UConn School of Law student wins competition to start ‘The Road That Connects’ project

On a drive with her husband from Oklahoma City, Okla., to Hartford, Conn., during the summer before she began her first year at the University of Connecticut School of Law, Ree Morrow had a vision. She wanted to document American culture in all its glory and share that with schools across the U.S.

A year and a half later, and now a second-year law student, she was cleaning out her emails when she saw an announcement to enter the Hinkle Entrepreneurship Competition for a chance to win $7,000 to start a business. 

She entered. And she won.

Her proposal, “The Road That Connects,” will be brought to life in film by her and her husband, Colin, who has a background in film and editing. They plan to go on the road after Ree graduates law school in 2022 and passes the bar exam. She said she expects the entire process to take up to five years. 

In preparation for the journey, they are saving and looking into grant opportunities for funds. They also have been mapping routes and studying the migrations and movements of people across the United States: The Trail of Tears, The Oregon Trail, The Mormon Trail, Route 66, The Pacific Coast Highway, Sacagawea leading Lewis and Clark, the Pony Express, The Great Migration, Land Runs and others. 

“We could travel on highways the whole way across the U.S., but that misses the point of seeing America and recording the stories of all Americans,” Morrow said.

As they complete each regional package of video, lessons and activities in geography, civics and history, the Morrows plan to market it to educational institutions. 

The grant comes with connections to the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at UConn Law, and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology to help carry out a business plan. The award is funded by Muriel and David Hinkle ’76, who founded their technical services business, Sonalysts, in 1973, while David was an evening student at the law school.

“Ree’s application for ‘The Road That Connects’ immediately caught the attention of the Hinkle Entrepreneurship Competition Committee,” said Kathleen Lombardi, UConn professor and co-director of the clinic and a member of the committee. “After speaking with her, it was clear she has both the background and the passion for education, diversity, equity and inclusion to really make her project a success.”

Morrow said she is most looking forward to sharing this experience with others.

“America is home to more than 330 million Americans. There are so many stories to be told and so many perspectives to share,” she said. “This is why we chose the title ‘The Road That Connects.’ The roads and other infrastructure across the country are tools to help us connect. We are more alike than we are different, we just need the reminder that we have a tool to foster these connections.” 

Morrow is president of the Womxn’s Law Students’ Association and co-president of the American Constitution Society. Throughout the summer and fall of 2020, her and her husband jointly functioned as a production team for streaming events and publishing videos for UConn School of Law student organizations, including the Womxn Law Students Association; American Constitution Society; Latino/a Law Students Association; Mental Health Committee; Arts, Entertainment, and Sports Law Society and the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Society.

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