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Legal Scholars Program helps psychology major discover new path to help others

Justin Shindo ’20 was pursuing his passion for psychology when he found another passion during his freshman year at University of the Pacific.

Justin Shindo ’20 was pursuing his passion for psychology when he found another passion during his freshman year at University of the Pacific.

“I have never doubted my decision to come to Pacific,” said Shindo. “The tight-knit community, easy access to professors and the general student body at this university make it a loving and compassionate place for knowledge to be fostered unencumbered. I was fortunate enough to have great professors, colleagues and friends here at Pacific who have helped drive my success. To them, I will always be grateful.”

Originally set on studying psychology alone, he found an interest in law through the Pacific Legal Scholars Program. Designed to expose students to the legal field and prepare them for the rigors of law school, the program helped Shindo realize that not all lawyers argue cases during trials and that he could be very flexible in the type of work he ended up doing. He said his interest in psychology and law intersect well with the growing awareness of mental health issues in the criminal justice system.

“Applied knowledge from my major will help me in the long term as this field of issues continues to expand,” Shindo said. 

He was involved on and off campus while at Pacific. He was the founder and treasurer of Nikkei Student Union and Hawaii Club, the treasurer for Psychology Club, the president and founding member for the Psi Chi chapter of the International Honors Fraternity for Psychology, the vice president of a fraternity and an ASuop senator. He also interned for more than a year at the San Joaquin County Public Defender’s Office.

The next stop for Shindo is law school. Pacific’s Career Services helped him with his law school applications by working with him to improve his personal statement and resume to showcase his abilities. He also had support from his professors who wrote letters of recommendation for him. All his effort paid off. He was accepted at several law schools and will attend the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in fall 2020.