As a senior administrative coordinator for the Department of Judicial Affairs at Loyola Marymount University, Angela O'Malley assists in the adjudication process for violations of the Student Conduct Code. It is challenging work that can include interacting with attorneys and helping students grow into more responsible, mindful individuals.

Seeking to improve and expand the skills she needs in her role, O'Malley entered Loyola Law School's Master of Science in Legal Studies program this fall.

"A more comprehensive understanding of criminal law and its procedures — and learning to communicate, think, read, write and analyze like a lawyer — will greatly benefit the work I do in Judicial Affairs," O'Malley says.

Previously, O'Malley worked as a legal secretary, where she gained exposure to a wide range of areas of law, including wills and trusts, domestic partnerships, estate planning, mediation, risk management and civil litigation. But it was criminal law that resonated with her.

"I felt that I was able to give back to my community by serving as an aid in cases that promoted justice," she says. "I will never forget one case in which I assisted in a manslaughter trial. Our client was potentially facing years in prison [though] the act was in self-defense. Ultimately, he was found not guilty. I was thrilled that I had contributed and justice had been served."

The MLS program allows working professionals to design their own curriculum and choose a specialization — not surprisingly O'Malley has chosen Criminal Justice.

"I felt this program was the perfect route to pursue my career goals. I was ready to challenge myself, and I am so excited to be engaging with others in an intellectual space who share the same passion."

O'Malley acknowledges that returning to a "student mindset" has been an adjustment, but adds that her work colleagues have been very supportive.

"It definitely requires time management, determination, patience and taking care of yourself in all areas of your life," O'Malley says. "Weekends are for studying! But you also have to remember the basics: sleep, eat well, exercise, do things that make you happy, and surround yourself with positive people."

O'Malley says one of her favorite things about Loyola is the diversity on campus and within the classroom.

"My Legal Methods class is made up of students from various ages, backgrounds and professional experiences. It is great to meet people from so many different walks of life who are all there for the same reason. I know that these smart, wonderful people will not only be my classmates, but friends for life and possibly future colleagues."

Looking ahead, O'Malley hopes to take on more responsibilities in Judicial Affairs.

"My goal is to utilize my legal knowledge in the adjudication process and help students be the best version of themselves — to learn from their mistakes and transform their college experience. The MLS program will enable me to grow and move upward as an individual as well."