Former SGA President Shalyn Smith Accepted into Twelve Law Schools
On May 11, 2013, Shalyn Smith will graduate from Stillman College with a 4.0 grade point average—a perfect 4.0. And as a result of an unwavering commitment to her studies, the 2012-2013 Student Government Association (SGA) President and Harte Honors College scholar has been accepted into twelve law schools—The University of Alabama, Case Western Reserve University, The Ohio State University, Michigan State University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Minnesota, American University, Florida Coastal School of Law, Penn State University, Pepperdine University, Valparaiso University and Northeastern University.
Although everyone may not be capable of maintaining a 4.0, Shalyn’s success speaks to the possibility of what can happen when a bright student chooses to be exemplary. What is particularly salient is that Shalyn, an English major in the Pre-Law program, achieved academic excellence while diligently working on behalf of the entire student body. As SGA president, Shalyn exuded the energy of a cheerleader, the grace of a First Lady and the passion a young woman determined to live life on purpose. Whether entertaining a crowd of prospective students, engaging in a tireless array of community service projects, or speaking on television or at myriad civic functions, she has represented the College well. And while she may be best remembered around campus for her high-visibility role as SGA President, she also served as president of three other organizations: the Pre-Law Association, Sigma Tau Delta National Honorary Band Sorority, and the Epsilon Gamma Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta.
Least anyone imagine that the Rancho Cucamonga, CA, native hasn’t had to work hard for her success, she says empathically, “It’s not easy maintaining a 4.0 when you are also very involved on campus. Serving as SGA president is like having a mini political career because you are a liaison between students and the faculty, staff and administration. Part of my job was to know every single student. So I had my office hours, and I tried to be very professional. People say, ‘That’s the Stillman SGA President,’ and you want to live up to that.”
“The hardest aspect of the job is feeling like you’re going to let everyone down. You can’t know how much goes into a job unless you are sitting in the position. At the beginning of my presidency, I tried to pick key and major changes to make and, because I had a good cabinet, we were able to accomplish a great deal. We were able to get pool and ping pong tables for students. We got new mattresses in Hay Hall. We brought back Unity Day and, through our voter registration drive, we convinced over 80 percent of students to register.”
She admits that there were days when she would have liked to sleep a little longer, but maintaining excellent grades while also being a campus leader and working part time—not to mention studying for the LSAT, the daunting law school entrance exam—left little room for leisurely living.
Nevertheless, Shalyn is a well-balanced scholar who does not believe that test scores and grades are always an indication of what a person will accomplish in life. “There are many good lawyers who may not have had the highest grades in their class,” she says. “But I intend to finish at the top of my class in law school because I want to achieve to the highest level I possibly can, and I also want to pass the bar and to be attractive to employers. I cannot tell you how great my desire is to join the legal profession.”
Shalyn has not yet publicly announced which school she will attend, but she does state that, during her first year of law school, she intends to be considerably less involved in extracurricular activities than she was during her undergraduate days. “I’m going to take some time off from community service and try to go under the radar in order to focus on my studies. I still expect to be an active voice, but I won’t assume leadership positions right away,” she says.
This will be a tremendous change for Shalyn, who began honing her leadership skills in grammar school. “In forth grade, I wanted to be President of the United States. I ran for student council and lost. I can’t remember my exact campaign slogan, but it was something like ‘If you want to have fun and enjoy school, vote for me,’” she recalls.
The loss shook her confidence but she eventually returned to the campaign trail and, by her senior year of high school, she was president of two clubs. As she began taking on more and more leadership positions, she started thinking about law school. “I realized that I loved to represent people. I noticed that this is what comes naturally to me,” she states.
“My experiences in SGA will help me throughout my law school journey. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend Stillman and serve in so many leadership capacities. Stillman helped me to think deeply about who I can affect and what I want to do.”
“I remember giving my first speech as SGA President. In newspaper pictures from that day, I think that I looked worried and confused,” she recalls.
As she grew into her position, she became increasingly confident. In speeches and presentations she began to exude the self-assurance of a young woman destined for a career in law. “I was comfortable, and I had a real message,” she says, adding that she is now more determined and more motivated than ever. “I have a vision. I had a vision before, but it was foggy. Now I can clearly see where I’m going.”
Email to Friend
Fill in the form below to send this campus news to a friend: