Sarah E. Wilkerson
Hard work and an 'amazing political science department' at Tech helped her earn a full scholarship to law school at Penn State
Title: Law student
Now resides in: Ruston, and moving to State College, Pa., in mid-August
Degree: Political science with a concentration in pre-law; minor in English
High School: Ruston High '12
What brought you to Tech? Growing up in Ruston, I have always been a Louisiana Tech fan. However, I ultimately decided on Tech because of the combination of affordability and quality of education.
What are some of your favorite memories of Tech? Attending the basketball games, joining the KLPI radio station my senior year, and spending time with the amazing friends that I made at Tech. I also had the opportunity to watch the Louisiana Tech Eco-Car team participate in the Shell Eco-marathon, and it made me very proud of my school.
Why have you chosen law? Because my father is an attorney, I basically grew up in a law office. However, I thought I wanted to be a psychologist or teacher up until my junior year when I took a couple of classes in political science. I also began working at my father's law office that year, so I think the combination of school and work helped me discover my true passion for law and politics.
How did you find out you'd gotten a full scholarship to law school? I received an email from Penn State offering admission and also explaining that I received the scholarship. Because it was early Monday morning, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, so I had to bring my father into my office to confirm the email!
What would be your advice for a freshman pursuing a career in law? I would definitely suggest applying for jobs or internships with law offices, taking the pre-law classes that Tech has to offer, and focusing on each task that you're presently facing rather than stressing about issues that you might face in the future.
Why Penn State and where were your other offers? Penn State was originally not even on my radar. I honestly applied to the school because they had sent me a few emails telling me that they were interested. However, after being accepted and receiving the full-tuition scholarship, I, of course, looked into the school. They had everything I had hoped for in a law school. I want to be an immigration attorney and hopefully coauthor white papers on immigration, and they have a Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic that is designed specifically for students wanting to work in the immigration field. They promote cooperation instead of competitiveness among students to learn the law, and I also think it would be great to get out of my comfort zone and live in the north for a few years.
What other offers did you have? In addition to Penn State, I have been accepted by and received scholarship offers from the University of Oklahoma, LSU, Tulane, and Campbell University.
What was your most challenging Tech course and why? Oh goodness. I would say Dr. Mhire's political science classes. He forces you into a much deeper level of thinking that can be difficult to keep up with. His classes were challenging and among my favorite.
How has Tech helped you in getting a full scholarship? Louisiana Tech has an amazing political science department. Not only do the professors seem enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subjects they teach, but they also truly challenge their students. I feel like Tech prepared me to think for myself and support the arguments I make. Because of this, I was very confident when taking my LSAT and later when applying for law schools, not because I thought that it would be easy, but because I knew that I would be able to handle the pressure.
Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten years? Because I'm still young, I'm honestly not entirely sure yet, but I'm also all right with that. I suppose my most basic plan is to continue to learn and understand the law the best that I can to help those who need it. However, longterm, I would like to pursue a career dedicated toward reducing overregulation in some areas of the law.
What is your favorite TV show about law? I actually haven't watched many TV shows focused on law. I have seen the first season of How to Get Away with Murder, and I really enjoyed it. I also liked Franklin & Bash before it was cancelled.
If there's one thing I've learned, it's …: that writing a ten-page research paper isn't as difficult as I used to think it was.