Alumnus Katie Dittelberger on How Her English Degree Helped Prepared Her for Law School

After earning my bachelor’s at Ball State with an English Major in 2007, I took a year off from school to think about what I wanted to do next career-wise, and headed to Boulder, Colorado to work as a waitress and enjoy the mountains. As I contemplated my future career, I knew I had been shaped by my experiences at Ball State. For instance, my classes with Debbie Mix, Lauren Onkey, Pat Collier, and Jill Christman had exposed me to different ways of thinking about social inequality, which led me to contemplate centering my work around social justice. My time surrounded by the natural beauty of Colorado had also enhanced my belief in the value of environmental sustainability. I decided that becoming a lawyer would be a good way to get to work on some of the issues I care about. I entered Indiana University School of Law with a full scholarship in the fall of 2008 and graduated Summa Cum Laude in the spring of 2011. In law school, I engaged in some public service and social justice-oriented volunteer work, and I worked as a law clerk for a judge, as a law clerk for Earthjustice, and as an intern at The Nature Conservancy during the two summers. Currently, I am studying for the bar examination and plan to move to Denver to pursue a career in nonprofit lawyering. 

Studying a variety of methods of thought in my English classes and learning to use reason and logic to write papers prepared me to engage in legal reading and writing in law school. English majors are taught to use both the creative and logical parts of our brains to make arguments, exactly the type of thought necessary for making legal arguments. There is room for creativity in the law, and English majors are perfectly poised to see these grey areas because we are taught to analyze texts from different angles. My English major gave me a new outlook on the world and the tools to take on the challenge of law school, and I am grateful for my time at Ball State.

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