Joseph Gergel, a junior at Eastern New Mexico University, wants to work for a law firm after graduating from law school, then pursue a career with the FBI or work toward becoming a Federal Judge.
"No matter what career I pursue, I want to ultimately uphold and stand for the United States Constitution and represent the country's values in the best possible way that I can," says Joseph.
He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in criminal justice and legal studies. He chose his field of study to prepare for law school and because it "encapsulates" his passions: The Constitution, U.S. law and history.
"I have no doubt that [my time at] ENMU and my political science professors will coach me for law school," said Joseph, who loves the willingness of the professors and administrators to mentor those who want to succeed.
"They will do all that they can to make sure the students are heard and prosper. From the moment I stepped foot on the ENMU campus, I have not had a bad experience. Every part of ENMU is dedicated to the success of the students; the school's administration and faculty have proven that time and time again."
He feels that his pre-law professors have not only mentored him in the field of law but also opened him up to opportunities. "Dr. Steven Brust and Dr. Frederick Greene have prepared me for law school not only academically, but also in preparing me for the LSAT," he shared.
He also credits Chief Brad Mauldin for having the "most profound impact on my leadership, accountability, mentorship and success within my time here at ENMU."
Eastern's small, tight-knit community influenced the junior's decision to study here. "I was originally planning to attend New Mexico Tech on a full-ride scholarship and pursue engineering- all I had to do was move into the dorms," Joseph explained. "But, at the last minute, I decided to pursue what I was truly passionate about: law and U.S. history. Thus, I decided to attend ENMU because I loved the small campus."
With a cumulative GPA of 3.96, the lawyer-to-be has been on the Dean's List every semester. He is also a recipient of the Navin Sinha Memorial Scholarship and the Political Science Merit Scholarship.
His favorite class has been "Constitutional Law," since it "ties directly into what I am most passionate about: the Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution. We go over dozens of Supreme Court cases, discuss them and analyze the different types of constitutional interpretation methods applied and present in those cases".
Joseph shared that the Golden Student Success Center (GSSC) is his favorite place to study. "I have already spent countless hours studying and reading for my classes at the GSSC. I also love the artwork around the building."
An avid reader of the Supreme Court opinions and various political posts, Joseph participates actively in the ENMU Student Government Association, which he joined in spring 2017. The vice-president of the ENMU Pre-Law Club serves as the student coordinator for Student Concerns, Lobbying and the Student Fees Board. He has also served in various capacities such as attorney general, the student coordinator of Eastern in Action in spring 2018 and as a member of multiple University committees, including University Council, the GSSC Art Committee, Budget and Planning Analysis Committee and the Scholarship Review Board.
"I was accepted as the single student to represent ENMU at the September 2018 Domenici Public Policy Conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I served as one of about 25 student panelists," said Joseph, who worked in the ENMU President's Office from fall 2016 to summer 2018.
Joseph advises students interested in his field of study to be "passionate about it, for that will make everything so much easier." He added that "being involved in organizations (either Greek Life, clubs or Student Government, or all three) will substantially improve your speaking, time management and leadership skills, and other countless skills that no amount of class time can compare.
His final piece of advice is to "always prioritize academics above everything- that is why we are here at ENMU. Especially if you are aspiring to attend law school, grades are of utmost importance."
When not involved with the extracurricular activities, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity member loves spending time with his family. He was born and raised in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and has a sister, Rachel, who is a senior at ENMU following the pre-med path.