LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO SCHOOL of LAW (2016 Winter Magazine) - page 34-35

Mary Shahbazian
(MJ ’15)
Children’s Law and Policy
Allendale Association
Lake Villa, Illinois
Kerry Slattery
(MBA ’13)
MJ in Global
Competition Law
International program director,
National University
of Management
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Erica Skoczylas
MJ in Business Law
Compliance manager,
Wilton Brands LLC
Woodridge, Illinois
My background:
I’m from the
Midwest, Minnesota specifically, but
I lived in California, too. I moved to
Chicago from California about 10
years ago. I’ve been a surgeon for a
little more than 20 years. I attended
medical school and completed my
residencies at the Mayo Clinic.
How does a surgeon begin
taking legal coursework?
I have a
professional interest in how the law
works and affects my patients. Also,
on a more personal level, I have two
kids in college, and I was always
thinking of furthering my education
once they got into college.
What triggered you to enroll?
colleague I’ve known a long time
completed a different type of
master’s program at Northwestern
University. I thought, “Wow, that’s
really awesome you did that.” It
seems to have really helped him.
He’s much more involved now
with quality issues, and it definitely
changed his practice and gave him
more options. That inspired me.
What will you do with a legal
I feel like so many people
who go to medical school; most of
them have no idea what they’ll do
with that education. You’re exposed
to all the different types of medicine,
from research and clinical to patient-
centered and procedure-centered. I
knew I wanted to learn more about
health law as a broad subject area. I
know I don’t want to leave surgery.
But the medical administrative field
is a broad area, and that could be one
area where I apply this set of skills.
Has the program surprised
you in any way?
I’ve been very
pleasantly surprised by a lot of
things. It’s fairly rigorous, as it
should be. It’s also interactive,
and although it seems like it would
feel anonymous, like no one
knows you, it feels very personal. I
feel like I get a lot of personal
attention from professors. I’m more
likely to email and contact them,
and there’s none of that fear of
speaking up in class. I’m really
enjoying it. Things can happen by
serendipity, can’t they?
My background:
My undergraduate
and graduate degrees and
advanced coursework are in special
education, psychology, and
nonprofit program administration.
What drives me:
I’m interested in the
human condition—understanding
people’s circumstances to help
mitigate difficult conditions causing
parents to not have what they
need to take care of their children,
physically and emotionally. My career
has been dedicated to this.
What I do:
Allendale Association
is a private, not-for-profit social
service organization that specializes
in behavioral health. We serve more
than 1,300 youths, families, and
adults annually. We provide a range
of services from intensive residential
treatment and therapeutic day-
education programs to specialized
foster care and outpatient or home-
based services. The systems that
serve kids with mental and emotional
problems are filled with well-
meaning but generally disconnected
professionals. They can unwittingly
play an unhelpful role
because they often see only
one side of the kids, though kids
can act differently to different
adults in their world. That
sometimes pulls adults into
adversarial roles. The MJ program
helped me better understand the
perspectives of the professionals
who serve as advocates. Over
the years, our relationship with
advocates, parents, and others
has improved dramatically.
The best part of an online
coursework is convenient, and
the classes are national. You
hear a broad perspective from
students nationwide.
What I do when I’m not studying:
I like to spend time with my
family and pets. I garden some.
And I read a lot, mostly current
events or work-related information.
I do this work because it’s
interesting to me; a work-life
balance isn’t a concern for me. My
work and life are very entwined.
My background:
I grew up in
Ft. Lauderdale and attended the
University of Florida, where I received
my bachelor’s degree in biology pre-
professional. I had a good experience
volunteering in an emergency
room, but I realized being a doctor
wasn’t what I wanted to do. I moved
to Chicago and worked at Walsh
Construction. At night, I attended
Loyola Quinlan, where I earned my
MBA with a concentration in business
ethics. I also participated in Professor
Clifford Shultz’s study-abroad
program, which took me to Vietnam,
Cambodia, and Thailand.
