Marine Corps veteran balances government work and law degree with grace

November 06, 2023

Shawn Gokey dressed in a blue suit wearing a tie and an american flag pin.

Shawn Gokey, JD ’27, served in the Marine Corps for four years, but his career in government has only just begun.

When Gokey heard about the terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California in 2015, his heart immediately longed to serve the country. On the day following the tragic events, he registered for the Marine Corps. Many of his family members served in the military and he has always considered the idea, but that tragedy is what pushed him to follow through.

He served as a mortarman from 2016-20 and was deployed to various countries during that time, including Romania, Greece, Georgia, Israel and Japan. In his final year in the Marine Corps, he served as the non-commissioned officer for his company’s armory where he ensured the accountability and maintenance of more than $13 million of equipment.

Once his time serving had concluded, Gokey knew he wanted to earn a college degree.

“I came to Connecticut after my service to be with my wife, who is from here. When choosing law schools, we wanted to stay local to have family nearby,” said Gokey. “I made my decision because the dean of admissions wrote me a handwritten letter thanking me for my service. Little things like that make Quinnipiac Law one of the most accepting and thriving places for veterans.”

Along with attending the law school, he works as a legislative aide at the Connecticut state capitol. Gokey admits that balancing his job and college career can be challenging, but is extremely rewarding. He hopes that his degree will assist in establishing himself as a lawyer in the realm of policy once he graduates.

“Ensuring that I am adequately prepared for classes and that I'm retaining the information requires specific time management skills and there are moments when it seems like it may be too much,” said Gokey. “However, in those moments, being able to push forward and seeing that I'm learning something while also doing something extremely challenging gives me a sense of accomplishment that only a few things in my life have given me to this point.”

The veteran community at Quinnipiac has always felt truly welcoming and accepting of Gokey, making his time as a Bobcat very special.

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