Ida Houck Picked Drury Based on Reputation and Flexibility
Ida Houck always knew she wanted to work in the criminal justice field. She just didn't know where to start. When her pursuit of a business degree at a nearby state university left her dissatisfied, her husband, a law enforcement officer himself, suggested she switch to a law-related degree.
She diligently researched her options and kept coming back to Drury University's online paralegal program. Drury's came highly recommended by her husband and friends. It didn't hurt that Drury's program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation by various college rankings companies.
With a full-time job and a seven-year-old son, Houck also liked the fact that the program is offered 100% online, as to fit around her busy schedule.
"I really liked the online program," she says. "It didn't set me back at all, and actually, it worked better with my schedule."
Houck says her instructors and advisor made sure she was succeeding in the program and that she was satisfied with her education.
"The [instructors] are there for you through every single step," she says. "They really care about you."
Houck also credits her academic advisor, Marti Marlin, with helping her transfer all of her previous college credits and making herself available to answer any questions that she had.
"My advisor was phenomenal," she says. "If I asked her a question, she immediately answered it and had any follow-up questions answered."
Houck graduated with a 4.0 and an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies in December 2017. Almost immediately, she had a job offer from Larson Law Firm.
She had applied to and interviewed with another Springfield law firm, but that firm went with another candidate and passed her application along to Kurt Larson, who was also looking for a full-time paralegal.
When Larson, a personal injury lawyer and fellow Drury graduate, saw that Houck had received her paralegal degree from Drury, he immediately called her in for an interview.
"As soon as we saw that Ida was a paralegal graduate, it was a green flag to take a hard look at her resume. So we brought her in and took it to the next level," Larson says. "Ida being a Drury paralegal graduate was paramount in her getting past the threshold decision on giving an interview or not."
The interview went well and Houck was hired as Larson Law Firm's newest paralegal.
Larson says that his law firm, as well as others in the region, are constantly looking for Drury paralegal graduates.
"Frankly, we're actively looking for Drury paralegals all the time," he says. "That degree says something about the caliber of the person that walks through the door."
One of Larson's first and finest paralegals was a Drury graduate, and he uses her as a barometer by which his other paralegals are measured.
"My paralegal of 14 years was a Drury graduate. She just retired this year," he says. "Not only was she a phenomenal paralegal, but became kind of a grandmother to all of us. She was someone that I held onto for a very long time."
Larson says that what sets Drury's paralegal graduates apart from other paralegal graduates is how well-prepared they are for the profession.
"Academically, I can tell they have the fundamentals of knowing not only the judicial system but the practice of law," he says. "Ida was able to hit the ground running."
Houck is continuing her law education while working at Larson Law Firm. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's in criminal justice and sociology through Drury's online program.
Continuing at Drury was really a no-brainer for her.
"It's difficult to juggle everything," says Houck. "So when you have a university that really works with you to help you succeed, it's really, really helpful."