Embarking on a career path as a young adult provides an adrenaline rush equivalent to a feeling of conquering every ambition a person retains through their initial stages of life; this is especially true when your childhood dreams become a reality. I knew from a young age that my passions would always reside with some form of animal care. To pursue this passion, I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences and entertained a series of animal husbandry occupations, including a big cat internship with a non-profit organization in Texas and an African lion conservation internship in Africa. It was in Africa where I discovered that not only did I have a passion for animal care, but an immense interest in conservation; the discovery of such an intense interest in conservation sparked the decision to direct myself toward a different career path within the legal field, with an objective to work with an organization dedicated to conservation.
When I decided to alter my career from animal husbandry and animal conservation to working within the legal field, I was excited to discover that Cuyahoga Community College offered an ABA approved Post-Degree Certificate program that would fit my current lifestyle and work schedule. This program offered a comprehensive, general legal education, as well as a practicum experience, both of which provided valuable knowledge and an essential skillset required to pursue a career as a paralegal. One memorable assignment within the program required students to obtain a basic understanding of a “conservation easement,” a legal document used to preserve land in perpetuity in order to protect its conservation values. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I would soon become extremely familiar with conservation easements, drafting numerous variations of conservation easements several times per month. Toward the end of my academic career as a student within the paralegal program, an opportunity presented itself to work as a conservation paralegal with Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of natural resources and the revitalization of local communities. Not only did this prospective career opportunity provide the ability to work within the legal field, it also enabled a continued career within a non-profit organization dedicated to the area of conservation. Cuyahoga Community College’s paralegal program provided the skillset necessary to pursue a newfound passion for the legal field, merging a scientific and legal educational background with a personal experience and interest in conservation, to achieve an ambitious goal to obtain a position as a paralegal for a non-profit organization dedicated to the field of conservation.
-Submitted by Candice Storey, Program Director, Paralegal Studies Program, Cuyahoga Community College