At just 17, Adriana Proctor is graduating from Georgia Southern University with dreams of becoming a lawyer.

“I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer,” Proctor said. “It’s my dream job and would allow me to provide meaningful representation and support to communities where I am needed. I would love to make a difference with children in particular through community initiatives, state agencies or even private practice.”

Proctor is one of the university’s youngest graduates.

She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology from GSU’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Proctor took advantage of her high school’s dual enrollment program in her freshman year. This allowed her to work hard and graduate high school in just two years.

The graduate started full time at GSU’s Armstrong Campus in Savannah when she was 15.

While earning her degree at GSU, Proctor learned to speak Spanish. She found a community in the Hispanic Outreach and Leadership Achievement Program on the Armstrong campus.

“Spanish has always been important to me as my father is from Puerto Rico and I was surrounded by it. We made frequent trips there and my paternal grandparents speak both English and Spanish in their home,” Proctor said.

She has also been able to spend time at the Bulloch County Public Defender’s Office in Statesboro, where she partners with a woman who facilitates a tutoring program for elementary students.

“She was able to put me in contact with the Statesboro chief of police who connected me with the public defender’s office in Statesboro. I hope to work there, even just as a volunteer, to gain experience working in the legal system,” she added.

Proctor adds that she has experienced some challenges taking on a career in the criminal justice field at the young age of 17.

“I’m working to overcome the age-related issues by looking for work outside of Savannah,” Proctor said. “I’m conducting informational interviews, interacting with professionals from a wide range of fields in order to network and calling businesses and agencies to see if there are any exceptions that can be made for my age.”

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