Guiding changes to public health services: Meet Arc Fellow Hannah Bruce

Jan 09, 2024 | Belonging & Access

by Lindsay Wilcox

Hannah Bruce, a young black woman with curly brown hair with blond highlights, wears a white collared blouseHannah Bruce, a Nova Scotia native, originally moved to Utah to play Division 1 soccer at Utah Valley University in 2016 — a move that launched several other opportunities around the globe.

“After graduating in 2019, I played professional soccer in Puerto Rico and then moved to England, where I completed a master’s degree in clinical and therapeutic neuroscience at the University of Oxford in 2021,” Bruce recalls. “Prior to commencing law school at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, I was a senior research specialist at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease and CTE Centers, where I worked with clinical research participants as a trained psychometrician.”

Bruce notes that her experiences working in healthcare helped her sharpen her focus within law school.

“I became fascinated by the application of research in a clinical setting, but more importantly, how a lawyer can guide changes in public health services,” she says. “Furthermore, these positions highlighted my interest in working in an environment where I can engage in disputes related to mental health equity, access to healthcare services, and public policy.”

As she earned her bachelor’s degree at Utah Valley University, Bruce says she applied at the S.J. Quinney College of Law because she had such a great experience in Utah as an undergraduate.

“Returning to Utah to study law was an environment that felt like home,” she says. “I was also drawn to S.J. Quinney because of the small class sizes, the Salt Lake City legal market, and the strong health law program.”

Now in her first year of law school, Bruce recently received an Arc fellowship from Utah Law’s Arc to Justice program to help her achieve her law school goals. The Arc to Justice program works to integrate diverse students into the legal community and awards two incoming JD students a full-tuition scholarship, supported by local law firms, recognizing those who have overcome significant obstacles in life. Arc fellows also receive mentoring and summer employment opportunities after their 1L year.

“I am most excited about the chance to gain increased exposure to the legal profession, all while benefiting from the guidance and support of experienced mentors,” Bruce says of receiving the fellowship. 

Individual support is the best part about attending the S.J. Quinney College of Law, Bruce says. She also appreciates the close relationships she has built with classmates.

“I have come to learn that each student has a unique path, and I have learned not to put pressure on myself to do the same things as my peers. Instead, I dedicate my time to identifying what methods work best for me and concentrate on refining my skills,” Bruce says.

While the most challenging part of law school is learning to effectively manage time, Bruce says she is trying to achieve more balance.

“I integrate supplementary materials and attend office hours to delve deeper into challenging topics rather than simply engaging in repetitive practice problems for each topic,” she explains.

Though graduation is a couple years away, Bruce is excited to discuss her career goals and passions.

“I aspire to work in healthcare law or IP litigation for a firm, but I am also interested in exploring other areas of law and look forward to gaining additional experience through my classes and internship opportunities. I am excited about the possibility of working in a firm and being a part of its pro bono initiatives,” she says. “I am passionate about supporting underrepresented groups. Acting against racial inequality, supporting youth, increasing access to healthcare services, and affordable housing are of particular importance to me.”

Learn more about the Arc to Justice program.