From Doubt to Destiny
Growing up in San Diego, Calif., Anitra Brown always dreamed big. Those dreams, bolstered by an active imagination, led to a plethora of personal activities and goals.
Upon graduation from high school, Brown enrolled at Grambling State University. By day she worked towards a degree in French, while studying modern dance and ballet with the dance team during the evening. It was at that point that she mapped out her career path; finish college, move to Paris, and work in the fashion industry. Semesters abroad studying in France and Belgium only helped to boost her credentials and provide valuable life experiences.
As a sophomore Brown was enrolled in an honors seminar, studying under former Grambling State President Dr. Steve A. Favors. Throughout the semester, Dr. Favors noticed Brown’s strong attention to detail, writing ability, persuasiveness, and punctuality.
“After class one day, Dr. Favors pulled me aside,” said Brown. “He told me, ‘Anitra, you would make a fine lawyer. You should really consider studying law once you finish your degree.’”
That one single statement would prove to dramatically alter the pre-conceived trajectory of Brown’s career.
“I’ve always been big on information,” said Brown. “I devour books. I have a thirst to learn and share information. The more I looked into it, the more I started to believe that by going to law school I could make a positive difference on the world around me.”
Lingering doubts, however, served as roadblocks. As her undergraduate career drew to a close, Brown had a change of heart and began to question her motivations. Was she motivated to become a lawyer so that she could help others, or did she want this for personal gain? Uncertain of the answer, in time she completed her undergraduate degree and settled into a full-time position at Grambling State in the domestic admissions department. After six months she was promoted to coordinator of international student services, overseeing admissions, evaluating credentials, and assisting with immigration and other pertinent legal issues. Along the way she began working on a master’s degree in public administration.
Fate has a funny way of guiding us through the nuances of life. Our dreams and aspirations often change through the years as we do. Some ideas, however, remain well in reach.
It was an ordinary afternoon that led to an extraordinary opportunity. One day in her office a foreign student from Kenya arrived unannounced. The student, in an urgent yet reserved manner, was looking to transfer into Grambling State from another institution, but her student visa hadn’t been renewed. Deportation was on the horizon, and she was worried.
“She told me that God had sent her to me for help,” said Brown. “She had a confidence in me that I didn’t yet have in myself.”
The task was large, but the reward was priceless. It took countless phone calls, an avalanche of paperwork, and a dizzying amount of task-minding, but Brown successfully navigated a path to visa renewal and college enrollment for a complete stranger.
That experience proved two things to Brown. First, she was capable of making a positive impact on others. Second, she realized that her desire to help others was genuine. As a result, she began studying for the LSAT and researching law schools across the country. Her then-boyfriend, now husband, Truth, was enrolled in a graduate program at nearby NC State University, and their desire to be together ultimately helped to cement Campbell Law as her final destination.
To date, Brown is excelling as a second-year student at Campbell Law. She serves as the vice president of the Black Law Students Association, a member of the Campbell Law Pro Bono Council, and a contributor and managing editor of the Southern Regional Black Law Students Association Law Journal. She was recently awarded the Robert A. Dyer Scholarship, and will soon begin an internship with Magistrate Judge Joe Webster of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
“My time at Campbell Law has been incredible thus far,” said Brown. “I have no doubt that I will leave prepared to meet the challenges of my clients with professionalism and confidence.”
And to think --- it almost never happened.