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Purdue Global helped her fulfill a dream she didn’t know she had

Kerry Koziol walking across graduation stage.

How a rescue horse inspired this ER nurse to get her online law degree

When Kerry Koziol started to feel stuck in her career, an online law degree from Purdue Global Law School gave her new dreams to aim for. She’s sharing the story of how the future she imagined took an unexpected but perfect turn.

If you talk to law students, you’ll hear a lot of “I always wanted to go to law school.” That’s not my story.  

I’m an ER nurse, and I earned my JD through Purdue Global because of a horse my husband and I rescued. I like the drama of the ER; I like the unexpected. I like the faster pace and the help I can offer. I like that at home, too — we live on a ranch and have horses and dogs. 

When I was in my 40s, hospitals started requiring nurses to get BSNs. I loved my job, but I didn’t want a BSN. My options were to get a master’s in nursing, become a nurse educator or a nurse practitioner, but none of that really clicked with me.   

Then, in 2013, a couple was arrested on animal abuse charges. 55 deceased horses were found on their property, but thankfully 26 horses were alive and moved to local stables. When the village asked for volunteers, we had to help.   

I got there and immediately saw this beautiful Clydesdale. She was skinny, had her head down, blind in one eye. But who better to take care of a special-needs horse than a critical care nurse? I knew she was ours. We named her Maxine.

I realized if I got another nursing degree, I could help people locally. But with a law degree, I could run for Congress and get legislation passed.

Kerry Koziol
Juris Doctor ’23 / Purdue Global

As the new owners, we were invited to the couple’s trial to show support for the animals we rescued and those that were lost. In the courtroom, it was like a light came on. I realized if I got another nursing degree, I could help people locally. But with a law degree, I could run for Congress and get legislation passed. And there are a lot of areas I want to effect change. I wanted to get health care decisions back in the hands of those that provide direct patient care. I wanted to use my voice for those who are unable to defend themselves. I wanted to protect veterans and seniors against those who so often take advantage by providing guidance on their legal rights. 

My path became clear to me as I watched the trial. I left the courthouse making phone calls to put my plan into action. I had two associate degrees already, but I’d need a bachelor’s to get into law school. Purdue Global’s program in legal studies was perfect.  When I finished, law school at Purdue Global was the next step. Of course, law school is hard, so we were told in the beginning always to have our inspiration handy. Mine is a picture of Maxine, right next to my school computer. She’s my why. From the day I made the decision to pursue a law degree, what kept me going was my vision of being able to advocate for those without a voice.  

I was concerned about going back to school. Not to mention law school, and in my early 50s! But lots of students my age and older were doing the same thing.  And, because it was online, I was able to continue working full time as a registered nurse while pursuing my law degree. 

If you’re considering going to law school as an adult, it’s doable. Not all the students come from a law background. You can make yourself shine; you can elevate yourself to a whole new level when you combine knowledge of the law with what you’ve done previously. It’s such an opportunity because so few do it. 

Kerry Koziol in front of graduation ballon wall.

We were told in the beginning always to have our inspiration handy. Mine is a picture of Maxine … she’s my why.

Kerry Koziol Juris Doctor ’23 / Purdue Global

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