Meet the Class of 2015
Kelly CookMansfield, Texas
1. Where did you grow up?
2. Where did you attend undergrad?
The University of Oklahoma
3. What degree(s) have you earned?
Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Letters
4. Why did you choose to attend OU Law?
To be honest, I looked absolutely everywhere else first. It wasn't that I didn't want to come to OU, but rather that I wanted to "spread my wings" a bit and maybe explore another school and another part of the country. I suppose a part of me was afraid that I'd go back to OU just because it was familiar. But after weeks and months of research, I kept coming back to OU, not because it was familiar, but rather for the same reasons I came here for my undergrad in the first place: it's an incredible school, with an unrivaled campus and facilities, in a great place, filled with the world's best people, and all at an unbeatable price.
5. What is your favorite thing about OU?
I fell in love with my school during undergrad, so it's hard to really narrow it down, but if I had to choose one thing it would be this: The people here (professors, administrators, and students alike) are dedicated to creating the very best opportunity for students to grow and evolve and succeed. Everything, including the faculty, the facilities afforded to them, the lifelong camaraderie of the alumni, the dedication of the career services... It's all there with that one singular purpose of building and supporting awesome people.
6. What (or who) inspired you to pursue a legal education?
It would take an hour of your time to go into detail about this, but in short, after more than a decade of exploring careers and learning about myself, I discovered what it is that I am seeking in a career: something in which I am passionately interested, inherently talented (or, perhaps, "to which I am predisposed" at least), and which affords the possibility of an enjoyable lifestyle. In law, I found all three.
The final bit of the puzzle comes from my studies of the classics and founding fathers as a letters major: I studied the great men that shaped our world as we know it today, and found the common thread of a Legal education in many of them. I make no claims of sharing the greatness of Cicero or Jefferson, but I hope that in some small way this will bring me closer to their level.
7. What is an interesting fact about you?
I've explored many careers, among them education. While teaching was in the end a futile pursuit, it did afford me an incredible opportunity one summer. I moved to Houston for three months to volunteer for an incredible non-profit organization dedicated to teaching financial skills to teenagers in high-risk, low-income areas. I was joined by a NASA Engineer, UN Rep, PhD students, a successful marketer, a Harvard student and a Big12 school valedictorian as co-instructors. You can imagine how small I felt as a virtually-unemployed substitute teacher as we all introduced ourselves; and yet, within a few weeks, I found myself leading the group in many ways -- studying and improving the curriculum, gaining neighborhood support, managing the various courses and eventually demonstrating the greatest improvement in my students' scores. I learned that even among these vaulted peers, I was no less capable of learning new things and tackling new challenges than they, and with an inquisitive attitude and dedication to our cause, I even excelled. When we were done, all of our students could file their own taxes without software, calculate the benefits of renting vs. owning, determine the risks and benefits of retirement investment options, create a balanced budget, research career paths -- all the things that middle-class parents tend to teach their children, but lower-class parents often fail to do.