Creating safer communities

Creating safer communities

3L Pete Kalenik is earning a joint degree in law and public policy while balancing a full-time workload as a Chicago police officer and paratrooper in the U.S. Army Reserve. A recipient of the William F. and Kathleen Hynes Scholarship, Kalenik says receiving scholarship aid “provided me the freedom to continue serving our country, our communities, and Chicago’s citizens.”

EXPOSURE TO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES: “I absolutely love Loyola’s student body,” Kalenik says. “Its diversity helps us grapple with the most current, complex, and controversial legal issues in America.”

A CLASS THAT CHANGED HIS CAREER COURSE: Kalenik’s favorite course has been National Security Law. “Applying constitutional theory to the intersection of international relations and modern warfare has impacted my military career,” says Kalenik, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago before entering law school. “After more than 10 years of service as an enlisted paratrooper, National Security Law has motivated me to become a commissioned officer in the Illinois National Guard.”

HONING HANDS-ON SKILLS: Kalenik is taking full advantage of Loyola’s experiential learning opportunities. He has served as a judicial extern in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Chancery Division and is currently enrolled in Federal Litigation Practice, under the supervision of the Honorable Virginia M. Kendall of the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.

BUILDING BRIDGES: Prior to his law enforcement career, Kalenik taught and lived on Chicago’s Southside, as an AmeriCorps volunteer, while earning a master’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University. “As a Loyola Street Law instructor, I was able to educate students in the same community that I patrol as a police officer, which according to the Chicago Sun-Times is the most violent police beat in the city,” Kalenik says. “That experience allowed me to build bridges between the community and the Chicago Police Department, which previously, did not exist.”

DESCRIBING LOYOLA: Asked which words best describe his time at Loyola, Kalenik said, “We all serve.’”

NEXT STEPS: After graduation, Kalenik will enter Officer Candidate School in the Illinois National Guard and continued serving the Chicago Police Department as a Field Training Officer, responsible for instilling a sense of justice in Chicago’s newest police officers. “I will use my legal education to advocate for policies that make our families safer, while embodying the authentic leadership that Chicago desperately needs. As we all know, actions speak louder than words,” he says.