Life After Justice
The Student Judicial Board (SJB) serves the student body of Georgia State University, where students are provided an opportunity to be heard by their peers. The board selects a diverse group of students who want to make a change on campus by educating the community on the policies and effectively hearing cases involving allegations of Student Code of Conduct violations. Many justices use the skills they learned from being on the Student Judicial Board to enhance their opportunities and life experiences. Below are former members of the Student Judicial Board, as well as the outgoing chief justice, sharing their experiences on the board and how those experiences helped shape their lives after being a justice.
Hannah Basta, Class of 2016 B.A. in History
As the outgoing chief justice of the Student Judicial Board, I reflect on my time at the board with pride and joy. The board has been an integral part of my time at Georgia State University. It is a place where I have interacted with the administrative aspect at Georgia State, built important skills I know I will need in future careers and formed friendships I expect to carry for many years to come. As my time on the board nears its close, I look to our graduates to see the kind of success fostered by being a member of the Student Judicial Board.
For three years the Student Judicial Board at Georgia State was a major part of my daily schedule. I say that not only regarding the tangible aspect but also in reference to the skills I learned while on the board that were transferrable in different aspects of my student life. From the thorough attention to detail cultivated from reading and sifting through evidence packets and parsing policies to the new found ability to thoroughly remain unbiased regardless of the issue. These same skills I soon learned were also vital skills needed in the real world. I soon learned that life after being a justice wasn’t too far off from life as a justice.
~ Hannah Basta (recently accepted to University of Virginia School of Law)
Haddy Sohna, Class of 2015 B.A. in Sociology
As a former justice and chief justice of the Student Judicial Board, I obtained many transferrable skills. After commencement, I decided to take some time off from school and work full time. I currently work as a front desk and concierge receptionist at the Westin Buckhead Atlanta for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Corporation and will be transitioning to a new position with Emory University. As stated before, the useful training and skills obtained from being a justice has been instrumental to the success I’ve had in my current role, and I know I will be able to use these skills in each phase of my life. I’m in the process of applying for graduate schools where my focus will be on public health. I will use skills obtained while on the board such as leadership, critical thinking and objectivity, to make a positive change in the health field.
~ Haddy Sohna
Shaïna Salmon, Class of 2012 B.S. in International Economics
Well I can certainly say that SJB definitely solidified my resolve to go to law school [third year law student at William and Mary Law School]. I learned how to deal with confidential and sensitive issues and approach these issues with critical thinking. It was one of my most treasured experiences of my collegiate career!
~ Shaïna Salmon
Chinelo Udokoro, Class of 2014 B.S. in Criminal Justice
Life after being on the Student Judicial Board has been a nonstop roller coaster to say the least. Being on the board helped to not only reconfirm my legal career goals but also to polish my perception of the term non-biased. This helped me to evaluate cases with an objective mind frame through our guidelines and the support of one another and our advisor. I have carried this frame of thought to law school [University of Notre Dame Law School], and it has yet to fail me. I would say that life after SJB has been very productive and centered in legal world.
Although our lives after being a justice are different, we all share the common theme of success which has a lot to do with our time on the Student Judicial Board. The board continues the legacy of breeding and cultivating great leaders of the future allowing life after justice to be a rewarding one.
~ Chinelo Udokoro
Pamela Hardnett, Class of 2009, B.S. in Criminal Justice
As a former member of the Student Judicial Board, I can emphatically say life after is good. A month before graduation, I was offered a position in the Dean of Students office managing and maintaining the student conduct database, and this offer was a direct link to me serving on the Student Judicial Board. The skills I honed while serving on the board helped prepare me for the position that I still have today. I still maintain contact with some of the justices that served with me. Being on the Board and serving as the liaison to SGA [Student Government Association] opened up a different career path for me. I never looked at higher education while pursuing a degree in criminal justice. I enjoy working at Georgia State University and in Student Affairs. I am now pursuing a master’s degree in higher education with a concentration in student success.
~ Pamela Hardnett
Edward Nguyen, Class of 2015, B.S. in Biology
As a biology major with aspirations of a career in medicine, I joined the SJB with excitement over becoming involved in something different than what most pre-health majors were involved in but with skepticism regarding how my experience on the board could translate into success in the medical field. It wasn’t long before I was stunned to find out that the skills and responsibilities of a justice were almost exactly identical to those needed by health professionals and students majoring in the sciences. The ability to critically examine evidence and separate relevant and irrelevant aspects of evidence and policies was no different than what a medical professional does when presented with a myriad of symptoms and test results. More importantly the ability to listen with an empathetic and meticulous ear to testimonies during a hearing, to think critically about the new information and then asking the right questions are fundamental skills not only in science and medicine but in any career field.
My experience on the board not only played a critical role in my professional development but more importantly my personal development. Being a justice on the Board presented me the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals in the Georgia State community including fellow students, faculty and staff and was a responsibility that I took seriously. After a number of cases in which very difficult, heart-wrenching decisions (and admittedly some mistakes on my part) were made, I slowly but surely came to realize that, regardless of my personal feelings and opinions, it was of utmost importance for me to remain objective and do what was in the best long-term interest and personal development of my fellow students. I learned that in order to help others grow in character and become functioning members of the university community, I had to overcome my fear of what I felt may hurt them in the short-term.
Now that I look back on it all, I can honestly say without a doubt that my time on the board was the most influential life experience that further strengthened my resolve to pursue a career in medicine. As I look forward to applying to medical school this year and in the meantime continue my pursuits of volunteering and becoming an EMT, I know that the invaluable skills and life lessons that I gained from my time on the board will lay the foundation of success for me in my career and beyond.
~ Edward Nguyen
Learn more about the Student Judicial Board and and how to get involved.