Danielle Harrow ’24 Sees Law as a Common Thread


The other day, Danielle Harrow was making a suit jacket. Stepping back and eyeing her handiwork, she knew something wasn’t right. It was the buttons. They didn’t fit the design. Nor did any of the other buttons she had on hand. The solution came to her like an epiphany: “I need to figure out how to create my own buttons out of resin!”

That amalgam of creativity and ingenuity has been Harrow’s life force for as long as she can remember. Growing up in the Bronx and lower Westchester, she attended Catholic schools and thrived academically. She also discovered her love of the performing and wider arts. In college, she could be found on the theater stage honing her craft and in the science lab growing her skills as an environmental microbiologist.

“I never saw a divide between creativity and science,” Harrow says. “It’s never been ‘either or’ for me. Both sides of my brain are just constantly firing and engaged.” That connectivity continued to inspire and drive her as Harrow earned a master’s degree with a focus on soil microbial communities. After further advancing her studies and experience at the intersection of immunology and microbiology, Harrow worked full time as an animal biologist at the National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health.

As she studied mutations that cause hereditary deafness, Harrow was also drawn to the stage and earned a spot in a Baltimore, MD theater company. Performing there regularly, she realized it was time to give acting her full attention and moved back to New York City, where casting calls and gig work became the norm. It was an exciting time, until the pandemic shut everything down.

“It was upsetting to lose momentum like that,” Harrow says. “But I see the common threads in my life’s pursuits and, as I immersed myself in the arts professionally and met others doing the same, this one common thread stood out: the law. I saw the intertwining of artists’ rights and contracts and intellectual property. Without legal protections, artists and their works are so vulnerable. It was also a time of public outcry and protest around the killing of George Floyd, and I made the connection between that form of expression and civil rights. I knew it was time to go to law school.”

Harrow says St. John’s Law was “an easy choice” for her. Even from a virtual introduction, she could tell it was the right fit. “It was a vibe that I got that I didn’t get from any other school,” she shares. “It seemed so familiar and welcoming, and the students told me how supported they feel by their peers and others.”

Now that she’s completed her first semester as a 1L, Harrow can affirm that she feels right at home at the Law School. As she takes her core courses, she looks forward to gaining hands-on experience in the field this summer. “I’m drawn to study intellectual property and plan to take the patent bar, with the hopes of working in the entertainment industry,” she says. “I’ll also keep tending to my creative side, thread by thread. Life is short. If you like a lot of things, why not do them all!”