Ellery O'Hara, Class of 2017 - Criminal Justice


He's big, he's Canadian and he's a hockey player.  But Ellery O'Hara has made himself into much more than that at Curry College.

The criminal justice major from Toronto is already on a path to a successful career in law after Curry.  And for him, it began with focusing on academics from Day One.

"I noticed right away when I came to Curry that the upperclassmen were pushing us not only on the ice but in the classroom as well," recalls Ellery. "It wasn't cool to not get your work done. Seeing that from the juniors and seniors when I was a freshman led me to continue that tradition with the underclassmen on the team...our team GPA has climbed every year since I've been here."

Not one to be satisfied with just doing well, Ellery has challenged himself in the classroom as much as on the ice to become exceptional.  Since his first year at Curry, he has been involved in the Honors Program

"The Honors Program was so interesting because it moved away from the lecture style of other first-year classes. It was completely discussion based.  It's kind of a nice break when you are in your first year of college, a little tense or nervous, and you can have these really interesting, in-depth conversations while getting to know the other new students around you."

The program culminated in Ellery writing and presenting an honors thesis.

"My thesis is focused on the War on Drugs, particularly the topic of mandatory minimum sentencing as a result of it.  I'm also looking at solutions like drug courts, which have already been set up here in the U.S.  And I'm researching how other countries like Portugal, The Netherlands, and my home country of Canada are addressing this issue."

With the help of one of his favorite professors, Dr. Peter Hainer, Ellery had the opportunity to complete an internship at Greater Boston Legal Services in his sophomore year.

"It was pretty amazing experience. Dr. Hainer helped me secure a position usually reserved only for law school students.  And they put me to work right away...on my second day I was in their disability unit interviewing clients, really interesting people from all over...people that had been shut down systematically for a long time. So to be able to be part of helping them was pretty amazing."

Although he isn't set on one particular branch of law he'd like to study, Ellery is looking forward to attending law school after Curry. 

"Everything I've already accomplished at Curry, through my classes and internships, have only made me more passionate about the practice of law as a career."


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