Marine veterans receive full-ride to Arizona State Law school

Kaylah Jackson
October 15, 2018 - 2:51 pm

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It may sound cliché but veterans really do take their leadership skills into the civilian world and often, into the classroom.

That’s how Christopher Senn, describes what he’s learned from his time in the Marine Corps to various jobs outside of the military.

After looking at what the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines had to offer, Senn decided that the “Marines seemed to care the most,”  so he enlisted eventually becoming an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator, or what others might call a drone pilot.

During his time stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina and during his five years in the Marines he pursued his education studying aviation and aerospace science, eventually earning both a Bachelors and Master’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Growing up in the Washington D.C., area, Senn always had a fascination with the legal industry but at the time, thought the idea of becoming an attorney seemed farfetched. But after taking a contracting job, he started getting involved in real estate and investing.

Having his name on multiple properties made him extremely vulnerable and rather than spending excess money to hire an attorney to handle insulating his properties, Senn thought, why not become an attorney himself.

Thanks to a new full -ride veteran scholarship provided by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Senn will be able to take the necessary steps to become an attorney without the burden of the cost that comes with law school. 

Read Also: ASU Law announces new scholarship program for Marine and Special Forces Vets

(Photo courtesy of Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University)

“I don’t do any of this primarily for myself, my point is to work hard In order to start a family and be able to settle down and provide for them to an extent different than the way I grew up,” said Senn. “I can use this knowledge for my personal reasons to possibly practice law afterward to assist others, this scholarship will enable me to do that.”

Senn received the Richard Romley Scholarship named after a Marine Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient who graduated from ASU Law.

Although Senn is only in his first semester at ASU, Senn calls law school “chaotic,” but it’s a challenge that he finds fun.

For Marine veteran Conner Pursell, having a father who served in the Marines and two siblings who were lawyers, he knew law school was in his future.

After leaving active duty with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he continued serving in the Marine Reserves and earned his Bachelors in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Texas at Austin, but that wouldn't be the end of this educational journey.

After graduation, he started applying to law schools, including Arizona State University. "When I got accepted, I attended an admitted students day and talked to Dean Sylvester, the dean of the law school and that's how I found out about the scholarship," said Pursell.

He received the good news while moving from  Texas to Arizona. 

"I honestly feel like law school has taken up more time than most of the time I spent in the Marine Corps. It's something that you have to completely dedicate yourself to in order to actually understand the concept," said Pursell.

While he was attracted to prosecution, class visits from Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) have opened his eyes to other avenues within the law field. 

"The more JAG talks to me and the benefits and experience that you get from JAG, that's something that I don't feel that I'd like to pass up," said Pursell. 

Pursell has been awarded the R.J. Mitchell Scholarship named after a Marine veteran who completed two combat tours in Iraq and graduated from ASU as well. Mitchell was awarded the Navy Cross for a distinguished act of combat valor in which he was wounded while saving the lives of several trapped Marines.

Four scholarships are awarded in total, two for Marine Corps veterans and two awarded to veterans of the Special Forces community, such as Rangers, Green Berets, SEALs or Marine MARSOC or RECON. 

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