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April 30, 2015
Melissa Peck entered Northwest Missouri State University knowing she wanted go to law school. Four years later, she is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in deaf studies, and she has a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Law School.
“Northwest is a place with many opportunities to get involved and I took advantage of that,” she said.
Those opportunities included writing for Tower yearbook, assisting in the planning of Women’s History Month activities and creating a history exhibit for the B.D. Owens Library. She also was involved with pre-law society, the student-faculty discipline committee and the Studio Jazz Band.
Peck says the experience she cherishes most is the time she spent with Northwest’s mock trial team.
“It was something I really loved, and it was a way to develop critical thinking and public speaking skills,” Peck said. “It gave me the opportunity to receive profession-based learning experiences and open my eyes to what the future has in store for me.”
Northwest’s pre-law program prepares students for entrance in law school. In recent years, 31 of 32 students have been admitted to law schools throughout the country, and multiple Northwest graduates receive full-tuition scholarships.
For Peck to be admitted into a law school, she understood the importance of interacting with her professors.
“If I wouldn’t have gotten to know my professors or participated in activities, I wouldn’t have gotten my choice of law schools,” she said.
Knowing how important it was for her to go to law school, Dr. Dan Smith, assistant professor and advisor of mock trial, encouraged her involvement as a peer advisor, to apply for a supplemental instructor position, and to participate in an independent study.
“This University is a teaching-based university where professors truly focus on the interests of their students,” Peck said.
In 2014, Melissa conducted an independent study about deaf law practices and researched the injustices of deaf individuals within the criminal law system.
Through her research, she became more aware of the challenges that deaf people face in legal systems, and she wants to be a resource to them. She plans to conduct additional research for alternative opportunities for deaf individuals who should not be part of the legal system.
“One of my greatest challenges at Northwest was growing socially between high school and college,” Peck said. “I am aware that I am a very introverted individual, however I think the activities I participated in have pushed me to be more social and interact with all different types of people.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468