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WMU Alumni @ Cooley: Shelika Tate

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I decided to pursue a law degree in 2014 (15 years after graduating from undergrad.) I just wanted to explore something new, get an advanced degree, and law school was the right fit.

In 2014, an agreement was made that created an affiliation between Western Michigan University and the nation’s largest law school, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. As a result, many WMU alumni pursuing a law degree a Cooley Law School found themselves “back” at WMU.

In this series, MyWMU.com will feature some of those alumni who are now students of Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Shelika Tate (BA ’99, Sociology; Political Science)
Anticipated Graduation from Cooley: 2020


Our third featured Bronco at Cooley is Shelika Tate, who enrolled at Western Michigan University to follow her passion for dance, but ended up majoring in Sociology and Political Science. Tate had flirted with the idea of an advanced degree for years, and after some encouragement from her husband and a little research, she decided on law. When she completes her degree, Tate hopes to enter the world of sports & entertainment law, her dream being to work for the NFL or another national sports league.

1. Why did you decide to attend WMU?
After high school, I was following my passion to continue studying dance and WMU had the best dance department in Michigan.

2. What did you study at WMU and why?
After sophomore year I decided to change my degree from dance to sociology because my dream was really to perform and I knew I would have to audition where ever I went so I decided to just minor in dance. I still had access to all the upper level dance courses once admitted to the department, so in my mind it didn't matter if my degree was actually in dance. During my graduation audit I realized I only needed 2-3 more classes to make Political Science a major as well, I double majored in Political Science and Sociology. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Sociology, 1999.

3. Were you active in any on-campus organizations, clubs, or teams?
I was a member of You Beautiful Black Woman, NAACP, and Orchesis Dance Society. I participated in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.'s Miss Black & Gold Pageant (1st Runner Up) and the NAACP, Mr. & Mrs. Black WMU Pageant (3rd Place). I also worked as a student in the University's Provost Office. I received a dance department scholarship (Outstanding New Dance Major) & was twice on the Dean's list.

4. When did you decide you wanted to pursue a law degree?
I decided to pursue a law degree in 2014 (15 years after graduating from undergrad.) I just wanted to explore something new, get an advanced degree and law school was the right fit. My husband had been encouraging me to study law for years!

5. What do you hope to do with your law degree?
My interest are in sports & entertainment law (really sports) my dream would be to work for the NFL, an NFL team or any national sports league. I also have an interest in Immigration law. I am just in my third term (and only going part time) so I hope to be able to narrow my focus in the next year or two.

6. Why did you choose Cooley?
I chose Cooley for very practical reasons. 1.) the location to my home. I live 20 minutes north of Cooley, so it was much more convenient than Wayne State or U of D. 2.) I also appreciated the opportunity to receive a scholarship strictly on my LSAT score. (I got 50% off tuition, missed 100% by 4 points!) 3.) I also wanted to attend the weekend program, unfortunately when I entered they were only offering that option on the Lansing campus.

7. When will you complete your studies?
My anticipated graduation date is 2020, hopefully sooner.

8. As an alumna of WMU, how do you feel about Cooley now being an affiliate of your alma mater?
I think it's GREAT!! I am excited to have 2 degrees from Western Michigan University!

9. What do you like to do in your spare time?
What's spare time? I do enjoy reading, watching movies, traveling and spending quality time with my family.

10. If there is anything else you would like to add or share, please feel free to do so.
I absolutely loved my time in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University. The friends I made, activities & concerts I participated in, and knowledge I gained, both in and out of the classroom, I consider invaluable. It just makes sense that I am a part of the WMU community again.