Las Vegas, N.M. – A 2016 Highlands University graduate with a double major in criminal justice and psychology has her pick of nine top public and private law schools across the U.S.
Jamie Allen earned a 4.0 at Highlands and will walk the stage at the Highlands commencement May 14 to pick up her bachelor’s degree diploma. Her minor is in sociology.
Allen was accepted to law schools at Emory University, University of Colorado, Pepperdine University, Texas A & M University, University of Denver, Santa Clara University, Creighton University, Texas Tech University and University of New Mexico.
“I didn’t know how I would fare, so I submitted a lot of law school applications to be on the safe side,” Allen said. “The suspense of waiting to hear was the hardest part, and it was surreal to get nine acceptances.”
Allen, a 22-year-old native of Las Vegas, New Mexico, said ever since she can remember, she’s wanted to be a lawyer.
“We did mock trials in elementary school and I loved it. I’ve never wanted to do anything else. What makes law so interesting to me are the ways you use your critical thinking skills to interpret cases and issues. It’s also appealing to be able to argue a position that can set a legal precedent that might have an impact on future laws,” Allen said.
At this point, Allen said she’s most interested in natural resource law such as water rights and oil and gas law. She’s also interested in corporate law.
“Water law impacts everyone. It’s a legal concentration that has an immediate real-world application,” Allen said.
Gloria Gadsen, Highlands criminal justice professor and program coordinator, was Allen’s adviser.
“I think Jamie’s greatest strengths are her intelligence, her focus, her generosity, her passion, her compassion for fellow human beings and her commitment to family – and the list goes on,” Gadsen said.
Gadsen said she expects Allen to continue along the same trajectory of hard work and success in law school and beyond.
“I have no doubt Jamie will graduate at the top of her class after presiding over several law reviews. I can also predict she will pass the bar exam and become a dedicated, passionate, generous lawyer. I have no doubt she will succeed at the highest level, and serve the bar with integrity,” Gadsen said.
Allen said Gadsen was her most influential professor at Highlands.
“Dr. Gadsen respects students’ opinions, which enables you to think more freely about complex issues related to gender, race and socioeconomic status,” Allen said. “She has high expectations for her students, and pushes you to think critically and work hard.”
Allen added that if you’re willing to work, there’s always a professor willing to help at Highlands.
“The professors at Highlands take a personal interest in your learning and academic goals. I’m grateful that we have such a good university here in my hometown. I got a high-quality education and am graduating debt free,” Allen said.
During high school, Allen was a standout dual-sport athlete at Robertson High in Las Vegas. As a varsity basketball player she earned All-State honors one year and All-District honors two years. As a varsity golfer, she was named All-District for four years.
As a college student, Allen said she took her love of basketball and golf to another level working at Robertson as a junior varsity girls basketball head coach and varsity girls golf head coach.
“My favorite thing about coaching is having a positive impact on girls’ lives. Fundamentals of basketball and golf are of course important, but if you didn’t learn hard work and respect from me I failed as a coach,” Allen said.