Meet Degree Girl Eliza.
My name is Eliza Briggs. I was born and raised in Iowa and attended Iowa State University (ISU) where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2011. While working on my degree, I maintained two jobs – one as an office administrative assistant at a mental health facility and the other as a tutor to student-athletes at the university. While it was hard to keep two jobs and make sure my grades were still on point, it was necessary because I needed money to get that degree and I needed that degree to live the lifestyle I have today.
After graduating from ISU, I began working at a large private law firm as a legal assistant. I quickly decided that I wanted more out of my career and started online classes to obtain my paralegal certification. Again, it was tough to work full-time and work on my classes in the evenings but I graduated with a Post Baccalaureate certification in Paralegal Studies in 2013. Not to mention that my cumulative GPA was 3.89. The grind was real, but my focus was even more real!
In 2014, I received a job offer with the Federal Public Defenders (FPD) to work as a paralegal for criminal defense attorneys. In less than two years after being hired, I took interest in and worked hard to become a federal criminal defense investigator. I remain in this role today and currently work for the FPD – District of Nevada. I am primarily stationed in Reno but maintain a small case load in Las Vegas as well.
At this point in my career, I realize that all the steps I took (while extremely difficult and draining at times) to get this far have been necessary. All the long hours studying, the monetary struggles I faced along the way, and the blood, sweat and tears shed to make it here has finally paid off.
I wouldn’t change anything about my story and I encourage other women to take the initiative to work on and challenge themselves to progress in life. Want more, do more, be more. You are in control of your destiny and it doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, stay focused, be proud of yourself and don’t give up!