Gardner-Webb History and English Classes Prepared Alumna for Career in Law

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Lt. Elizabeth K. Kiessling (’07) Serves in U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in history and minor in English from Gardner-Webb University, Elizabeth K. Kiessling (’07) headed to law school in Sacramento, Calif. Her goal—which she reached in the fall of 2010—was to be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.

Since becoming a lieutenant, Kiessling has been stationed in Ventura, Calif., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. She has served as a government prosecutor and as general counsel to several commanding officers.

“My parents instilled in me a strong desire to give back, and I chose to serve in the JAG Corps chiefly because I wanted to use my education to do something meaningful for my country,” Kiessling affirmed. “I also wanted to learn how to be a strong and effective attorney and leader, something required of all Navy judge advocates. Further, the Navy JAG Corps offers opportunities far beyond what I could have expected to do in most traditional law firms, including opportunities to advise commanding officers on a variety of complex issues, deploy on aircraft carriers, earn advanced degrees, live in a variety of exciting places, and be a part of the world’s most powerful Navy.”

Her GWU professors prepared her to excel in law school and in service to the Navy. “It was important to me to be able to effectively research, analyze, write, and communicate on a variety of topics in a variety of situations,” she assessed. “My studies accomplished this, in addition to challenging me on a daily basis to think about things in new ways.”

Beyond academics, Kiessling appreciated the close-knit GWU community. “Gardner-Webb students have a unique opportunity to form meaningful relationships with their professors, men and women of achievement and character who are dedicated to the success of their students,” she related. “I was fortunate enough to form such relationships with several of my professors, who challenged and mentored me, and who continue to do so.”

While all of her professors were outstanding, she especially appreciated the teaching styles of Dr. Tony Eastman, retired professor of history, and Dr. David Parker, professor of English and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature. “Dr. Eastman’s love of history made class fun, and he always challenged me to challenge myself,” she observed. “His example of personal integrity and excellence is one that I continue to try to emulate even today. And Dr. Parker has a unique ability to bring literature to life for his students, and to shape students into discerning thinkers and strong writers. I am sure that his guidance made me the attorney that I am today.”

The views presented are those of Elizabeth Kiessling and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Defense or the Department of the Navy.