Hometown: Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee
Vallerye was raised on a cattle farm in Tennessee, but has since lived in New York, Montana, Florida, Ecuador, Berkeley, and finally settled in Sacramento, California four years ago. With an undergraduate degree in biology, she worked in bioremediation and solid waste management planning before moving into an advocacy role at an environmental non-profit. While there, she developed a love for working with community activists and policymakers in pushing to create more favorable environmental legislation and taking an active role in the political process.
Vallerye recently obtained a master's degree in Community Development at UC Davis, which ignited her interest in coming to law school. At UCD, she focused her studies on immigrant rights and immigration reform-conducting research in farmworker health with the California Institute for Rural Studies, non-profit immigrant resources in Sacramento, and a master's thesis on political representation in majority-minority districts. She initially planned to go into advocacy work in this field upon graduation, but after an internship at an immigration law firm, she realized that she could offer more substantive and long-term support to immigrant communities through legal aid.
Vallerye's decision to come to McGeorge was influenced in large part by the caliber and dedication of the professors here. The professors are all incredibly enthusiastic about their subjects, and their enthusiasm for the material is infectious. She says, "The professors not only want to teach us the current law, but also encourage us to challenge laws that are antiquated or prejudicial to marginalized community members." With her own background in international research in Ecuador, Egypt, and Brazil, she was also drawn to the international emphasis at McGeorge, particularly the summer program in Guatemala combined with an internship option in Latin America.
McGeorge is demanding, but she finds time to rock climb and hike on the weekends and take road trips whenever possible with her husband to Napa Valley, the coast, and the Redwoods. As a lawyer, she plans to combine her Spanish and Portuguese language ability, with the legal and analytical competence necessary to be an even stronger advocate for immigrant communities.