Berkeley Today Stories
Berkeley College Graduate Sets Her Sights on Environmental Law Following Commencement 2018
Samantha Chase is already a working professional, but that hasn’t stopped her from focusing on her future career. At age 27, she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies at the Berkeley College School of Professional Studies, and will apply to law schools later this year, with plans to make an impact in the environmental arena.
Throughout her life, Samantha was active in humanitarian causes, including spending time working with lowernine.org, a post-Katrina rebuilding effort in New Orleans. The Bronx resident graduated Magna Cum Laude when she received an Associate in Applied Science degree in Legal Studies from Berkeley College in 2015. Following graduation, she enrolled at different colleges to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, with mixed results.
“I found that I was in such a different place emotionally, and older than all the other students there,” she said. “I felt constrained by not being able to work.”
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In 2014, she was hired as a Leasing Agent with Milford Management, and the following year was promoted to Information Systems Analyst for the Human Resources Department of Emigrant Bank, an affiliate of Milford. She only thought about college again when she re-discovered Berkeley College across the street from her office.
“The flexible evening courses, the timing – everything about it was perfect for an adult professional who was looking for a companion in education rather than a traditionally constrained collegiate atmosphere,” Samantha said. “It was a place where I could succeed, and a place where I was able to finish the degree I was working toward.”
The decision to pursue law was natural – her father is an attorney.
“Attorneys have the ability to be in the room where decisions are made and legislation is written,” she said. “Now, more than ever, we need people who are willing to put everything into fighting for our collective freedom and future.”
Balancing her classes with a degree had not been easy – she did homework on her lunch break and studied for her LSATs during her commute – but she consistently made the President’s and Dean’s Lists. Her Berkeley College faculty members also recognized her potential.
“Samantha wants to help the community and those less fortunate,” said Moya Bansile, J.D., a Legal Studies professor at the Berkeley College School of Professional Studies. “I love her energy, sincerity, passion and honesty.”
“Samantha maintained an excellent grade-point average and received an impressive score on the LSATs, which will allow her to apply to top-tier law schools,” Ms. Greer said. “She exemplifies the academic excellence of the Legal Studies program at Berkeley College.”
With a history of activism, Samantha hopes her future career will be in environmental law, focusing on sustainability with nonprofits like the Sierra Club or Oceana.
“I hope to save the planet in my small way,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to change behavior – however I can do that will make me a success.”