UG Alumni spotlight: Meghan Breen


What are you currently doing?
I am currently in my second year of law school at Georgetown University Law Center.What do you enjoy the most about your current studies?
My favorite part of going to law school in DC is the proximity to the Supreme Court. I can walk to the courthouse to see my professors argue cases in the morning and attend classes after lunch!

How did the Department of Applied Linguistics/ESL prepare you for this?
A lot of the current legal issues revolve around statutory and constitutional interpretation. Courts and lawyers look to the text of the law and often wrestle with ambiguous language. Some judges prefer to interpret a text in light of how the original drafters or ratifiers of the Constitution (or of the particular statute) would have understood the terms, while other judges prefer to interpret the text in light of contemporary understandings. And you may be surprised to know just how many contract disputes involve pesky commas. Having a background in linguistics and analyzing grammar gives me a significant leg up.
What advice would you give current UG students based on your experiences?
Be patient and be yourself. It took me a long time after graduation to find my path. I realized I did not want to teach language, but I did not know what else to do with my passion for language and a degree in linguistics. I took a job translating at a law firm and learned that there were indeed other options for me  that did not involve leaving linguistics behind. Now I have the best of both worlds, but it did not happen overnight. Take time to explore other options and find out how to combine the things you love.