|Name: Dagmara Bastiks
Year Graduated: 2010
Service Branch: Navy
Military Rank: Commander
Long Beach, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Corpus Christi, Texas; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Havelock, North Carolina
How did military service prepare you for the study of law or for life in general?
Upon completion of general surgical training, I served 23 years as a naval reserve medical officer, with over 20 of those years on active duty.
Were there particular military service experiences that heightened your interest in the law?
In addition to working as a clinician, I held administrative department head positions, was a member of the Medical Staff Executive Committee, and served on the Credentials Committee. Legal issues would periodically arise. I sometimes performed legal (JAGMAN) investigations. I testified as a medical expert in juvenile court regarding a domestic violence injury and as a volunteer mock medical expert in JAG Corps training while I was stationed at Camp Lejeune.
What do you think civilians should know about those in the service?
The people who serve have a lot of dedication and commitment. The adventure aspect is certainly present. You do much more than practice medicine or law.
I think the most difficult part is losing control of certain aspects of your life. During both peacetime and wartime you can be sent on deployments on very sudden notice, sometimes to places where you would not otherwise contemplate going, during times you would not want to go, and possibly for long periods of time.
I missed my grandmother's funeral in 1985 while I was on a 10-day deployment providing medical coverage on a carrier. That relationship was not considered close enough to replace me. I think civilians don't realize the very close living quarters and the sometimes lengthy separations from families. During the Gulf War, as a senior officer aboard the USNS Comfort, I shared a room with six other female officers. Quite appropriately, our door was decorated with a picture of a shoe depicting a familiar nursery rhyme theme about cramped quarters ("There was an old woman who lived in a shoe ").
I met a lot of great people, lived in a lot of interesting places, and worked with many fine colleagues and friends.
Why did you select Stetson Law? Is the atmosphere supportive of military veterans?
I returned to Florida, upon retiring in 2007 in North Carolina, to my home in Jacksonville where I had been stationed for five years (1989-1994). I learned about Stetson from other students taking an LSAT prep course in Jacksonville.
What are your plans for after law school?
I plan to apply my medical background to legal practice.