Michael R. Addams
Michael’s interest in public service grew in the wake of September 11, 2001, when he felt a strong calling to serve his country. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served a six-year active duty enlistment. He was stationed in Illinois, Hawaii, and Utah, and was deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition to his standard duties he served on the base Honor Guard performing military funerals and other ceremonial duties. He was also the president of the Hawaii chapter of Airmen Against Drunk Driving. Michael coordinated with 25 squadrons, the base command staff, and local businesses to provide training and services to reduce alcohol-related fatalities.
Following his active duty enlistment, Michael transferred to the Air National Guard where he continues to serve as a reservist. He attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and graduated cum laude in 2011 with a BA in Criminal Justice and a minor in Communications. As the general manager of KWCR, Weber State University’s student-operated radio station, he coordinated with local sponsors to create the annual Hope for the Holidays food drive benefiting the Ogden Rescue Mission. He traveled to Guatemala in June 2010 as part of a microloan team, teaching budgeting and marketing skills to the women of a local Mayan community. There, Michael saw the importance of educating others to help themselves become self-reliant. That same summer Michael completed an externship with the Ogden Prosecuting Attorney’s office. He felt another calling and applied to Gonzaga University School of Law.
Above all else, Michael is a devoted husband and father. He is excited to be studying at Gonzaga Law School in his home state of Washington and is honored to be a Thomas More Scholar.
Born in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Montana, I grew up surrounded by an incredible family who taught me to appreciate life’s many blessings. Through action and word, they have continuously reminded me to live a full life with the heart of a compassionate servant.
The theme of service was reinforced during my undergraduate studies at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. After graduation, I pursued service opportunities abroad, including building homes for underprivileged families in Tijuana, Mexico; living and working with adults with disabilities in a L’Arche community in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and managing an adolescent program for Farm of the Child, a Catholic orphanage located in Honduras. I returned home to continue my work in public service as an employee of the Montana Department of Justice where I focused on education and outreach to marginalized populations, including child abuse victims and Native American communities.
Building off these experiences, I see Gonzaga Law as the natural next step in my dedication to public service. I am honored to have the opportunity to study at this fine university and am humbled to be selected as a Thomas More Scholar.
When my college psychology professor at Saint Mary’s College encouraged me to volunteer for a crisis call suicide hotline, I was initially overwhelmed by the emotion and intensity of the experience. Eventually, after two years volunteering on the hotline and overcoming my initial hesitation, I realized that it had been one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I learned not just about the problems and intense personal tragedies faced by so many people in our society, but I also learned invaluable coping skills and realized that I had an aptitude for working with people in turmoil. As a result of this volunteer service, I came to the decision that I wanted to pursue a career in human services.
After graduating from Saint Mary’s, I returned to my hometown of Reno, Nevada, to begin my career. I was fortunate to be able to find a job which allowed me to work in a helping service. I was Program Director for Care Chest of Sierra Nevada, a small non-profit agency that provides medical equipment and supplies to individuals who do not have health insurance. Prior to coming to law school, I worked for the past twelve years for the Washoe County Public Guardian in Reno, Nevada. The Public Guardian serves as guardian for individuals deemed incompetent by the court for a variety of reasons including dementia, traumatic brain injury, mental illness, and developmental disability.
The most rewarding moments in my career have been working with individuals or families in crisis, providing protection to vulnerable people who have been abused or neglected, and contributing to the prosecution of individuals who perpetrate abuse. My decision to enter law school came from a desire to do more to advocate for vulnerable people. In order to effectively fulfill that desire, I need to advance my own education. I am privileged to be a student at Gonzaga School of Law and very grateful to have been selected as a Thomas More Scholar.
Nicholas’ desire to pursue a career path involving public service began when his graduation from Georgetown University approached, and he decided to spend the following year working for Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Northwest. During his volunteer year and in seven subsequent professional years, he worked as a teacher in Catholic schools in Montana and Iowa as a way of coupling his academic background in English and theology with his aspiration to help young people fulfill their academic potential. In his seven years in Montana, he taught economically-disadvantaged students on a Native American reservation, where he not only educated young people in subject-area content, but worked to help them build academic and social habits grounded in accountability and building toward positive personal goals.
Nicholas’ interest in law stems in part from this belief in accountability, as well as his desire to ensure that others are treated fairly and have the opportunity to flourish. His professional experience with Native American students has inspired him to seek a legal career working on behalf of Native American or juvenile clients, so that he can work for the rights and needs of individuals in economically or socially vulnerable positions. Nicholas will use his Gonzaga Law education to develop the principles of fairness, justice and accountability that he used in his previous career, and gain the substantive knowledge he will need to serve disadvantaged clients.
For as long as I can remember, community service has been an integral part of my life. Growing up, my International Baccalaureate program education fostered in me a mindfulness of the world-community’s interrelated nature and compelled me to get involved in my hometown, Colorado Springs, Colorado. This personal resolve to serve my world only strengthened as I completed my studies at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to pursuing my degree in Political Science, Spanish, and the Program of Liberal Studies while working two jobs, I devoted many hours each week to service.
Dating back to my first experiences volunteering, the majority of my public service has consisted of working with children in an educational capacity. As a tutor, mentor, classroom helper, and playwright of children’s theater, I have acquired important insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the American public school system. However, my intellectual interest in law and public policy has broadened my vocational scope, compelling me to pursue work and volunteer experiences in legal advocacy for children. I was fortunate to spend the summer preceding my senior year of college with the Human Services Department of the El Paso County Attorney’s Office assisting the county attorneys with trial preparation for child abuse and neglect cases. Since then, I have continued to advance my skills and knowledge of child advocacy by volunteering in South Bend, Indiana and Spokane as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Upon graduating from law school, it is my goal to serve professionally as a legal voice for children, and I owe my future fulfillment of this dream to the Thomas More Program and the support of my wonderful friends and family.