Fellow Spotlight: Kaylee Maxwell

This week we talked with Kaylee Maxwell for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Kaylee’s favorite things about Athens are.


Graduation Date: May 2016

Major or Area of Study: Law

Hometown: Bainbridge, GA

Community Campus Involvement: Equal Justice Foundation, Law Students for Reproductive Justice

What interested you most about the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program?

I have always been interested in politics and the Fellowship Program interested me because it presented the opportunity to get actively involved in the political process in a way that I never had before.

What have you learned as a Fellow?

I’ve learned so much from this fellowship, but one of the things that sticks out is the insight I have been given into the amazing dialogue that goes on in committee meetings while legislators work through a bill.  I’m used to interpreting statutes and it has been very interesting to learn what goes on during their creation.

What are your future goals?

I plan to pursue a career as a trial attorney, specifically in criminal law.

What do you love most about Athens?

The food! I’m a total foodie and I absolutely love the variety of amazing restaurants in this town.  I also really love the Athens Farmers Market, I could (and have, on occasion) spend entire Saturday mornings going from stall to stall and picking produce from the amazing local selection.

What’s been the best experience so far?

I really enjoyed the active campaigning during the election season.  It was wonderful to get the chance to go and speak to so many of Athens’s residents and discuss what matters are important to them in government.

Favorite Athens hang-out?

That has to be Hi-Lo on Prince Avenue.  It’s walking distance from my house so I often go there to catch a quick bite or to hang out with friends and take advantage of their board game collection

Favorite local band/musician?

The Future Birds

What are your hobbies outside of school and the Fellowship program?

I love to cook! I’m particularly interested in baking and international food.  I don’t have very much time to spend in my kitchen any more, but when I get the chance I love to spend a few hours creating something delicious.  It’s also an amazing way to de-stress.

If you could spend a day with anyone, who would it be?

It would have to be J.K. Rowling, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.

Last book you read?

I am currently reading The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.  It’s fantastic and I would recommend it to anybody.

Who has been the biggest role model in your life? Why?

I’ve had a lot of amazing role models in my life, but one of the biggest influences is probably Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.  I read the novel many times throughout my childhood, and I learned a lot about what it means to be an independent woman from Austin’s depiction of Lizzy.  She still remains my favorite character that has ever been put down on paper.

Describe your dream job.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and it changes frequently.  Currently, my dream job would be to work in indigent defense, providing representation for people who are unable to afford it on their own.  No matter what, I want a career that is marked by helping to make the world a better place, and I believe that working as a defense attorney for those who cannot afford one achieves that goal.

What has been your most rewarding experience working with Spencer Frye?

The most rewarding part of the fellowship has been the opportunity it has given me to get to know my community in more depth than I did before.  I’ve lived in Athens since 2008, but I can safely say that during this fellowship I have met and talked to more Athens natives than I had before.  During campaigning, I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people around town and to hear their input on local and state problems.  Through the fellowship I’ve also had the opportunity to attend many community events, like the Black Lives Matter panel and the MLK day of service.  At these events I have been able to get to know and talked with even more members of the community.  The fellowship has introduced me to the parts of Athens that are not connected to the University and student life, and it has been exceptionally rewarding to get to know this part of the city.

Why are you interested in politics? 

The first time I remember paying attention to politics was when I was in fifth grade, in 2000, and the Bush/Gore election was in full swing.  I remember sitting in front of the television on Sundays to watch Meet the Press, and my parents letting me stay up late on election night, in an attempt to see a winner declared.  The resulting uncertainty of the results and the Supreme Court case cemented my fascination in politics.  As I grew older, my awareness of issues like poverty and equal rights grew and my interest in politics grew even stronger.

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