fbpx STCL Houston Alumna Positively Impacts Youth, Diverse Communities as Attorney, Volunteer - STCL Houston

STCL Houston Alumna Positively Impacts Youth, Diverse Communities as Attorney, Volunteer

Home Law School News STCL Houston Alumna Positively Impacts Youth, Diverse Communities as Attorney, Volunteer

STCL Houston alumna Brittny Mandarino Curry ’20“I am at my best when my hands and mind are busy and I am connected to something outside myself, working with others to solve problems,” said STCL Houston alumna Brittny Mandarino Curry ’20.

Her intention to make an impact on education reform figured prominently in her decision to become a lawyer. She works for the Harris County Public Defender’s Office in the juvenile division, representing the interests of justice-involved youth in matters of discipline, special education and educational access.

“Students frequently have difficulty navigating their re-entry to school after involvement with the juvenile justice system,” Curry said. “The stigma attached to justice involvement is pervasive in education, and it’s my job to help identify the students’ needs — on campus and off — and collaborate with the school district’s staff to see that the student receives the appropriate support during this transition to return to school.”

She gets tremendous satisfaction out of working with a team of former educators and passionate youth advocates at the Public Defender’s Office.

“My teen clients want and deserve to be heard,” she said. “As their attorney, I may be one of the very few adults in their lives to ask what they want and to advocate for the outcomes they desire. By making a case for their stated interest, I can help them develop a sense of agency and become empowered to make positive, productive decisions in the future.”

Curry’s desire to make an impact and inspire others drives her to be an active and passionate volunteer.  While at STCL Houston, she was involved with several student organizations, including the Women’s Law Society, The Black Law Students Association and AMICUS — the school’s affinity group for LGBTQ+ students. Curry also was an active leader with the South Texas Law Review and the Houston Young Lawyers Association.

Curry was recently elected the 2022-23 president-elect of the Houston Young Lawyers Association (HYLA). She has served as a board member and committee co-chair for HYLA’s Know Your Rights Committee, an initiative that focuses on promoting healthy interactions between youth and law enforcement in our communities.

“These programs, and those like it, are critical for increasing positive outcomes for youth in the Houston area,” Curry said. “We are all responsible for supporting this next generation, and what better way for our lawyers to be involved than in educating young people about their constitutional rights. It’s a rewarding experience and the kids are engaged.”

Curry also is a member of the Houston Bar Association’s Gender Fairness Committee, which is committed to promoting awareness of issues related to gender parity in the legal profession.

 “As a lawyer and female person of color, who also identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, my presence and representation is noticed, and I have the incredible opportunity to pull others in,” she said.

Curry uses the platform provided by the Gender Fairness Committee and the Houston Coalition for Diverse Bar Associations to encourage meaningful dialogues and conversations about diversity, equity and fairness in the workplace, and its impact is far reaching.

The Gender Fairness Committee published its most recent Gender Fairness Commitment Statement in 2021, welcoming more than 60 Houston law firms and government agencies who pledged support to advancing gender equity in their respective organizations.

“There’s room for so many more at the table,” Curry said. “I urge stakeholders to sign on and commit!”

As a member of the coalition, Curry supports its mission to advance diversity in the legal profession and to address common concerns and strategic goals of organizations like the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, the South Asian Bar Association and the Houston Lawyers Association —Houston’s African American bar association.

Interested in service opportunities that were not legal in nature, Curry discovered Covenant House Texas (CHT) and the Hollyfield Foundation. Curry and her wife, Nahdra, are active in Covenant House Texas’ Young Professionals group. They slept on a sidewalk recently as part of the organization’s annual “Sleep Out” fundraiser to bring attention to the experience of homeless individuals.

Curry hopes to continue volunteering to support CHT’s mission to shelter and support homeless, abused and abandoned youth in Houston and across Texas. “LGBTQ+ youth have an increased risk for homelessness and are especially vulnerable to trafficking and other harmful victimization, and we are committed to sharing our time and talents to this cause,” she said.

The Hollyfield Foundation also benefits from Curry’s involvement. This organization is a Houston-based endowment that funds nonprofits on the front lines who serve the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS populations.

“We donate to historically underfunded initiatives, providing the financial means to help these organizations advance in their work,” Curry said. “It makes a real difference, and we see those dollars invested back into our community. Our impact is far-reaching, and I am blessed to be able to do this work.”

Curry is dedicated to doing things that bring her joy. This includes competitive bowling, cycling and enjoying Houston’s exciting food scene.

“If you’re on social media, please follow my friend and fellow STCL Houston alum John Nechman ’95 as he highlights Houston’s best undercover food finds,” Curry said.

She is also dedicated to personal growth as she continues to give of herself to make the world a more equitable place. “I am constantly evolving as an individual and as a leader, and I am excited for what’s in store!” she said. “What’s for certain is that I will continue to show up, be present and listen, and do what’s in my power to move the needle toward a more just and inclusive world.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top
#printfriendly #pf-content svg {min-width: 20px!important;margin-right: 10px;} #pf-content .kb-svg-icon-wrap.kt-svg-icon-list-single svg {min-width: 20px!important;margin-right: 10px;}