Major: Paralegal Studies
Sadaf Ahmed was pursuing a degree in Criminology at a university when she took an elective class in law.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the class and found myself intrigued, and I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in law. The possibilities seemed endless," she said.
Ahmed earned her law degree in London but upon moving to Illinois discovered that the state did not recognize foreign law degrees. She instead focused her efforts on her family, and once her three daughters were older, she decided to return to education.
"I knew I had to re-qualify myself in order to be employable in today's market," she said. "I spoke with a number of practicing paralegals and the vast majority strongly suggested that I give serious consideration to the Paralegal Studies program at College of DuPage. They spoke very highly of the program's merits, the faculty, the organization and most importantly that it was accredited by the American Bar Association."
The decision was the right one for Ahmed, who said the program provided a great foundation and background to understanding the mechanics of the U.S. legal system. After two semesters, she decided to pursue a law degree in the U.S. and transferred into a program at DePaul University for students who previously obtained law degrees in a foreign country.
"I would not have been able to apply to law school without the support, help and encouragement I received from Linda Jenkins and Todd Holes at COD. The legal drafting classes and civil litigation were particularly helpful," she said. "I don't know exactly where my career will take me, but I am hopeful that it will be an exciting journey."
In addition to taking classes, Ahmed participated in a judicial externship in the law division at the Daly Center. She currently works as a research assistant writing criminal law summaries and is studying for the bar exam.
Because of her positive experience at COD, she strongly recommends the Paralegal Studies program to anyone considering a career as a paralegal.
"The faculty is truly amazing, and the method of teaching is clear, precise and excellently taught," she said. "There are a number of classes students can choose from. The program, headed by Sally Fairbanks, along with other faculty members, also provides tremendous support for students in finding placements while at COD and facilitating networking.
"Not enough can be said about COD, most importantly the faculty. Each and every one of them was an expert in their respective fields. They each provided a respectful learning environment and welcomed healthy debate where needed. I particularly appreciated the diversity of students at COD – so many people from different backgrounds and walks of life, yet everyone was welcome and everyone had a voice."