At the Law Office of Mike Campbell, we pride ourselves on giving back to our local and nationwide community however we can. As part of that dedication, we decided to start a scholarship in 2018. The Fall 2019 submission period just came to a close and we were humbled by the amount of applications we received as well as the overall quality of every essay.
Thank you to everyone who applied! We’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen a winner.
Congratulations to Cyrus Garcia of Rio Rancho, New Mexico!
Cyrus will be attending Arizona State University and is planning to pursue a career as a pilot.
The essay topic was as follows:
How can college students help each other avoid becoming victims of violent crime?
Here is his winning essay:
“In the modern world, those who seek to harm others continue to find new ways to do so, and technologies made to reduce risks can be hijacked and used against those they should protect. Take, for example, the murder of Samantha Josephson, a 21 year old political science major student at USC, who was killed by a man posing as her Uber driver. Josephson had ordered the Uber to drive her back to her dorm room on campus, however when she entered the car she believed to be her Uber, she was kidnapped and her body was found hours later. If not tragic enough, the severity of this problem is underscored by the sad fact that it was enabled by an all too common problem in today’s society.
Rideshare services, although having a broad and varied customer base, are mainly used by 18-35 year olds in large urban areas, meaning that the vast majority of users are college students with limited means of transportation. Despite precautions against misidentification of both driver and passenger, quite often uber passengers climb into the cars of people who either aren’t their driver or worse, are posing as their driver. Uber, for example, lists the model and license plate of the driver’s car, as well as listing a picture of the correct driver. However the failure of these safety measures to prevent continued, sometimes deadly mistakes, reveal a critical flaw in the design of these safety features. Many people rely on these services for transportation while they are impaired, and likely do not or can not access these safety features, which are not easily accessible when under the influence.
This flaw can be fixed however, and it need not take any more lives before a change is made. The first way that college students can help each other to stay safe while using rideshare services is to have friends or acquaintances confirm that you have the correct car if the student is unable to do so themselves. This creates a tri-fold safety net, firstly, confirming that students are not getting into strangers cars while inebriated without anyone knowing where they are going. Secondly, by showing drivers (and potential fakes) that other people are aware of who they are and where the passenger is going, it discourages any kind of dangerous or inappropriate behavior. Finally, by allowing students to take an active role in the safety of their friends, especially when those friends are unable to ensure their own safety, it creates an environment where potential fakes are more likely to discovered and thus less likely to take the risk of being found out.
Watching out for your friend’s safety does not have to stop at the car door however, as there are many ways we can use the technologies already available to us to help keep track of our friends. Many smartphone apps exist that allow students to keep track of their friends during set periods of times. Apps such as Watch Over Me and Companion allow you to get notifications when your friends have a reached a location marked as safe, as a kind of ‘check-in’ to make sure that they have reached their destination. Several of these apps also allow you to set tracking settings from your friends phones to allow you to check on their locations during set times or set time increments so that students can take an active role in making sure that when their friends are alone they are still being watched over.
In conclusion, college students can help each other avoid becoming victims of violent crimes by taking advantage of the technologies they already use and being responsible for each other’s safety when they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Using phone applications along with good judgement are the best way to ensure not only your own safety, but the safety of others.
For more information on the next scholarship period which will be for Fall 2020, please see our law firm’s scholarship page. Congratulations again, Cyrus! Good luck in all your future endeavors.