Spotlight On Humanities Alumni: Melissa Dujnic
Name: Melissa Dujnic ’02
Education (UR and additional): (BA English), University of Rochester, 2002; JD, Syracuse University College of Law, magna cum laude, 2005
Current city/state of residence: Alexandria, VA
Community activities: Capital Co-ed Soccer League, Arlington Road Runners, Marine Corps Marathon 2010 and 2011
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
Honestly? I received the Bausch and Lomb Science award at my high school and received a free application to the U of R with it. I visited the campus, and fell in love – I still love the campus and the experiences I had there.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
As a student I played varsity soccer my freshman and sophomore year and also ran indoor track for those seasons. I was also a member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. Both soccer and Gamma Phi provided me with leadership and organizational skills and self confidence. I also gained life-long friends who I still rely on for support, guidance and laughs!
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduation I went straight to law school. I’m not sure how I decided to take that path – it was an interest I had and one that I explored with an internship at the Rochester DA’s office and several classes offered at U of R. Going straight out may have been a bit of a gamble – considering the expense, but it’s paid off as I’m in a career and a job I enjoy.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
Currently, I am a staff attorney in the Federal Aviation Administration’s General Counsel’s Procurement Law Division in Washington, D.C. I chose to be an attorney, initially at least, because I had grandiose ideas about being a prosecutor and finding justice. Turns out, I enjoyed contracts and commercial law more than litigation, and when I decided to leave private practice in Syracuse, NY for life in D.C., I found my way into government contracts and I love it.
What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?
I was an English major at UR – and the writing skills I learned through that program have carried me through my entire career after I graduated. They provided the foundation for the legal writing that is a part of my daily life.
What advice do you have for current students?
Work hard and have fun. Life doesn’t get any easier – so enjoy!