Double axel: Synchronized skater studies in school's Dual J.D. program

A student in the Dual J.D. program at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and University of Windsor law school, Caroline Cusinato spent 4 years on the University of Michigan Synchronized Figure Skating team.

– Photo courtesy of Caroline Cusinato

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A figure skater since the age of 3, Caroline Cusinato joined the Canadian Junior National Synchronized Skating Team at 15, and spent four years on the University of Michigan Synchronized Figure Skating team, U.S. National Champions in 2017 and 2018.

“I love the feeling of gliding on the ice and the thrill that comes every time you jump into the air,” she says. “With synchronized skating, I love the team aspect— especially sharing the same goals as your teammates.

“Synchronized skating has taught me the value and power of team work. It’s taught me how to welcome corrections, how to help others, and how to compromise. Competing has also taught me work under pressure and how to improve my time management skills.”

Cusinato carried those skills with her in earning her undergrad degree from U-M, and then into law school.

“It was always my dream to go to a university that could provide a spirited community alongside athletics and academics,” she says. “In Canada, the first school most people think of when they hear ‘all-American college experience’ is U of M. Once I found out I could skate for Michigan, I was completely sold.”

Cusinato is now in her 1L year of the Dual J.D. program offered by the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and University of Windsor law school.

“Law seemed to encompass all of my academic passions, particularly public speaking and writing,” she says. “With an academic background in comparative literature and creative writing, I always look for ways to further my writing skills and apply them to different areas of focus.

“I’ve always been interested in International/Comparative Law and contributing to cross-border work, so the dual J.D. program is very well-suited for my interests,” she adds. “It’s been great for enhancing my critical thinking skills.”

Cusinato, who hopes to intern at a courthouse this summer, is enjoying her studies this side of the border.

“The school itself is beautiful—everything from the class rooms to the library, and the location in downtown Detroit is another bonus,” she says.

“My favorite part of being a student at Detroit Mercy Law is my first year Comparative Legal Research and Writing class. I’ve already learned so much more than I could’ve ever expected to in a single semester. My other favorite class, on both sides of the border, is Contract Law.”

At this point, she is keeping her future plans open.

“I hope to keep learning about the law, while keeping an open mind to all potential career options,” she says.

The Toronto native currently makes her home in Windsor, but spends a substantial amount of time in Detroit for classes, where she particularly enjoys the annual tree lighting ceremony at Campus Martius.

She also is a big sports fan.

“I’ve always loved Detroit’s sports culture, from the energy at restaurants during Michigan football games, to summer afternoons at Comerica Park,” she says.” I enjoy attending Red Wings games—especially against the Leafs.”

She plays on Windsor Law’s intramural soccer and volleyball teams, and also volunteers with Transition to Betterness, a Windsor-based, charitable organization that provides comfort to patients and families impacted by life altering illnesses—primarily through programs at local hospitals.

In high school, Cusinato was actively involved with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and continued that work at U of M through Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority’s national “Think Pink Foundation”—a philanthropy devoted to breast cancer education and awareness.

“We partnered with the Detroit Lions NFL organization to distribute ribbons at games during Breast Cancer Awareness month, as well as throughout our own campus,” she says. “We also organized various thematic, on-campus fund-raisers.”

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