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WMU Alumni @ Cooley: Jennifer Gallardo

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I had worked in travel and banking and enjoyed both but felt I had no real aim. I wanted to do more for others. A law degree will provide that opportunity.

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.

Jennifer L. Gallardo (BA ’08)
JD Candidate 2016


The first story is from Jennifer Gallardo who received her undergraduate degree in Spanish and social work from WMU, and is now pursuing a law degree with the hope of working for a non-profit that focuses on immigration and related issues.

1. Why did you decide to attend WMU?

I attended WMU for undergrad because it had a great Spanish department and was close enough to home to allow me to commute.

2. What did you study at WMU and why?

I majored in Spanish and minored in Social Work. I am passionate about the Spanish language and Latino culture and history.

3. Were you active in any on-campus organizations, clubs, or teams?

I was active with the Student Success Program, first as a participant and later working there as a mentor, office assistant, and Spanish tutor. I participated in Alternative Spring Break, traveling with a group to the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center and School to volunteer for a week. I also worked as a reading tutor through the America Reads program. And I traveled to Burgos, Spain as part of the Spanish department's study abroad program. All of these were life-changing experiences!

4. When did you decide you wanted to pursue a law degree?

About four years after finishing my undergrad degree. I had worked in travel and banking and enjoyed both but felt I had no real aim. I wanted to do more for others. A law degree will provide that opportunity.

5. What do you hope to do with your law degree?

I'd like to work for a non-profit that focuses on immigration and related issues. I am most passionate about the impact of immigration on families and children.

6. Why did you choose Cooley?
WMU-Cooley was the perfect fit for me. They have an amazing scholarship program. I also needed a flexible schedule and the ability to work while in school. And I loved the atmosphere of camaraderie when I visited the campus. Law school is known for being competitive and cut-throat, but WMU-Cooley felt more like a team, all working together for the same goal.

7. When will you complete your studies?
I will graduate in May 2016.

8. As an alumnus/a of WMU, how do you feel about Cooley now being an affiliate of your alma mater?

I was proud to graduate from WMU with my BA and I am proud to soon graduate from WMU with my JD. Go Broncos!

9. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read, travel, kayak, spend time with family and friends.

The photo is from my study abroad experience this summer in Madrid, Spain through a partner program with William & Mary Law School. We are pictured outside the Senate of Spain after a visit.

If you are an alumnus/a of WMU and Cooley, or a current student at Cooley, and would like to share your story, please email storyteller@mywmu.com.