A Paralegal Studies Major Discusses the Importance of Networking
By: Kelsey Niehauser
Phone: (513) 556-2846
Hannah Wissel, an undergraduate student of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, knows the importance of internships as a way for her to network and learn more about herself. As a Paralegal Studies major with a Psychology minor in her second year, Wissel has gained an impressive amount of work experience compared to her average peer. She also is incredibly bright and thanks to AP classes she took in high school, is set to graduate in her third year of college.
As a high school senior, along with taking her Advanced Placement classes, Wissel interned at the Hamilton County Republican Party for about five months, despite not knowing what she wanted to study in college. While interning she became very interested in local politics. Thanks to that experience she was able to discuss Paralegal Studies as potential major with the various attorneys and judges she met.
“I was not 100 percent sold on the idea of law school; however, I liked the idea of majoring in Paralegal Studies because if I decided not to attend law school, I still had practical skills I could use to find a job after graduation in the field of law,” Wissel said. “This type of job field requires a tremendous amount of research, critical thinking, and analyzing scenarios from multiple viewpoints. Additionally, the law is continually changing and adapting so it would never be the same. I also liked how many additional opportunities there are in the field. I’m not limited in one area of law or one type of law firm and size.”
In addition to the Hamilton County Republican Party internship she completed, she interned in both Congressman Steve Chabot’s District office and in Councilwoman Amy Murray’s office for about five months each. Wissel describes the experiences as fantastic learning opportunities.
“Each of the internships were very different so I was able to see the multiple levels of government and how the people are affected by the decisions,” Wissel described. “I really enjoyed meeting all the different elected officials and attending the fundraiser events. I was able to work heavily with the grassroots efforts with the internship at the Hamilton County Republican Party, but then work closely with the constituents during my internships with Congressman Chabot and Councilwoman Amy.”
Wissel’s work and interning experience not only deals with the political realm, but also covers the financial realm of law. She currently works at Fidelity Investments and was placed there by the nonprofit organization Education-at-Work. She has been working there for a little over a year now and said, “I have learned an incredible amount about 401k plans and retirement that I would have never learned if I was not in this position. There are so many opportunities for growth and networking that it will really help me in the future.”
Outside of school, Wissel is hardworking and effective at networking with various men and women already in the field of law, but she is also very present in the life of UC’s campus. She participates currently in CECH Student Ambassadors, CECH Student Mentor Program, and College Republicans. Being a member of those groups allows her to interact directly with new and prospective students and their parents to share her experiences as a student of CECH, guide and aid current students she is paired with in academics, and volunteer on state and local campaigns to network with people from various backgrounds. Wissel also volunteered this past semester with the enrollment management office of CECH to help write thank you notes to donors, send prospective students information about the college, and prepare folders for students visiting the college. She is extremely thankful for the various opportunities she has been given from working with those groups.
Out of all of her various experiences, Wissel says her favorite internship was in Councilwoman Amy Murray's office.
“I was able to work hands-on with constituents and motions that were presented for council,” she said. “It was really neat to see the government work on a local level. Plus, the team members in her office were always very supportive and encouraging.”
She enjoyed every one of her experiences and explains the importance of networking that CECH’s Paralegal Studies program has taught her.
“My internships and experiences are not always specific to my degree; however, there are so many people I meet to use as references or contacts to help me when searching for a full time position after graduation.”
There is no doubt Hannah Wissel will have plenty of open doors once she graduates from UC.