By Dan Landau
When she walked across the stage on May 7 at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus’ 2014 Commencement, Ana Morales Murrieta, 22, had more to smile about than just completing her bachelor’s degree. She is also the first Vancouver Campus
graduate to go on to law school after FDU.
Hailing from the Gulf Coast town of Tampico, Mexico
, Morales chose FDU because she felt the University would be an excellent stepping-stone into law school. “In high school in Mexico, I decided I wanted to go to law school,” says Morales. “And to go to law school in the U.S., you need a bachelor’s degree. Mexican degrees are not as good as American or Canadian ones.
“I had a sister already living in Vancouver, so when I heard about FDU’s Vancouver Campus and its U.N. ties, it was a no-brainer for me to come to FDU,” continues Morales.
Morales desire to go to law school was so strong, that she took summer classes and extra courses during the semester so that should could graduate with her B.S. in business administration a full year early. “As much as I enjoyed FDU, I just wanted to get to law school,” she says.
Still, despite completing her degree early, Morales was able to take advantage of the things the school and the city had to offer, including jobs and internships, student clubs, and faculty mentors. “I always had a job. I decided I needed the experience,” notes Morales. Indeed, while going to school full time and taking extra classes, Morales was also able to hold down at least one job, often cobbling multiple part-time jobs together into a full-time work schedule.
Her jobs included working as a student activities assistant coordinator on campus and as a sales associate at La Senza, a lingerie chain owned by L Brands as well as serving as an intern with the Mexico Tourism Board.
“Working was good for me because I got to see things from my class in practice,” says Morales. “Plus, I learned time management!”
On top of her significant work and school commitments, Morales was also very involved in the student organizations on campus, including FDU Thinkers, the Student Government Association, the Rotaract Club, and Model United Nations.
“I got to go to New York City for the National Model United Nations (in 2013
),” says Morales. “There were four of us there for a week and we represented the United Kingdom. It was an amazing experience to go to the U.N. headquarters.”
“I was one of the first members FDU Thinkers,” she says of the informal student debate club. One of Morales’ mentors, Kiran Toor, an adjunct English professor, was also active with FDU Thinkers. “I’ve taken several courses with her and she’s a very tough professor and I didn’t get an ‘A’ in her class until this spring.” says Morales. “I like that I had to work hard in her classes and I appreciated how she would give her own time to mentor us so we can have a good life.”
Looking forward to that good life, Morales is eagerly anticipating law school now at one of the top law schools she’s been accepted to, including George Washington University, University of Houston, and Texas A&M University. She is the first member of her family to go to graduate school.
For her future after law school, Morales is still deciding between working in litigation with a firm or working in international law with an organization like the U.N. or the International Court of Justice. “I still have a few years to figure this out,” she says.
Since its inception in 2007, the Vancouver Campus, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, has rapidly grown, from 18 students to more than 600 now
, and this year, it graduated its largest class yet: 321
. More on the Vancouver Campus Commencement, including footage of the flashmob held outside Queen Elizabeth Theatre, is available here