Student sets sights on courtroom

Jena West

College means plenty of time in study rooms and classrooms, but ask University of Houston-Victoria junior Jena West, and she’ll say it’s worth it.

After all, for her the work is simply a step toward making it to a different kind of room altogether: the courtroom.

The criminal justice major said she’s had a fascination with the legal world ever since she can remember, spending time with lawyers in her family and even sitting in on proceedings.

“I’ve always loved the whole process,” she said. “I like to take the time to look at both sides of an issue and really get a feel for the other person’s opinion. It makes a difference.”

Now she hopes to turn that into a career in corporate law, helping companies draw up contracts, work out issues and so on.

Studies might keep her busy in that regard, but West also finds other ways to spend her time.

She serves on the UHV Student Senate, assisting with volunteer projects and voicing her opinions about various campus issues. She also hopes to begin a new criminal justice honor society.

Away from those activities, she plays first base on the Jaguars softball team. A ball player since age 4, she feels right at home on the diamond.

“I’ve always loved the sport, and the team gets along well,” she said. “We have a lot of fun.”

The 20-year-old was born and raised in Missouri City, a Houston suburb, and graduated in 2009 from Elkins High School. She moved on to UHV to join the softball team and found the school to be a good fit.

“I’ve loved the school since I got here,” she said. “I liked the idea of going somewhere a little smaller. A big school might have been sort of overwhelming.”

Right now, she looks forward to working toward her bachelor’s degree and eventually moving on to graduate school.

Her advice to other students? Network.

Friends and connections make a difference, and it helps to know people around campus.

“You’ll have all kinds of connections during school with the people you meet and the classes you take,” West said. “Remember them. It can really help you get things done.”

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Allison Miles 361-570-4342