Stephanie Swiger, JD ‘11, developed an affinity for the higher education environment when she was an undergraduate. “I secretly hoped that I would somehow find a way to marry my law degree with my love for colleges and universities,” she says.
With focused effort, she did find a way. As the assistant general counsel for The Ohio State University, Swiger is living her dream. “Faculty and staff on college campuses want to create a safe and impactful educational experience for students, and I love helping them in their quest,” she says.
At OSU, Swiger oversees a broad portfolio ranging from student affairs to public safety. She draws energy from her work’s fast pace and variety. “Ohio State University is almost like a small city,” she says. “You must truly be a jack-of-all-trades, but every day is exciting and I learn something new.”
Swiger wasn’t always sure of where she’d end up, however. After graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in political science, she came to ONU Law, the first in her family to seek a professional degree, and was unsure of what type of law she would practice someday. She believes most law students don’t have a clear direction while in school, but find their path once they begin to practice. “This is one of those careers where you discover your talent by doing it,” she explains.
ONU Law helped Swiger clarify her goals by providing mentors and hands-on experiences. In particular, she forged affirming relationships with professors and classmates that she still draws upon today. “We’ve helped each other find jobs, answer legal questions, and face the highs and lows of life together,” she says, “but most importantly, we’ve always supported each other.”
After graduation, Swiger worked as an associate director of enforcement for the NCAA and then an associate assistant attorney general in the education section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Each position brought her closer to the coveted role she holds today at Ohio’s largest university.
Swiger often advises first-year law students to take a deep breath and focus on developing an analytical mindset, and the rest will fall into place. “You don’t have to have your future planned out during your first year of law school. The legal field offers abundant specialties, and you’ll find your way. You can do it, and it’ll be worth it.”