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Michael Mercier | UAH


Meet Jack McBrearty, a double major in Political Science and Psychology from Dothan, Alabama! Jack interned with our very own UAH Counsel, a part of the University of Alabama System Office of Counsel, this summer. Keep reading to learn more about him and his internship!

  1. Where are you originally from and how did you find UAH?

I am originally from a small town in southern Alabama called Dothan. I’ve always known about the University of Alabama in Huntsville as my grandmother lived where the Charger Village Food Court is currently located. I vividly remember walking around campus on adventures to explore the area and feed the ducks at the pond. When I started my college search, I looked at UAH and even started an application, but ultimately decided that it was a little further away than I intended to go, so I decided to continue searching. About a week later I got a call from my admissions counselor encouraging me to finish my application. This was very different from the impressions I got from other universities because I felt like I was more than just a number. I finished up my application and a couple months later I was feeding the ducks at the pond again but this time as a student.

  1. What drew you to UAH as a Political Science & Psychology double major?

There are several reasons why I was drawn to UAH, but by far the biggest draw was the size of the campus and the location. I went to a small high school and I wanted to go to a small university as well. I felt like the transition would be easier and I would be able to work closer with the professors. Along with the size of campus, I also love Huntsville, as it’s an amazing city with so much to do and amazing opportunities. 

  1. Have you always wanted to pursue a degree in Political Science? How did you decide that?

Since I was little, I have been fascinated with laws and how they are created. As I grew up, I started to learn more and more about the legal system and my curiosity continued to grow. When it was time for me to pick a major, it was an easy decision. During my tour of UAH I was able to sit down and talk to the Chair of the Political Science Department and after that I was sold. 

  1. What are some opportunities the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences has given you in your time at UAH?

CAHS has offered me tons of opportunities throughout my time here. I have been able to sit down with professors from various departments and learn about what they study. Because of this openness in our college, I am also able to double major in Psychology which ties in well the study of Political Science.

  1. How did you acquire your internship with the Office of Counsel?

During my first year at UAH I had a class with Dr. Cling, the Associate Dean of our college. I was able to talk to him about my interests and ambitions for the future and along with gaining valuable advice, he also helped me reach out to the Legal Counsel to set up an internship over the summer.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit  more about the Office of Counsel?

The Legal Counsel at UAH is a part of the University of Alabama System, which is an organization that oversees not only UAH but also UAB and UA. They are tasked with providing legal assistance to the campus community. They are some of the nicest people I have interacted with on campus and are dedicated to helping the university be the best it can be.

  1. What kind of responsibilities did you have as an intern?

During my internship, I had a variety of different responsibilities. I was able to assist in research of different policies that are in place at other universities and compare them to policies that are in place at UAH.  I also reviewed federal regulations and other state regulations that were provided by the National Association of College and University Attorneys. 

  1. What lessons have you learned from your UAH Counsel internship this past summer?

I learned about a wide variety of different topics while I was in the office but by far the biggest lesson I learned was how much work goes on in the background of university functions. Almost everything has to do with the university goes through the Legal Counsel at some point or another.

  1. What advice would you give to a student who is hesitant to apply for an internship?

The purpose of an internship is to learn and gain real world experience in a field you are interested in. Since internships are a learning experience and you are not expected to know how to do everything so do not let fear of not knowing what to do dissuade you from applying. If you are interested in applying for an internship, go for it! The worst thing that could happen is that you are unable to get an internship at that particular time. If are unable to get an internship, do not get disheartened either, keep actively searching and applying and you will eventually find an internship that fits you.

  1. What was the highlight of your internship this summer?

Over the summer, along with interning with the Legal Counsel, I also served as an Orientation Leader. Throughout the summer, I only saw the day to day operations of orientation. While working in the Legal Counsel, I got the opportunity to see the background planning that goes into it. This gave me a different perspective of what I was doing every week and allowed me to appreciate the small part I had in the whole process.