Class of 2020 Outcomes: Briana Smalley Ventures to Villanova School of Law

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With another successful Commencement behind us, High Point University graduates are commencing prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2020:

Name: Briana Smalley

Hometown: Royal Palm Beach, Florida

Major: Criminal justice with minors in women and gender studies and civic responsibility and social innovation

Post-graduation plans: Smalley will be attending Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law to pursue her Juris Doctorate degree

How HPU helped you get there: “High Point University provided an environment that challenged me to reach my full potential. As a Bonner Leader for the Bonner Leader Program, my service site was High Point Community Against Violence (HPCAV). HPCAV is a nonprofit in the city of High Point that works with law enforcement agencies around the Triad Area, using a focused-deference method to deter crime. As someone who wants to be a criminal prosecutor, this experience allowed me to assist those with prior records and work to put a stop to violence in the community. My work with this notable organization was praised upon and mentioned in my acceptance letter to Villanova Law. The Bonner Leader Program at High Point University helped me to develop the professionalism and wisdom I acquired while training under HPCAV director, Jim Summey. Along with this opportunity, I am so thankful I had the privilege of interning for the High Point Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at the Family Justice Center in the city of High Point, during my fall senior semester. Professor Jessi Swanson in the Criminal Justice Department, who is also my academic advisor, assisted me in acquiring this internship by so graciously becoming my faculty advisor and helping me plan out my schedule accordingly. Every faculty and staff member at HPU that I’ve come across are always so willing to assist students, in any way they can.”

Most impactful mentor at HPU: “The most impactful mentors at HPU for me, would have to be three faculty members: Dr. Joe Blosser, Dr. Tara Shollenberger, and Joshua Rich. As the director of service-learning, Dr. Blosser has inspired me to be a change agent. From the start of my freshman year, he has guided me to become the student I am today and helped on my journey to law school. When I became a Student Justice, an individual I began to immediately looked up to was Dr. Shollenberger. As an assistant vice president for student life, she invests herself and time into a passion for student success. Through my encounters with her, I’ve learned the importance of always carrying myself with integrity and confidence. During the fall semester of my senior year, I worked with Josh as his student assistant for the Office of Student Conduct. During his first year at HPU, the Student Justice Program has changed in the best way possible. He helped me become a better Student Justice and the lessons he taught me will now transfer into my role as a law student and a future lawyer.”

Most impactful moment at HPU: “The most impactful moments I had at HPU were ones I spent as a Student Justice in Conduct and Honor Court. I’ve adjudicated a number of cases, each one teaching me a different life lesson. Helping those who may have lost their way get back on the right path towards greatness, is indescribable. I’ve had the sincerest pleasure of helping uphold the values and principles of HPU in this capacity, while also positively making a difference in students’ lives.”

Advice for underclassmen: “My advice to underclassmen would be to take risks and step outside the box. Enroll in a class outside your major or minor, join a club, and make friends with fellow students in your classes. College is a time for you to discover yourself. Embrace change and every challenge thrown at you. Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you. In my freshman year, I was hesitant to step outside my comfort zone. Joining the service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APO), pushed me to be in situations I would have otherwise not participated in. Through APO, I became closer to individuals I would have never have met otherwise. I’ve been changed for the better and grew to be a mature, open-minded person from my experiences at HPU.”

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