James Dylan White, “Dylan”, is a 1L at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Like many UF Law students, White’s background is as impressive as it is unique. From his heritage to his skill set, White shares a piece of what makes him who he is.
White was born in Sarasota, Florida, where his family has spent four generations and was integral to the developing of the area.
While many residents spend much of their free time on the beach, White spent his time on the baseball field. He played as an outfielder and pitcher for Sarasota High School’s baseball team.
White excelled in these positions. Throughout his time at Sarasota High, he earned three All-American Awards – a national award based on excellent performance in sports.
By the time he was just a sophomore in high school, White had been offered an athletic scholarship at the University of Miami. He immediately accepted it; his future as an athlete looked bright.
Things turned around for White when he tore his rotator cuff during his first season as a baseball player at Miami.
This devastating injury caused a year of rehabilitation efforts and ultimately kept him off the field for the duration of his collegiate career.
While he was forced to give up baseball because of this injury, White did not let this deter him from being a part of the team and continuing to be a stand-out student at Miami.
White tried his hand in broadcasting and served his team by helping students transition from high school to college baseball. He double-majored in legal studies and finance while minoring in political science.
Baseball was not the only skill White would prove to have. He was intrigued by cooking from an early age.
From the time he was a young child, he could remember Easter brunches at a well-known restaurant called “Michael’s on East” where he could not tear his eyes away from the beautiful displays of food that surrounded him.
This went beyond a love for eating. White was entranced by the appearance of food and how it can completely transform an event and pull people together.
This interest quickly turned into a love for cooking. White reached out to the co-owner of Michael’s on East, Phil Mancini, and was able to secure a job as a food runner.
On his second day of work, he met the head chef, Jamil Pineda. White asked if he would teach him how to cook. Pineda agreed that as long as White came in early before his shifts, Pineda would work through the menu with him and teach him different techniques.
White is now a professionally trained chef. He specializes in playing with different spices, comfort food and, most importantly, the overall presentation and experience of the meal. He’ll even pair the food with the wine best suited to enhance its flavors.
Baseball and cooking are seemingly far off from the world of law, but White tied in his interests with his current status as a UF Law student quite well: It is all about the challenge.
White’s aunt and uncle are both lawyers. His uncle is a double-gator and someone White has always looked up to and sought guidance from. When they would talk about his uncle’s experience at law school, he would always reflect how it was one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding, experiences in his life.
This sentiment was precisely how White saw baseball and cooking. It will not come easy, and it will take a lot of hard work, but the payoff in the end makes every struggle worthwhile.
White attributes his heritage for his perseverance and determination to constantly better himself.
White is one-third Native American. The women in his family are descendants of the medicine women of the “Lakota Sioux” tribe in the Cheyenne River region.
“Its a part of my upbringing… It is the influence for how I view my life,” White said.
He and the members of his immediate family all have the word “Tiwahe” tattooed on them to symbolize this part of who they are. The word “Tiwahe” is part of the Lakota language and translates to “immediate family” in English.
“I carry it with me every day just to remind me of who my people are and the struggles we’ve gone through and our effort to achieve a better life for ourselves and those still on the reservation,” White said.