Erika Veurink

An Interview with Mae Dunker

Erika Veurink
An Interview with Mae Dunker

Meet Mae. She and I became friends in middle school, walking barefoot in our suburban neighborhoods and staying up late talking boys, theology, and everything in between. We recently reconnected over a summer in Iowa before she moved to DC for law school. Our connection is deep, that of shared life for so many years, and I'm so proud to call her a friend. Even a Monday night at Gilroy's is an adventure with Bex. 

On reading:

Being in my first year of law school, my time for pleasure reading is virtually non-
existent. Most of my energy in the reading department is spent on hundreds of pages a
week of common-law cases about everything from foxes to fires. It’s thrilling to be a 1L
(*insert eye roll here*). On the off chance my nose isn’t stuck in a case from the mid
1800s, I love to read anything that makes me think about provocative ideas. If it’s a
good argument and has insight into what makes society tick, I’m sold in a heartbeat. My
bedside table currently has The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and
Capitalism’s Toxic Assumptions by Eve Poole. The titles of these speak for
themselves, but really I’m intrigued by authors who write with passion about topics that
really affect society.

On how you spend your Saturday afternoons:

My ideal Saturday afternoon has to be doing something active and social with the
people I love. Warm summer days are filled with Frisbee golf, bike rides to obscure
pubs with full patios, or paddleboarding until we’re too hot and just jump in the water.
Now that summer’s done, you’ll still find me jogging around the National Mall or doing a
biking tour of the monuments, cold weather and all. Despite the concrete jungle, people
are super active here, so it’s pretty easy to find company. Football season is here, so I
carve out my weekends exclusively around the games I want to watch. (It’s my reward
for finishing my reading) I am 100% not past practicing my persuasion skills to convince
the bartenders around here to show the Iowa Hawkeyes. (NOTE: I have seen this in action when Shark Week was playing and can account to her persuasiveness.)

On your go to dinner party plan:

My go to dinner party plan always revolves around making people feel comfortable. I’m
super into potlucks, (which is a debatable dinner-party format and probably the most
Midwest thing I have ever said) usually revolving around a Broncos game that no one
else cares about. But it’s just fun to be together! I definitely don’t plan anything formal- I
want everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed. Nothing gives me greater joy than
seeing my different groups of friends come together over pub foods, , beer, and football.
I always have drinks on hand, some type of chips and crock pot dip, and I always have
a game on for us to talk smack about.

On your personal uniform:

In the summer, you’ll be hard pressed not to find me in a romper-it’s pretty much
my go to, and I have an absurd number of rompers to fit every occasion. It’s mid-
November and I just packed them away last week-I was holding on as long as I could.
Now that winter decided to arrive, you’ll always find me in my hooded denim jacket-it fits
every occasion. Otherwise I’m normally sporting high waisted jeans complete with my
Adidas kicks. Red lips are always a staple on the nights out (the color of confidence of
course.) But of course, I’m not more than confident than when I’m sporting Hawkeye or
Broncos gear-which is my exclusive attire on the weekends. I’m proud to be from the
Midwest and wearing a piece of home is the best uniform a girl can ask for.

On what speaks to you:

Nothing speaks to me more than people with strong conviction. It doesn’t necessarily
even matter what those convictions are. I feel like I’m constantly confronted from all
sides with assumptions about what the “other side” might think. “You’re from the
Midwest, you must think…,” “You go to school on the east coast, you must be
brainwashed with….” “You’re a Democrat so you must believe in…” or my personal
favorite, “You’re a Christian so you must do…” That being said, nothing speaks to me
more than the people I know who challenge misconceptions and are willing to stand for
what they believe in, while still taking time to listen and learn from other ideas. I’m
inspired by people who believe in ideas I may not even agree with, simply because of
the convictions and respect that people carry. Thinking outside the box is something I
really value, so I’m inspired by people who can take their convictions with them and
interact with other people’s ideas in a meaningful way.