16:03 PM

Meet a Gator: Paralegal Professional Pursues Bachelor's Degree at UHD

vanessa-rodriguezVanessa Rodriguez decided to pursue a certification to boost earnings as a paralegal. However, she realized she could reach even higher.

"After I got an associate's degree in paralegal technology, I was satisfied for a little while, but decided to go for a bachelor's to make even more money," said Rodriguez. "Then I decided, well if I have my bachelor's, I can go to law school - that's my ultimate goal." She always dreamt of being an attorney; and even though she became a mother at a young age, the dream of becoming a lawyer never left her.

Rodriguez, 32, chose to attend UHD because she was able to easily transfer all her college credits. The low tuition cost was also a plus for her. She is majoring in applied administration, a degree program that enables students to become administrators and supervisors in various industries: law offices, commercial and small businesses, and nonprofit organizations, to name a few.

She raves about her student experience and credits UHD for giving her the educational tools she need to succeed in her career.

"It's been a great learning experience," she said. "I've made new friends and I love the learning and study areas - they're helpful. The English and communication classes are also beneficial. Because English is my second language, I'm learning to perfect my grammar and vocabulary, which will help me when I'm writing pleadings for law school."

Rodriguez currently works as seasoned personal injury paralegal with more than 10 years of work-experience under her belt. She is a member of UHD's Pre Law Association, an organization that offers inquiring students the opportunity to learn more about legal education. The organization also provides practice test for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and opportunities to participate in mock trials.

In 2013-2014, 3,441 UHD students were involved in 64 campus organizations.

One day, Rodriguez wants to start her own legal practice - preferably in personal injury or the oil and gas industry. After her anticipated graduation in fall 2015, Rodriguez plans to take the LSAT and apply to law school.

When asked what motivates her to stay on path, Rodriguez said, "My daughter is my biggest motivator."