Student finds her dream career through Blinn College’s Paralegal Program

Janet Divin will represent Blinn-Bryan campus as 2016 commencement speaker

Janet Divin

May 10, 2016

Janet Divin’s young daughter recently took the stage during an elementary school choir performance to sing. Originally scheduled to perform as part of a trio, her partners didn’t show. Undeterred, she sang alone, beautifully and courageously.

“I had no idea she was going to perform on her own,” Divin said. “She got off the stage and said, ‘Mom, if you can do it, I knew I could do it.’”

Divin, selected to represent the Blinn College-Bryan campus Spring 2016 graduating class, will stand before more than 450 graduates and their families on May 13 to describe how just two years at Blinn is paying a lifetime of dividends for her family.

A 37-year old mother of five, Divin began working in a professional photography studio at age 15. At 22, she gave up her college career to purchase the studio and run a photography business full-time. After marrying her husband Todd, she became a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling their five children. After enrolling the children in public school, Divin decided it was time for her pick up where she left off.

She enrolled in Blinn’s Paralegal Program, which prepares students for exciting careers in law with an Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree or a Legal Office Certificate. Paralegals, or legal assistants, serve as attorney’s top assistants in the delivery of legal services, performing duties like attending trials, assisting in testimony preparation, locating and interviewing witnesses and conducting research. Paralegal courses, available online or in the classroom, are taught by a faculty comprised entirely of lawyers and judges, all doctorate degree-holders.

“It had been so long since I’d gone to school, I thought it would be horribly stressful,” Divin said. “But it’s like a film has been peeled off, and everything is clear now. These past two years have finished shaping who I am outside of being a mom. It’s brought a happiness I didn’t expect.”

In June, Divin landed a position at Daniel Stark Law P.C. in Bryan, as part of an internship. Although she won’t receive her AAS degree until May 13, Divin has already been promoted to pre-litigation case manager and foresees a long, thriving career at the firm.

“The work environment is amazing,” Divin said. “I love helping people and that’s what I get to do every day. Most of my clients are in a hard spot, but I get to help them get the treatment they deserve by walking with them through the whole process. Blinn is the reason I am able to live my passion.”

Divin had reservations about starting the program as a non-traditional student, but she quickly felt at home within the small network of students and caring instructors. During her first year, she was elected president of the Legal Assistant Student Organization (LASO), the official student club of the Paralegal Program.

“I never knew that I would fall in love with the program and the people I work with and the work that I do,” she said.

Nominated to speak at commencement by Robert Stanberry, Paralegal Program director, Divin said she is “floored” she was selected for the task.

“I felt like I’m too old—no one wants to hear from me,” she said, laughing. “I’m nervous, but I’m excited to do this not only for Blinn, but for my kids—to give them the confidence I now have.”

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