Paige Melton (Class of 2015)

  • photo of Paige Meltonsenior Pre-Law student with Public Administration major
  • minor in Management
  • from Cincinnati, OH
  • Secretary for the Pre-Law Society Amicus Curiae
I've been very lucky with my professors at Miami. The political science department is fantastic. My advisor there, Phil Russo, has been very helpful and is a great teacher. Maria Vitullo, the Pre-Law director, is amazing also. She helped guide me through my law school application, and she's been a wonderful asset to my experience.


Why Miami?

"I'm from Cincinnati, and I wanted a college that was away from home, but close enough that I could come home whenever I need to. I was looking at a few schools in Ohio, but Miami's beautiful, mid-sized campus was a big selling point. I knew I'd make a better place for myself here rather than at a bigger campus. At Miami I felt I'd have opportunities to do and be exposed to more things, instead of being lost in a sea of people.

"Miami's campus is beautiful and accessible, so I felt I could get everywhere I need to go pretty quickly. I spent my summer here last year, and I love Oxford. It's quiet and peaceful, and the locals are great to get to know. I feel very lucky with my experience here."

Best Miami Experiences

"My first year here was my favorite. I lived in the Pre-Law Living Learning Community (LLC) in Stanton Hall. At that point I wasn't sure if I wanted to go into law but was leaning more towards my major of Public Administration. My plan was to go straight into working for the government or a municipality, but I thought that maybe law school would be helpful if I wanted to work in the government. Being exposed to it in the LLC made me want to go to law school even more, so it's my first priority now.

"The girls around me in Stanton were all pre-law, so we all joined the same organizations. Many of them were very competitive, great students. I picked up some habits from them that helped me pursue my schoolwork even more. It made a huge difference living with people that were on a similar track as I was, and I've met my greatest friends there. It was a great experience!

"I've been very lucky with my professors at Miami. The political science department is fantastic. My advisor there, Phil Russo, has been very helpful and is a great teacher. Maria Vitullo, the Pre-Law director, is amazing also. She helped guide me through my law school application, and she's been a wonderful asset to my experience.

"For my Public Administration major, I love doing case studies analyzing a problem in a government, town, or organization, and you have to use limited resources to best handle the situation. I don't have a lot of real-world experience yet, but hearing these stories and doing these case studies have been really eye-opening. Everything my professors say is gold!"

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"As a senior, I've come to realize there's a real advantage to the liberal arts. The Miami Plan requirements are very interesting and unusual. In the spring semester of my junior year, I took a women's, gender, and sexuality studies class to fulfill a social science requirement. I loved it so much that I was tempted to try adding a minor in it!

"I'm really glad I've been exposed to so many different classes, including gerontology and other sciences. You go in not expecting to use these skills, but then you realize that you can apply them to aspects of your major. For instance, in my public administration classes we might be talking about the roles of women, and I gain insight into that issue from what I've learned in women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Taking a wide variety of classes across the liberal arts and beyond helps you approach a situation with different perspectives."

Experience with the Pre-Law Society, Amicus Curiae

"I am the Secretary for Amicus Curiae, the student-run Pre-Law Society, and have been on the executive board for over two years now. I got involved my freshman year due to my experience living in the Pre-Law LLC, and it's been great and fulfilling.

enlarged photo of Paige Melton and other members of Amicus Curiae"Working on the Amicus Curiae executive board has helped me see a number of my decisions come to fruition. We bring in various speakers, such as lawyers, admissions staff, and LSAT prep representatives, to expose students to what applying to law school and a career in law school are like. We also plan law school visits, and last spring we traveled to Washington, DC to tour several schools and meet with admissions representatives.

"Seeing that and working and sitting through the meetings never felt like work, since the experience has been so helpful and inspirational. It's all solidified my goals to be a lawyer. Amicus Curiae has helped me figure out my goals and then strategize how to achieve them. My Miami experience wouldn't have been the same without my involvement in this organization.

"Although I love the field of public administration, the legal field is often perceived to be so much different. However, the combined effort of my public administration classes, my work with the Amicus Curiae, and my internship working with a law firm in Oxford has helped me to bridge the gap between law and public administration. In my internship, I've been able to observe the attorneys take great community initiative, the way I had always pictured utilizing my degree. For example, one of them is a founding member of the Oxford Community Foundation, which has done a lot of great work to improve and boost the Oxford area.

"This demonstrates to me that even if you don't explicitly work for the government, you can do really good things with law skills, like making a difference in non-profits, communities, and political organizations."

Advice to Students

"It's always a good idea to give new things a shot. Immersing yourself in the College of Arts and Science and taking advantage of the Miami Plan will really expose you to a variety of different ideas and concepts you've probably never considered before. If you're not sure about what to choose for your major, take a wide variety of classes to discover something new—it may even make you decide to change your major to something that you really enjoy.

"In my case, I'd always thought public administration was interesting, and so I took as many classes as I could right off the bat just to make sure. I certainly didn't want to realize during my junior year that I didn't like it and rush to change my major! A variety of subjects that interest you will help you discover what's best for you. Miami gives you so many opportunities to do what you love. You just need to take the risk."

[August 2014]