PUBLISHED:January 30, 2009

Student Leader Spotlight: Five Questions

1. Where are you from?
I’m from Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago. It’s home to the oldest 18-hole golf course in the United States, not to mention Edwin Hubble (Hubble telescope), Grote Reber (inventor of radio astronomy), Bob Woodward (Watergate sleuth), and the Belushi brothers (purveyors of general silliness). And according to the original version of Trivial Pursuit, it’s the town with the most churches per capita anywhere in the United States. Needless to say, Wheaton is a wild place.

As an undergraduate, my major was the Program of Liberal Studies at Notre Dame. It’s a Great Books program that combines classic literature, philosophy, theology, etc. I also completed a concentration in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

As a graduate student, I completed a Masters in English Literature at Northern Illinois University. Yes, I like to read.

2. What brought you to law school and what do you want to do with your degree?
To some extent, I just like being in school. I was a teacher before I came to law school and found myself longing to be the one sitting in the student chair and learning new things. More than that, though, I wanted to learn new ways to help people and to engage the problems that I read about everyday in the news. I’ll leave law school with the same desires: to keep learning, to help people, and to involve myself in the debates that matter to me.

3. When you are not at the Law School, how do you like to spend your time?
When I’m not at the law school you’ll normally find me on the living room floor playing “fire guys” with my son. It’s a sophisticated game that involves making “wooo, wooo, honk, honk” fire truck noises with your mouth and then making the “fire guys” climb up and down the plastic ladder.

In the little time that I have left, I’m normally putting puzzles together with my daughter and talking about why princesses get to wear sparkly shoes.

4. What are a few books you’d recommend reading?
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

5. Tell us something about yourself that otherwise we wouldn’t know or guess.
I can stick the top of a pint glass in my mouth. If you ever want to see it, you should buy me a beer.

Jeff Ward is a third-year JD/LLM. At Duke Law, he has served as student director of the Duke Law Innocence Project, co-president of Parents Attending Law School (PALS), and co-chair of the Public Interest Retreat. He is also extremely active in our clinical programs, including Wrongful Convictions, the Guantanamo Bay Defense Clinic, and the Community Enterprise Clinic.

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