I have always been fascinated by history, and I love utilizing my critical thinking and problem solving skills, but as a professional in the medical field, I wasn't fulfilled. I wanted to be an advocate for change in my community.
I came to the conclusion that the legal field is where I belong, but when I decided to pursue a second degree I didn't want to simply be a name and number. I wanted professors who would help me define and achieve my learning outcomes, where students could create a community within their major and minor. Champlain College met all my criteria.
I was motivated early on to explore my interests outside the classroom. Last year, I was the recipient of the EHS department's International Service Voucher. I used the funds to help finance my summer abroad in Cuba where I volunteered at a facility that provided services to displaced woman, children and members of the LBGTQ community. I assisted in the preparation of meals and provided child care, all while facilitating classes which were available to residents of the facility and the community at large.
Champlain is devoted to individualizing a student's academic experience. Some of the most rewarding aspects of my time here have been the personal and intellectual bonds I've formed with my colleagues and professors. It's thanks to them that I will be able to confidently enter law school with a clear understanding of what area of law I would like to pursue.
Alicia, Law MajorKillington, VTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
The Upside-Down Curriculum helped Caitlin find her passion.I came in Undeclared, but I knew I wanted to do something like Psychology, Law or Social Work. My first semester I took a psychology class and a law class, and I ended up really liking the law class. I switched into the major halfway through the first semester. It was great because I actually really liked [the law classes], and it was good material to know. Now I know that this is what I want to do.
On professors...All the professors I've had have been really encouraging. My favorite professors are so easy-going, and if you have problems you can go talk to them and they'll help you.
Caitlin's extracurricular activities opened her eyes...I've been involved with PAUSE (People Advocating for Unity and Social Equity) which is a group on campus that raises awareness about what's going on around us and in the town of Burlington. It's really involved with the Ibutwa Initiative, which works with women in Africa who make jewelry to raise money for their families, their education, and for help in cases of domestic and marital abuse. Joining PAUSE definitely helped me to see the problems in the world and decide to take where to take my degree.
She's getting ready for the professional world...Most people who go to law school become lawyers, but I don't really want to be a lawyer. I want to be a legal advisor to help nonprofits or the government form policies that help the most people. Without the Upside-Down Curriculum, I wouldn't be as prepared as I am now, taking classes I'm most likely going to take in law school. It really helps to understand how I'm going to have a career in law and what I'm going to be doing. The Career Collaborative also helped with writing a good résumé and cover letter and, hopefully, getting internships around Burlington.
There's nothing like Burlington's downtown and the waterfront.I love the atmosphere in Burlington. I love going on Church Street and seeing all the people and all the dogs. I've been spending a lot of time by the waterfront this year, watching the sunset and hanging out with my friends.
Caitlin, Law majorConcord. NHDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I wanted to go as far away as possible for college because I'm from Burlington, and I didn't want to stay home. So, it was crazy that I found this little community at Champlain. My mother actually works here, and I grew up on this campus. I remember running through the Stiller School of Business hallway doing cartwheels when I was four years old. I gave Champlain a chance, and I realized this was a home for me. And I also realized, "Hey, they have a Law program." It drew me in, and I came to visit and fell in love with this place.
With the Upside-Down Curriculum, I was able to take classes my first year to explore and decide if Law was where I wanted to be. Being emerged into the program head-first was so exciting-I wasn't bored at all, I was passionate. That got me hooked! And hardly any of the professors are full time because they have their own firms. They bring your studies back down to Earth and apply them by tossing aside the textbook and telling you what they're really doing with their careers. They share their experiences. The one thing that all individuals affiliated with Champlain have in common is that they all have passion-your professors really want to pass along that passion and train the next generation of workers.
Champlain isn't building robots; it wants to help you develop your critical thinking skills. Nothing about Champlain is generic... You can take initiative and create yourself. My Law major and Digital Forensics minor is the first combination of the two Champlain has seen. When I came here and quickly found my voice, I realized the power that really comes from having that confidence and being able to project it. You can transform the mood of a whole room with it.
Kathryn, Law MajorBurlington, VTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I was drawn to Champlain for the unique legal program available and the small, close-knit feel of the community, both as a whole and within the individual divisions. I also thought the campus had a comfortable "this is home" feeling that really made me want to stay.
The legal program here at Champlain is a whirlwind. From day one I started learning concepts and real world application, reading cases, and writing briefs and memos. Because it's a small major, I really got to know the people I'm in classes with and formed a bond that is both partnership and friendly competition, which encourages success. Many of my legal classes have had hypotheticals, where we apply real-world court cases and statutes to a made-up set of facts and learn how an attorney would approach a real case for a client and how paperwork for such a case would be filed.
But the best part of my Champlain experience has been the people I've met here, both through classes and through extracurricular activities. These people-friends, mentors and professors-have been an integral part of me becoming who I am now and feeling comfortable and sure of myself. Champlain has made me a much more confident, open person who is comfortable in their own skin and identity. Before coming to college, I was shy, afraid to express my opinions and didn't really do much outside of class and homework. Being here has helped me figure out who I am, feel sure of myself and broaden my horizons.
Shannon, Legal Studies* MajorDanielson, CTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
*The name of this major changed to Law in Fall 2016.
I chose Legal Studies because of my drive to make change a reality and to someday work in government. When I looked at the curriculum at Champlain, I realized I was getting exactly the type of degree I needed. My experience in the Legal Studies program has been amazing. I've had opportunities to work on assignments that mimic tasks I will work on in the workforce. I've been exposed to different types of law and have been able to experience them through cases, lectures, discussions, research, media and forums. All of the professors for the program have some form of real-world experience with the field; they are professionals with a passion for passing their knowledge and skills along.
I've also gained so many personal and professional skills that I need to be successful in my adult life through the Life Experience & Action Dimension (LEAD) program. LEAD has helped me gather the personal and professional skills that I need to be a successful in my adult life. I believe that if it had not been for LEAD, I would never have learned how to make a résumé or cover letter. I wouldn't know how to diversify my investments and how to manage them, and I certainly wouldn't know how to buy a car. LEAD has taught me invaluable life skills that will help me succeed outside of the classroom. I'm significantly more ready to be a true professional in the adult world. I feel ready to take on projects, and I feel comfortable working in a group or on my own. I feel confident being a leader and teammate in professional and personal settings.
Emma, Legal Studies* MajorClifton Park, NYDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES