senior profile 2020

Graduate believes in the power of reconciliation

By Deserae E. del Campo

Graduate believes in the power of reconciliation

By Deserae E. del Campo

From her study abroad experience in Rome to her time as an Associate Justice for Student Government, Daria Pietropaolo’s academic career at the University of Miami is far from over—and that’s a good thing.

Pietropaolo is part of UM’s 3+3 Duel-Degree Program in Law, which means she’ll begin her first year at the UM School of Law as a senior, and she’s very excited to start this next step in her academic career.

“I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to work with professors in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Law to develop research on an independent major in restorative justice,” said Pietropaolo, who is earning a double major in political science with an independent major in restorative justice.

Restorative justice is a theory used in criminal justice systems that works to repair the harm caused by criminal behavior through various community programs meant to heal and transform both victims and perpetrators. Pietropaolo said her interest in this form of criminal justice took shape when she befriended a priest from her local church near Boston who is from Rwanda.

“As a survivor of genocide, he shared his very heart wrenching and beautiful life story with me and it got me interested in the power of reconciliation and how we can reach justice from a human perspective while working together to rebuild a community so that there is a resolution on all sides,” she said.

While taking law, philosophy and political science courses for her independent major, Pietropaolo also competed as a member on the women’s cross country and track team. “Being a student athletic definitely added another rewarding dimension to my undergrad career,” she said.

This summer Pietropaolo will continue her work for the Middlesex Juvenile Court Clinic in Massachusetts for a second year, an opportunity she sees as a complement to her UM undergraduate experience and extension of her time working with the professors and administrators who have been instrumental in helping her develop the academic career of her dreams. 

“I’m grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had as an undergrad student, from conducting research to developing a supportive community of friends and mentors and discovering more about my interests in law in hopes of becoming, in some small way, an effective agent for change in the world,” she said.