacy Endowed Scholarship and the Spanish Service Awards.
“For the longest time, I thought that my work went unnoticed. Not because my professors were not paying attention to me, but I just never felt like I was truly doing anything special,” she said. “Whenever I do something, I don’t do it because I expect an award out of it or any recognition. So, to say that I was not expecting either of these recognitions is an understatement.”
She continues to strive to make changes in her life that benefits her community.
“I think sometimes we get so caught up in the size of the impact that we forget that any small part in helping someone is still helping them,” Garrido Portillo said. “As individuals, we must all strive to help one another, and it is then that there will be change or even progress.”
At Franklin, her biggest supporters and advocates are Kirk Bixler and Dr. Randall Smith, who she calls Doc. Those two have given her ample guidance while also giving her room to be herself, sometimes ending up making mistakes.
“Kirk has demonstrated nothing but kindness, sincerity, and generosity. I appreciate Kirk because he allows me to make mistakes and learn from them without judging me,” Garrido Portillo said. “When I was deciding what college to attend, I immediately reached out to the political science department and Doc was eager to set up a zoom with me. Although I was only a prospective student at the time, I knew he cared about my future and wanted me to do what was best for me.”
With support of faculty, Garrido Portillo keeps herself busy. She is a delegate for the Model UN Team, a Spanish tutor for the academic resource center, a Launch mentor, and an administrative assistant for the Office of Career Development. Her schedule has taught her one thing, if not to stay on top of things: one must do what is best for oneself.
“My advice to all students is to not do it for others, but you do it for yourself,” she said. “You are the person that this is going to matter to the most. You have to be your greatest motivator. However, it is important that healthy boundaries and learn that just because you can be anything does not mean you have to be everything. Do your best, and you will be seen.”