Featured Alum Profile 2014: Laura R. Hinchey
Prior to attending Arapahoe Community College, I was a single mom working as an Administrative Assistant and living paycheck to paycheck. I was tired of making a little over minimum wage and I knew that I was destined to do more. I wanted my family to be proud of me and, most of all, I wanted my daughter to be proud of me. After reading an article online about how a paralegal career is a viable option to make good money, and finding out that ACC offered an accredited two year program, I made up my mind. I was going to be a paralegal! My now husband told me that he would support me 100% so I got approved for financial aid and talked to an advisor. I was ready to start classes and hit the ground running! Read More.
My experience at ACC was a very positive one. Shortly after I started my first semester, I was able to land a work study position as an Administrative Assistant at the ACC Career Center. I really enjoyed the people I worked with at the Career Center and I enjoyed being able to interact with other students during all phases of their education and professional development.
I was fortunate to be taught by some of the best teachers I have ever had. Ms. Mary Peoples, Ms. Barbara Barrow-Stephens, Mr. Andy Contiguglia, and Ms. Gracia are just a few that stand out in my memory. I remember all of the teachers being very supportive and responsive to my learning style. They challenged me when needed and listened when I wanted to talk something out. After I finished my first semester with all A's and B's and made the Dean's list, I knew that I was good at this, and I decided that I was going to be great!
One of the additional opportunities that ACC brought me was to be able to get a summer position as a tour guide at the Colorado State Capitol. That was one of the best summer jobs ever. I met some great students from other colleges and was able to interact with members of the Colorado Legislature and Dignitaries on a daily basis. Being in that environment only further fueled my desire to graduate at the top of my class and become one of those "important people" one day.
During my last semester when I was working to finish my internship and last few classes strong, I received an email that was directed to the top 10% of the class about a Legal Specialist position that had just opened up at a corporation in downtown Denver. I applied for the position and was hired on a preliminary basis. I started in fall of 2010 as a part time Legal Specialist, while I was still finishing school, with the understanding that if I proved to be a good fit for the position it would turn into full time once I finished school. After I finished school, my boss came to me with an offer of full-time employment. I did it! I actually did exactly what I read in the article online two years prior and I made it happen. At that moment, I realized that I could do anything I put my mind to.
Since then, I moved up in the corporation from a Legal Specialist to a Sr. Administrator-Paralegal to a Contract Manager. Now, I'm working at a very prestigious Denver law firm as a Litigation Paralegal. I have already far exceeded my initial goals, and started making a name for myself in the Denver legal community. I'm currently one test away from obtaining the designation of Certified Paralegal through NALA. And at some point, I plan to continue my education and possibly go to law school. Eventually, I would also like to start my own non-profit that brings positive everlasting change to local communities across the nation.
I am thankful for reading the article online that gave me the drive to do something to change my situation. I am also thankful for my then future husband for being so supportive of my goals. I am thankful for the teachers and faculty at Arapahoe Community College, and everyone else that I had the pleasure to encounter that in some way helped shape my future in a positive direction. Finally, I am thankful for having the courage and determination to go for my dreams and actually make them a reality.
Written by: Laura R. Hinchey
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