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Veteran. Humanitarian. Justice-Seeker.

Sep 16, 2015

Anne Mulhern

Third-year law student

Newton, N.J.

Veteran. Humanitarian. Justice-Seeker.


A self-described “bleeding heart,” Anne Mulhern is driven by a desire to serve. She’s visited children in orphanages, built homes for Habitat for Humanity, tutored disadvantaged children, and been a hospice volunteer – and that’s just in her spare time. “I’m no Mother Teresa,” she jokes. “But I do try to make a difference wherever I go.”

Mulhern joined the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) after high school because of its humanitarian mission and because of her interest in marine protection. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and chemistry at the U.S Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut and then served five years of active duty.

Intelligent, driven, and hardworking, Mulhern was a good fit in a military branch with the motto “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready). She eagerly took on any new challenge thrown her way. “The USCG is smaller than the NYPD, so there are a lot of jobs and not that many people to take them on,” she says.

For two years, Mulhern was stationed on the USCG Cutter RUSH, which was based in Honolulu, Hawaii, but made trips to Alaska during Dungeness crab season. She worked with international governments and the state of Alaska to enforce fishing laws and perform watercraft safety inspections.

She then transitioned to the USCG Recruiting Command in Arlington, Va., where she received the Coast Guard Achievement Medal and the Coast Guard Commendation Medal for her outstanding work in recruiting officers and revamping a Junior Leadership Program.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened in 2010, Mulhern volunteered for a month of 12-hour shifts to produce a daily 90-page report for Janet Napolitano, the director of Homeland Security at the time. Napolitano used this report in her daily briefings with President Barack Obama. “It was a pretty intense assignment,” Mulhern recalls.

After five years of service, Mulhern decided to take a different path. A career in law had always been in the back of her mind because her father and grandfather are both attorneys. She applied to the Pettit College of Law because it is the only law school in the country to offer a concurrent JD/LLM program focused on rule of law, human rights, and economic development. And, ONU offers excellent benefits and support to military veterans.

When she graduates, Mulhern wants to promote justice in other countries. She embraces diversity, having traveled to 34 different countries in her lifetime. While in the Coast Guard, she used her leave time to visit places like Panama, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and Cambodia to sightsee and volunteer.

Summer 2014, Mulhern interned with Tetra Tech DPK, one of the largest contractors for grants through USAID, in Macedonia. She received this opportunity after applying and being accepted into their competitive Global Law and Development Fellowship Program. “The close relationships I have with professors and staff at ONU have allowed me to push myself academically and professionally,” she says.

Macedonia, which is located in the Balkans, was one country Mulhern had not yet explored. She enjoyed spending three months learning about the country’s culture and judicial system. “My unique background has taught me to be open-minded and to not go into situations thinking I have all the answers,” she says. “My strategy was to sit back and listen and learn.”