How I ended up in Phnom Penh:
After I graduated, Professor Shultz
put me in contact with the National
University of Management. I was
hired as a lecturer, but on the second
day, I was promoted to program
director. This job has been much
more difficult than I anticipated. I’m
basically an entrepreneur. I hire all the
teachers and oversee quality control
of teaching. I also recruit and enroll all
students. The job is both eye opening
and rewarding.
Why global competition law:
find it very “of the moment.”The
law is constantly changing. Right
now, I’m taking an intellectual
property class where we’re
studying things like whether
software programming code can
be copyrighted. Global competition
law is also related to business
ethics. A lot of consumers today
read up on whether a company is a
good company, and that includes
how dominant it is in its industry.
How is learning online from
half a world away?
I like it. I think
I spend more time studying than I
did for my MBA. I also like how
much more I focus because the
class doesn’t just fly by when I’m
distracted. I can do the lessons
when I’m alert and in the mood. I
often listen to lectures on Saturday
mornings when I’m bright eyed.
Also, the program feels very one-on-
one, like someone’s talking to you
personally about a topic they know
a lot about.
My background:
My undergraduate
degree is in mechanical engineering,
which makes me a slightly odd duck
in the MJ program. Since I was 12
years old, I’ve always wanted to go
to law school and become a United
States Supreme Court justice. In my
first semester at Purdue University, I
was a history major in pre-law, and I
was bored. That’s how I ended up in
mechanical engineering.
My day-to-day work:
The group
I work in is concerned with
regulatory compliance. Consumer
regulatory issues are my focus,
and I handle nonfood items in our
brand, like decorating products
and bakeware. I deal with the day-to-
day laws that govern how you can
sell a product to someone, and I really
like it. My engineering background
works out well because I deal with
product development teams. From a
materials and design standpoint, that
comes in handy.
Why this program?
I earned my
bachelor’s degree and would love
to get my JD. But realistically I don’t
think I could go three years full time
and handle the cost. I also want a
master’s degree. Most people in my
field pick a master’s in engineering
or an MBA. I knew I didn’t want to
stay on the technical end; I wanted to
head more into the business world.
When I found this program, I thought,
“Great! It’s a master’s, and I can work
and go to school while still pursuing
a legal focus.” I’m now working on my
thesis on corporate compliance.
Any thoughts looking back at
the program, now that you’re
almost done?
Our program is
growing, and I feel like the platform
we’re using now is different than
when we started two years ago. It’s
really using the new technologies
today. In addition, when you log into
class, somebody will say something
about the weather where they are,
and I was surprised by the geographic
range of the students. We also have
people in the early part of their
careers, mid-career, and late career.
There’s been a really good mix of
locations and the stages of students’
work lives.
For more information on the School of Law’s online offerings, visit
Molly McAfee
MJ in Health Law
Cardiothoracic surgeon
Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Health Law,
offered in conjuction
with the nationally renowned Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy, is
designed for health care professionals to provide a comprehensive working
knowledge of the health law field. The cutting-edge curriculum, designed in
conjunction with a team of leading professionals in the field and national
experts, provides graduates with the expertise needed to navigate issues of
health care law, regulation, and policy.
Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Children’s Law & Policy
is a two-year,
part-time program offered in conjunction with Loyola’s nationally recognized
Civitas ChildLaw Center. With small class sizes and a flexible format, the online
degree program provides professional from a variety of fields, including social
work, education, and the justice system, with a firm understanding of law and
policy as they affect children and families.
Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Global Competition Law
offers non-lawyers and consumer professionals specialized training in
the competition law field. The Global Competition Law program is
administered by the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies, one of the
nation’s leading competition and consumer law programs. This program is
offered exclusively online.
Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Business Law
is designed specifically
for business professionals who want to develop analytical reasoning and
advanced communication skills. The program also provides in-depth information
about the intersection of law and business, as well as training in compliance.
Students enjoy a curriculum focused on current, real world business and legal
issues. The degree is applicable in almost any public or private sector industry, as
well as in the not-for-profit world.
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