The queen of UF Law, engaging scholarship, dance, art and revolution

If   life   were   a   chessboard,   Caroline Picart  would  be  the  queen.  Her  ability to move swiftly and decisively has earned her numerous academic degrees and  vast  experience  in  disparate  fields of human endeavor.

“Some  people  may  call  my  life  complicated,” said Picart, a 3L pursuing a joint juris doctor-M.A. in women’s studies, “but I know that everything I’ve done is to be true to my self — to follow what I am curious about and passionate enough to work on.”

Born   in   Nueva   Vizcaya,   Philippines, Picart grew up under martial law. In 1986, while  working  on  her  bachelor’s  in  biology, she  acted  as  a  student  leader  in  the  People Power  Revolution  that  overthrew  the  country’s dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

Like the student uprising in China, Picart and her unarmed compatriots confronted government soldiers in tanks.

“I was one of hundreds of student leaders who  formed  human  barricades  and  encouraged soldiers to step down from their tanks,” she said.

Picart  left  the  Philippines  in  1989  after earning  her  bachelor’s  and  her  master’s  in philosophy from Ateneo de Manila University and  working  simultaneously  in  three  departments  teaching  zoology,  introduction  to  philosophy and introduction to astrophysics.

She  attended  Cambridge  University  as  the Sir  Run  Run  Shaw  Scholar,  a  competitive international scholarship open to Asians, to study neuroembryology  under  Roger  Keynes.  When she  developed  allergies  to  the  chemicals  she worked with, Picart switched to the history and philosophy of science.

Picart graduated from Cambridge in 1991 at the top of her class but felt the urge to reflect on the  professional  options  open  to  her.  She  spent a  year  in  Seoul,  South  Korea,  teaching  English as  a  professor  at  the Yonsei  University  Foreign Language Institute, writing as an invited columnist  for  English-language  newspapers,  hosting one-woman  exhibitions  as  a  visual  artist,  and instructing ballroom dancing in her spare time.

“While  I  was  offered  opportunities  to  stay in South Korea and I enjoyed being there,” she said, “I felt that I still had room to grow and new worlds to explore.”

Picart studied continental philosophy with doctoral  minors  in  aesthetics,  criticism  and comparative  literature  at  Pennsylvania  State University.

Since  receiving  her  Ph.D.  in  1996,  Picart has produced sketches, paintings, books, scholarly  and  popular  articles  and  syllabi  across  the world. She has also performed and competed in ballroom dance, and in 2006, won the U.S. Open Pro Am Competition in Cabaret, a mix of ballroom,  ballet  and  gymnastics.  She  now  teaches ballroom dance, and serves as an invited dance judge nationally.

She began drawing with her father as a child.

In 1986, Picart’s pen and ink sketches were featured in her first art show; her one-woman show in Seoul, South Korea. She continues to produce new works for exhibitions and for client orders.

Picart’s  writing  subjects  are  also  rooted  in her childhood. She has published several books on  the  tales  of  Dracula  and  Frankenstein,  and how the stories have changed over time.

“My  nanny  used  to  tell  me  stories  about vampires  and  monsters,  and  they  always  fascinated me,” she said.

Her most recent book, to be released in July with  Palgrave-Macmillan,  is Speaking of Monsters: A Teratological Anthology.  She  has  also written books about the Holocaust and ballroom dancing  and  has  published  law  review  articles during her time at UF Law.

Before UF Law, Picart was a tenured associate  professor  at  Florida  State  University.  She taught  courses  on  critical  theory  on  philosophy and literature and on issues of film and literature through different time periods. It was during her teaching that she became interested in the practice of law.

En  route  to  law  school,  Picart  hosted  a  nationally   and   internationally   syndicated   radio show. Her guests included Nobel Prize winners Keith Beauchamp and Sir Harry Kroto, and professors in several fields.

Picart was accepted to law schools in several states, some with full scholarships.

“UF Law was the best choice, overall, especially  with  my  and  my  husband’s  personal  and professional ties to Florida,” she said. Picart’s  husband,  Gerardo  Rivera,  holds  a law  degree  and  he  consults  on  Equal  Employment Opportunity law.

While attending UF Law, Picart has pursued interests in international law and intellectual property and served as the editor-in-chief of the Florida Journal of International Law and  as  articles editor of the Journal of Technology Law & Policy.

Picart  expects  to  graduate  in  May  2013 when she hopes for a possible fellowship, clerkship  or  to  practice  in  intellectual  property  on international  law.  But,  she  says,  she  might  also return to academia.

“While I know I move rapidly from one area to the next,” she said, “I know there will come a time where I have to settle down. Until then, I will continue to explore what lies ahead, with my husband by my side.”