UVA Scholar Cheyenne Butler.

UVA Scholar Gains Legal Experience as Child Advocate

Winter 2024 | Houston

University of Virginia Scholar Cheyenne Butler is passionate about child welfare and plans on advocating for children through a career in law. Last summer, Cheyenne immersed herself in the field by serving as a legal assistant for the Albemarle County Attorney’s office.

“I believe our society treats children like property and not people,” says Cheyenne. “When I am an attorney, I will fight for their protection against abuse and maltreatment.”

In line with her professional interests, her internship focused on child custody law. The experience gave Cheyenne direct insight into how the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court functions.

“Learning about the research the county conducts prior to cases’ hearing dates was especially illuminating,” Cheyenne says.

During her time as a legal assistant, Cheyenne attended court proceedings and adjudications, debriefed and asked questions with attorneys, and collaborated with staff at the Department of Social Services. She was also responsible for compiling and organizing case files and conducting her own research on clients’ social media to gather case-relevant information.

Cheyenne is driven by her deep passion for social justice and improving the lives of others, which extends to her many involvements at UVA. To better understand the issues affecting the performance and wellbeing of her peers, she recently conducted research about the experiences of Black women on campus.

“The research,” she says, “has provided me the space to listen to and interact with Black women across the diaspora, giving me the opportunity to hone my skills as leader.”

Cheyenne is currently applying to law school in the hopes that by this time next year she will have completed her first semester as a law student.