Heather Smilde

United States Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) Office

2012 | Colorado Springs, CO

Calvin College | Business and Political Science

“My legal education broadened my understanding of human behavior in its multiple dimensions.”

According to Heather Smilde, the most important asset of a successful lawyer is the ability to empathize and understand the feelings and thoughts of others. “My legal education broadened my understanding of human behavior in its multiple dimensions,” she said. “By participating in the Student Bar Association, Moot Court, Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute (TPI), and classroom dialogue, I enhanced my skills in these areas.”

The most rewarding aspect about her future career in the Air Force is the chance she has to serve her country. “I hope that, through my work as a JAG Officer, I will be able to be a role model for future women in leadership positions in the military,” she said. “My best advice to anyone who is thinking about a career in law is that service to others is the highest calling. Law school facilitates one’s ability to serve the needs of others.”

Beginning with Heather’s teenage years, she worked and volunteered around the world in developing countries. “I have been able to travel to 25 other countries and learn about their cultures and way of life,” she said. “My commitment to serve others led me to my decision to attend law school. By having the opportunity to travel around the world and meet people in need, ranging from work in an AIDS orphanage in South Africa to rebuilding homes in India damaged by the Tsunami, I came to recognize the importance of service, and today I hope to continue such dedication by serving my country.”