There are those who say that with a J.D. from Temple Law, you have the world
at your feet. For Katie Armstrong, it’s proving to be truer than she – or anyone
– would have thought. During her time at Temple, the Minnesota native (and
University of Minnesota graduate) has relocated to Philadelphia, spent eight
weeks at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and
enjoyed six months at an independent semester abroad in Sydney, Australia. And
Armstrong hasn’t even graduated yet.
Armstrong, whose undergraduate degree is in Human Resources and Industrial
Relations, didn’t come to Temple Law to do a semester abroad – actually, she
says that she “didn't know that it was offered in law school [but] was excited
to learn that Temple had a robust study-abroad program.” She came to Temple on
the strength of the school’s Legal Research and Writing Program and its location
in a major East Coast city. Armstrong explains: “I had read about the Legal
Research and Writing Program prior to attending law school. It really prepares
students who have no legal experience in how to write like lawyers.”
In fact, Temple Law strongly encourages students to spend a summer – or even
a semester – studying in Tel Aviv, Ireland, the Netherlands, China, or Rome.
Students can also propose their own independent study abroad programs, depending
on their interests and the resources available in their host country. In the
course of pursuing a spot in the Netherlands program Armstrong talked to Dean
Louis Thompson, who runs the Office of Graduate and International Programs, and
he encouraged her to propose an independent semester abroad. After some careful
research and guidance from Dean Thompson, Armstrong made her pitch: a semester
in Sydney, Australia, studying at Macquarie University. Her proposal was
approved, and in July 2009 Armstrong headed off to study Alternative Dispute
Resolution and to learn about life and the law in the land down under.
Of course, that’s not to say that Armstrong was ever completely on her own,
even on the other side of the world: “Throughout my study abroad, Temple was
there to help out with any problems, such as transferring course credit or
making sure my financial aid was deposited and tuition was paid to the
university.” But she also had plenty of room to experience Australian life.
While there, Armstrong did everything from run in a race across the Sydney
Harbor Bridge to sit in on a session of Parliament. She talked to practicing
attorneys about the Australian legal system and learned to surf. She even found
time to pursue one of her hobbies from back home – salsa dancing.
Back in Philadelphia, Armstrong has been happily surprised by Temple for
other reasons, as well. One big reason is the integrated transactional program –
Temple Law’s “best kept secret,” according to her. “It was exactly what I wanted
– learning how to draft things like prenuptial contracts and wills, form
nonprofits, negotiate the sale of a business, and resolve ethical dilemmas,” she
Looking forward, Armstrong is pursuing career options along a couple of
fronts. Military law has remained a strong interest and the broad experience
offered by a job with JAG is appealing. On the other hand, Armstrong says she
might follow through on her newfound love of life down under and pursue practice
opportunities there. Whether she lands in Philadelphia, Australia, or somewhere
in between, Armstrong is confident that “Temple has prepared me well for
whatever I want to do.”
Temple has prepared me well to do whateverI want to do.