Davis transitions from math to law with 3-in-3 program

Carolyn Davis

When Carolyn Davis left her campus visit that day in November, she knew her college plans had changed.

Even though she already had a roommate and a major chosen at another university, the Iowa native felt undeniably drawn to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I love football, so how could you pass up a school like Nebraska where 90,000 fans wear red on Saturdays?” said Davis, whose parents met at Nebraska’s College of Law.

Now, in 2018, four years later, the mathematics major is entering her own first year of law school through the 3-in-3 program, which allows qualified undergraduate students to begin studying at the College of Law after three years of undergraduate studies.

Davis decided to major in mathematics because she enjoyed the subject in high school. She explored being a math teacher and even tried out meteorology as a double major, but she realized that’s not what she wanted to do.

“Through a Summer Workshop in Mathematics at Duke University, I learned that math can be applied to just about anything, and that math majors aren’t limited to becoming teachers or professors,” Davis said.

Davis’ mother suggested the 3-in-3 program at Nebraska, and Davis decided to give it a go. The program replaces the fourth year of undergrad with the first year of law school, getting through school in six years instead of seven.

"One thing that really intrigued me about becoming a lawyer was the ability lawyers have in helping people with everyday problems,” Davis said. “They make people’s lives run smoother in the long and short term.”

Other than her parents, who are both practicing lawyers, Davis also received a great deal of support from her math professor Brian Harbourne and former graduate student Areeba Ikram.

“If I could give any advice to incoming freshmen, it would be: get to know your advisor,” Davis said. “You can create really great connections that pay off in the long run.”

While she may not use the math terms and definitions as a lawyer in the same ways she’s using them as a student, Davis said her work ethic, problem-solving skills and logic reasoning will help her along the way. She also works in the department’s Math Resource Center, which she said has helped her build her mentoring skills and learn patience.

“I want to work with taxes, probate work and real estate transactions in the future, so having a good foundation in numbers will really help me,” Davis said.

Davis has involved herself in other areas of the university as well, such as her sorority Kappa Delta, where she has been elected for multiple leadership positions and enjoys working with Girl Scouts. She has volunteered for fundraising and service events such as Dance Marathon and the Big Event, but her favorite part has been going to the football games and meeting out-of-state and small-town students.

“The people I’ve met have been so interesting and driven to explore campus and get involved,” Davis said. “It’s really cool to work with so many different people and try to make things the best yet in every organization.”

After graduation, Davis plans on returning to Dubuque, Iowa, to work with her father at his law firm.

“I will always make trips back to the great state of Nebraska,” Davis said.

-Alli Davis