Madeline Van Ert, 1L: Miss Minnesota 2016
Before she was a 1L, Madeline Van Ert was a Miss Minnesota. She won the coveted title in 2016 and then went on to be named Miss Congeniality in the Miss America competition. Her diverse C.V. also includes auditioning for “American Idol.” A native of Rochester, Minnesota, Van Ert attended undergraduate school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Latin.
Welcome to the Minnesota Law class of 2022! You are a former Miss Minnesota and won the Congeniality award for Miss America in 2016. Could you describe a little bit about that experience and how, if it all, it connects to your decision to study law?
I’m so honored to be a part of the Law Class of 2022. It has been my intention to study law for a long time and I’m thrilled to finally be at the threshold. I have been lucky to have some unusual life experiences, and Miss America is one of the highlights. I have to say that my success in the Miss America program drew largely from my interest in people and public service, the same interests that bring me here.
You also auditioned for American Idol. Could you describe that experience? How do you think it would compare to going before judge and/or jury in legal courtroom?
Like Miss America, American Idol was a great adventure! I learned to trust my preparation and ability. Much like a courtroom, being in front of the judges at American Idol left no room for doubt and no second chances, so it taught me to take advantage of every moment.
Why did you select Minnesota Law?
Minnesota is my home, and I consider it an exceptional one! Outside of the obvious draws in quality of life, and the cultural opportunities the Twin Cities offer, the University of Minnesota has a strong national reputation, offers a great value, and is dedicated to community leadership and service. I feel honored to be able to continue my education here.
Minnesota Law is a place known for putting an emphasis on leadership. What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership can define itself simply as taking charge of a situation. Good leadership, however, requires that you influence and inspire those around you by your words and actions. Strength in leadership comes from strength in community, so I believe trust and respect are essential components to success.
What do you hope to do with your legal education?
I plan to continue working for the underrepresented, and hope to focus on public interest law. In my experience, I have also learned to be ready for anything, so I’m open and looking forward to seeing where these next three years will lead.
What three words describe you best?
Musical, inquisitive, and open-minded.
Do you have any hobbies or interests that you would like to share?
Songwriting, traveling, science fiction, puzzles, poetry, dressing up, and people watching.
What else would you like to share with the Minnesota Law community about yourself and/or your aspirations?
I’m especially looking forward to getting to know all these new faces. I think some of life’s best opportunities come from getting to know other people, and sharing the stories, aspirations (and quirks!) that make us who we are.