Skills Learned in GWU Political Science Classes Prepared Alumna for Law School

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Attorney Ivana Hughes ’13 Enjoys Helping People Reach Their Goals

Three times a week, Ivana Hughes ’13 is in court working on behalf of her clients. The Gardner-Webb University alumna is an associate attorney with King Law Offices in Rutherfordton, N.C., and Lincolnton, N.C. She practices family law, criminal defense, civil litigation, and wills and estates. “I love being in court,” Hughes affirmed. “I like to be around people and help them reach their end goals. I love what I do every day.”

Her dream to become a lawyer started when she was a young child. For her senior project in high school, she chose criminal law as her topic, and her mentor was an attorney. After spending time with the attorney, she was sure of her calling. The attorney suggested that she major in political science to prepare for law school.

While she was considering colleges, coaches came looking for her. A native of Augusta, Ga., Hughes ran track in high school and received several offers from colleges, including Gardner-Webb. She came for a visit and liked several things—the close-knit community, Baptist foundation, political science program, the small class sizes and its distance from her home. “I knew I was going to get to know not just my teammates on a more intimate level, but also the students in general,” Hughes reflected. “You also get to know your professors and they help you from your first day at GWU until you are a senior. They are with you.”

Preparing for her political science classes gave her the skills she needed for studying in law school, and she minored in English to improve her writing skills. She also had opportunities to participate in Model Arab League and Model United Nations, competitions that give students practice in public speaking and conducting research. “My classes at GWU taught problem solving, critical reading and analyzing,” assessed Hughes, who earned a law degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. “The political science professors teach you how to be open-minded and tolerant of not just different political views and backgrounds, but tolerant of what’s going on in other countries. You learn the history and how it applies to today. A lot of the first year of law school is studying common law, and you have to know where you are coming from to how you got here.”

Besides being prepared for law school, Hughes is grateful for the friends she made at Gardner-Webb. “They are my best friends still today and I see them on a regular basis,” she shared. “When you leave GWU, you will leave with lifelong friendships, an increased faith, and with what I would say, is a top-notch education.”