Article coordinated by Victoria Graf '15
"I come from a family of soldiers. I joined the United States Air Force and left for basic training two weeks after graduating high school. I deployed multiple times to both South America and the Middle East, and served my country in multiple roles, including security forces, crew chief, and a maintenance operations controller. After six years of active duty, while finishing my bachelor's degree in criminal justice and becoming a Staff Sergeant, I decided to step away from the uniform and come back home."
"Many of my online undergraduate professors were attorneys, and they encouraged me to consider law school. Not wanting to jump without any knowledge, I worked for a small firm as a Paralegal. I enjoyed the experience enough to take the LSAT and apply to Albany Law School. I came to the field of law because I believe it impacts people. Be it criminal, matrimonial, elder, and especially military law, everyone is eventually directly impacted. And serving those people, just like I served my country and my community, is what drives me always onward."
Josh Bennett '14
"Prior to coming to the Albany Law School, I was an Airborne Infantry Squad Leader, in a reconnaissance platoon. I served in the 2/503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. As a squad leader, I was responsible for the lives, welfare & training of nine subordinate soldiers, as well as for small unit leadership during offensive and defensive operations."
"My service overseas includes three combats tours in Afghanistan, where I was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Some key achievements include: Awarded Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, in recognition of events surrounding the evacuation of wounded teammates from the kill zone of an ambush after our Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb. Additionally, I was awarded the Military Order of the Purple Heart, by the president of the United States, for wounds received while in direct contact with the enemy in a separate action. Finally, I participated in organic nation building by engaging local tribal leadership in order to facilitate the landmark Afghani Democratic elections."
"I decided to come to law school to pursue my continuing commitment to serve our community, and a lifelong ambition to practice law."
Ian Hunter '16
"While I was in the military, I organized and coordinated efforts to promote U.S. Government international policies and programs through coordination with District Stability Teams. To carry out this mission, I arranged for and held conferences, or “shuras,” with local Afghan leaders to discuss and devise solutions to issues impacting the region. Additionally, I identified and coordinated programs designed to improve the interaction between leaders of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and local citizens in order to decrease mistrust and resolve issues that had led to instability. Finally, I built relations with Afghan Security Force personnel to enhance information sharing, and coordinated with U.S. governmental agencies such as the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Agency for International Development. I advised these agencies on conditions in the area, and assisted DOS in policy formulation and guidance."
"I joined Albany Law because of its reputation for international law. I felt that gaining an education in that field would allow me to better understand ways to help solve the problems I saw overseas."
Aristeas Tzovaras '16
"I joined the Army Reserves in high school in 2003. I was mobilized to Mannheim, Germany, for a year and a half while I was at St. Lawrence University, and then was mobilized again to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, for nine months. After I graduated from St. Lawrence, I found out about an opportunity to go to Afghanistan and volunteered to go there for a year."
"About half way through my tour I started thinking about what I was going to do when I got back, and it was at that point I decided to go to law school. After returning to Albany and taking the LSAT, I decided to attend Albany Law School because I wanted to continue working for the government. I felt Albany gave me a great opportunity to be exposed to the state capital. I am currently still in the Army Reserves, and attend drill once a month down in Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey."
Joe Montanye '15
Law School student Aristeas Tzovaras was awarded the Purple Heart at
the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Aug. 10, 2014, for his
service in Afghanistan.
Tzovaras organized and coordinated efforts to promote U.S. international policies and programs by arranging “shuras” —conferences
— with local Afghan leaders to discuss and resolve issues impacting the
region. He also identified and coordinated programs to improve the
interaction between government leaders and local citizens to decrease
mistrust and resolve issues that had led to instability. He built
relations with Afghan Security Force personnel to enhance information
sharing, and advised U.S. governmental agencies such as the Department
of State and U.S. Agency for International Development on conditions in
His Purple Heart was awarded for his work in July 2012 when he was thrown from an IED (improvised explosive device)explosion while clearing an area. The Capital Region resident plans to graduate Albany Law in 2017.
"In 2011, after my first year at Albany Law School, I left school to deploy with the New York Army National Guard in Afghanistan. As an infantry unit, we fought against the Taliban in Western Afghanistan who were seeking to overthrow the Afghan government and disrupt NATO operations."
"While I did appreciate the break from the law library, when I returned home in late 2012 I was ready to resume my studies at Albany Law. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to serve my country abroad and now more than ever I recognize the importance of choosing a career path in law that will allow me to help build a better country here at home, where it matters most."
Alexander Madeo '14