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Wichita State grad takes immigrant background to law school

Thursday, May 08, 2014
Hector Corea
Hector Corea

A lot of college graduates will tell you they want to make the world a better place, but Hector Corea came to Wichita State University with a plan to do just that.

“You know what makes the world a better place? Law,” he said. “The law governs everything we do. It’s part of every aspect of society. For me, the opportunity to practice law and contribute to such a great endeavor is something I cannot pass up.”

Corea, a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, graduates with a degree in philosophy and political science this spring. He will intern at a corporate law firm this summer before going on to study immigration law at the University of California, Berkeley, in the fall.

Corea grew up in difficult circumstances, he said, with a family that entered the United States illegally. No one else in his family – a Mexican mother, a Guatemalan father and two siblings – has been to college, though they’ve since gained residency. His background has become a source of strength for Corea – but college was something he always wanted to do.

“Ever since I was a little kid my parents drilled into me, ‘You have op portunities here that we didn’t have back there. You need to take advantage of those opportunities,’” Corea said. “Going to college was integral to making my life meaningful and making my parents proud.”

The Shocker culture

When Corea came to Wichita State, he knew that he wanted to study political science and maybe do some kind of work in government. Like many freshmen, however, taking a course load of general studies introduced him to a new passion: philosophy. He fell in love with it, and WSU gave him the freedom to pursue both disciplines.

“I wanted to make my four years here at Wichita State the best four years I could,” he said. “I didn’t want to just come to class to get a job; I wanted to come to class to enjoy learning. I honestly enjoy the educational opportunities that Wichita State provides.”

WSU provided Corea with more than just a rigorous education to prepare him for law school.

“The professors here were willing to test me and challenge me,” Corea said. “I’m grateful for the philosophy and political science departments, for all they’ve done to support my success in and out of class. I have personal connections with my teachers – they’ve been friends to me in my pursuits.”

Being a Shocker offered one more edge over other schools, Corea said.

“There’s a culture here,” he said, “where you meet people who support each other in academic and life pursuits. That’s the most important thing to me. That’s something you won’t find at any other college – it’s something only Wichita State could have provided.”

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Created on Thursday, May 08, 2014; Last modified on Friday, May 09, 2014