ATLANTA—Nicole DeLettera is graduating with the highest honors, summa cum laude, earning a B.S. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Legal Studies. She credits her time management skills for helping her succeed as she balanced school, mentoring, two internships and single motherhood through her studies.
DeLettera’s love for Atlanta brought her to Georgia State University, where she knew she would receive a great education from professors, practicing attorneys and subject matter experts.
“The professors at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies really want you to succeed and it’s obvious,” she said. “They want you to get your dream job after you graduate.”
Her passion for criminal justice led her to mentor members of Narcotics Anonymous, Alcohol Anonymous and Crossroads, a substance abuse treatment center.
“I mentor because I firmly believe people struggling with addiction can change. No one should be defined by their past,” she said.
During her final semester, DeLettera held internships at Mark Allen Yurachek & Associates, LLC and Zeliff | Watson Attorneys at Law. Her experience with criminal appeals, sitting through entire court proceedings and helping in every step of bench and jury trials led to her desire to become a criminal defense attorney.
“The punishment should fit the crime, but I believe education and rehabilitation are most effective at lowering recidivism,” she said. “I believe we can help build people’s self-esteem and assist them in getting jobs so that they can change for the better and live a happy, successful life.”
She is also a single mother to her 6-year-old daughter, Mia.
“She’s my whole world and little best friend,” DeLettera said. “She’s my biggest fan and wants to be an attorney when she grows up.” Her days began early as she prepared her daughter for school, then would immediately begin her work for school or internships.
DeLettera now awaits her scores from the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). She hopes to be accepted into Georgia State’s College of Law. She is excited to to pursue law at her alma mater and first choice in law school.
“My dream is to practice criminal law, and Georgia State has provided me with the tools to succeed in law school,” she said.
By Ashley Thompson, M.A. in Communication candidate