Stephanie A. Broad
|Name: Stephanie A. Broad
Year Graduated: 2010
Service Branch: Army
Military Rank: Specialist E-4
101st Airborne Division, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky; 1st Armored Division, Wiesbaden, Germany
How did military service prepare you for the study of law or for life in general?
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this question is discipline. Most people equate discipline, in the context of the military, with following orders and often getting yelled at. In a way, that type of discipline did carry over into college and law school: my professors tell me what to do in order to be successful, and I do what I'm told. But there is also a more subtle type of discipline, a personal discipline that I believe developed out of the great weight of responsibility that was placed upon me as a soldier. It expresses itself in the little things: being on time, carrying my own weight and doing my part, giving 110 percent of myself to everything I do, not giving up in the face of adversity and persevering no matter how tired. In the civilian world, these things can be the difference between success and failure. In the military, it often meant the difference between life and death, for you or your comrades. Even though I myself was never in combat, that mindset was instilled in me from day one. That discipline, although translated into achieving success in law school and in life, has yet to leave me.
Were there particular military service experiences that heightened your interest in the law?
I can't think of anything in particular. I was led to law school through my undergraduate education in environmental studies and my desire to take part in the regulatory aspect of environmental protection.
What do you think civilians should know about those in the service?
I sometimes hear soldiers being criticized by people who live or vacation near military bases or have service members in their family. I tend to get defensive when I hear that soldiers are rowdy, or inappropriate, or immature, or that they indulge excessively in certain behaviors. I always want to say "give them a break, you have no idea what their life is like, let them have a good time." Civilians don't always understand the stress and the weight of responsibility that soldiers carry. They don't often realize that from the moment you put on your uniform at basic training until well after you get out, you are no longer a civilian. Soldiers no longer have an identity apart from all of their comrades. This is especially true for enlisted members who are young and have not been to college. The slogan, an "Army of One," is a pretty accurate representation.
If service members are lucky they can take classes at a local university, but for many, the military is your family and your life, and the civilian world goes on without you. You are constantly either preparing for or fighting in a war, the possibility of death is very real and if you have been to war you have very possibly lost your closest brothers or sisters. Your personal growth is also quite different from that of civilians. Soldiers don't have some of the same worries; they always have a paycheck and a roof over their heads, and they never have to worry about their next meal. It's a completely different existence, and I just ask civilians not to judge soldiers when they meet them on the street and don't completely understand why they seem "different."
Why did you select Stetson Law? Is the atmosphere supportive of military veterans?
I selected Stetson University College of Law because of its location, the friendliness of the administration, and its reputation in the state of Florida. There are many veterans at Stetson and we have all, for the most part, found one another. I believe Stetson is becoming more supportive of veterans. I was happy to see Stetson become involved more in helping veterans with the start of the new Veterans Advocacy Clinic.
What are your plans for after law school?
At this time, I have no firm plans for after law school. However, I remain very interested in environmental law and would like to re-enter government service, either at the federal or state level. I am also interested in pursuing a career in criminal law as a state or federal prosecutor.