Name: Shawna Dahl
Title: Courtroom Deputy
Court: California Southern Bankruptcy Court
MSU Program: Judicial Administration Non‐Credit Certificate
Graduation Date: August 2015, Recognized at the 2015 NCBC Conference in Atlanta, GA
How has your participation in the MSU program impacted your career?
The MSU Judicial Administration program exposed me to all the essential pieces necessary to better understand the judicial system and court operations. My involvement in the program taught me how to better communicate, cooperate with others, and work as a team with diverse groups of people. Additionally, the different presentation approaches and strategies learned during the courses have definitely enhanced my speaking skills and confidence when speaking in court as a Courtroom Deputy.
What other benefits has the program brought into your life?
The program provided me the opportunity to travel, learn, network, and collaborate with my peers from across the nation - away from my phone, desk, and computer (at which I spend too much time!). Although there is a world of information available online and many ways to create and consume content, getting out and speaking with people who are doing what I do, but differently, definitely reignited my enthusiasm in all aspects of my life.
What was the time commitment for your program? How did you integrate that into your lifestyle?
I attended all of my MSU Judicial Administration classes at the annual NCBC conferences within a 5-year period. To obtain the noncredit certificate, I completed 60 contact hours and the capstone experience project.
What format (or formats) did you use to complete your program? What did you like best about each one?
I completed each of my courses in person during the annual NCBC conferences. I prepared a course summary for each class after completion of the course. This was especially helpful in preparing for the capstone project.
What tips or ideas can you share about finding a work/life balance that is conducive to achieving success in this program?
I hear the trick is to maintain the discipline to stick to a plan and not let unimportant and low priority distractions keep us from achieving the goals we have for our life. May I suggest five-day weekends? Well, we can all dream. In all seriousness, set your own rules. You can do this!
Are there any last thoughts or maybe a piece of advice you'd like to share with us?
I feel blessed to have worked at the Bankruptcy Court for almost 20 years. I have found my comfort zone in my job and know that I’m good at what I do. I don’t ever want to stop learning and I know the next level requires me to significantly upgrade, learn new skills, again, get used to being uncertain, unsure and learn to face fear and failure all over again. How amazing is it that our employer offers us this excellent, court-specific, affordable education from a well-known university, such as Michigan State University? It’s pretty amazing. My advice is to never lose that naive curiosity that got you interested in public service in the first place. This program was informative, comprehensive, and empowering, and I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to participate.