Although only a few months removed from my undergraduate experience, I feel as though I am already a world away. Beginning law school has been such a whirlwind, but I am loving every minute of it and I cannot wait to see what the future brings. No matter what, though, I will never forget the inspiration that convinced me to attend law school more than a decade ago.
As a child that loved to play “Oval Office” instead of “house,” I was always bound and determined to make it to Washington, DC. What I did not know, however, was the path that I would take to get there once the time came. When those four planes fell out of the sky on September 11, 2001, the answer came to me clear as day. I decided then and there that I wanted to dedicate my career to the federal government, working to counter terrorism and protect my country in a way that incorporated my passions—traveling the world and learning the law.
In the early years of my undergraduate studies, I focused on political science, Spanish, and international studies. My senior year, however, I made a complete switch to take on a new challenge. I joined the Department of Computer Science and quickly became involved in counterterrorism research for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After only six months of research, I gave a presentation to top FBI agents, who took my findings back to headquarters in Washington, DC and applied it to their own work in the counterterrorism field. It was amazing that my research had practical applications in the real world–an actual government agency was interested in what I had to say, and was utilizing my findings to promote the safety of our nation. It was an incredible feeling, and further solidified my desire to tailor my career to serve my country.
That summer, I also conducted extensive legal and cybercrime research for the Tulsa Police Department (TPD). I helped detectives change TPD’s legal policies and procedures for the handling of digital evidence to conform with new national standards, and I composed a presentation on the dangers of cyberbullying and social networking that officers could take to local schools to educate parents and children on the dangers of cyber activity. Finally, I worked as an evidence analyst, working cases involving homicide, rape, child pornography, and cyber crimes among other offenses. I was able to work side-by-side with law enforcement officials investigating crimes and identifying suspects, and was able to leave my job each day knowing that I helped to give victims and their families a sense of peace and justice. Again, an incredible internship fortified my desire to dedicate my career to government work.
Just when I thought that I couldn’t get more fortunate in the opportunities afforded to me by my work, I was hired as an intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense. I spent twelve weeks doing tangible work toward protecting my nation from the threats that it faces each day. I was able to combine my backgrounds in political science, international studies, computer science, and law to complete my work, and I woke up each day so excited about my purpose that I was practically running into my workplace. I felt like I was truly making a difference, and I can’t wait to pursue similar opportunities in the future.
As if I haven’t been blessed enough, I was recently honored with the 2012 Mortar Board Ramier-Coleman Fellowship, which afforded me the opportunity to get to know nine other incredible scholars doing amazing work all over the world. Discussions with them have opened my eyes to new and worthwhile causes that I would be able to represent with my law degree, and I move forward with the inspiration of their work in my mind. They are such incredible individuals, and I am so fortunate to be considered in their company.
At this point in time, I know that I am nowhere near the finish line. However, I feel that I have reached a milestone. I am ready to take on the challenge of law school, which will enable me to make a difference on a larger scale by having a better understanding of the laws that govern the protection of our nation. I have lived through one of the worst terrorist attacks of all time, and as a result I want to dedicate my career to protecting my nation from the tragedy that it experienced nearly eleven years ago. I know that The University of Tulsa College of Law will hep me achieve that goal, and I cannot wait to see what the next three years bring.