Veteran finds her niche at the MU School of Law
Marissa Price was looking for more than a good law school. She was looking for a college campus that supported military veterans and their families.
The 28-year-old Marine found what she was looking for when she visited the University of Missouri.
“I talked with a few veterans here, and I just knew this was it,” said Price, whose husband also is a veteran. “I could tell there was a lot of support here and that veterans were well accepted.”
Price is among the nearly 900 MU students who are either veterans, active duty personnel, National Guard members, reservists, ROTC cadets or family members receiving GI Bill benefits. This week Mizzou is celebrating Veterans Week with a number of activities.
Today, Price is in her third year at the MU School of Law where next semester she will work in the MU Veterans Clinic, which is staffed by law students and overseen by professional lawyers who specialize in navigating the VA benefits system for veterans. Earlier this year, she was a recipient of the MU School of Law Pay-It-Forward stipend to work with the Audrain County Prosecutor’s Office in Mexico, Missouri. She also has interned with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
Price serves as president of the Missouri Law Veterans Society and actively volunteers to bring awareness to the issue of suicide among veterans. She wears a bracelet commemorating a fellow veteran who took his own life after returning home from Afghanistan.
“These issues are so important to me,” Price said. “I am so grateful to places like Mizzou that puts a lot of reverence on the veteran’s community and offer so many services. There are so many resources that have helped me since I’ve utilized them as a student.”
Price, who grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, comes from a family of health professionals. Her dad is a dentist, stepmom is a dental hygienist and her older siblings are a nurse and speech pathologist. So when Price announced while in high school that she wanted to join the military, her family was skeptical. But when she was awarded an ROTC scholarship and enrolled at Marquette University in Milwaukee, they warmed up to the idea.
After one semester of college, however, Price was too eager to wait four years and enter the military as an officer. So, she dropped out, lost her scholarship and joined the Marines.
Price has never looked back.
Though she never deployed to combat, Price served in a number locations, including Spain, Cyprus, Djibouti and the Horn of Africa, among others. While stationed in Jordan, Price trained with soldiers from 11 different countries. In the states, she and fellow Marines, who were trained for humanitarian missions and embassy evacuations, assisted with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Her years in the military were life-changing.
“I gained a lot of confidence in myself,” Price said. “I went through some insecurities growing up but becoming a Marine changed that. I developed mental and physical toughness.
“The experience helped shape who I am today,” she said. “I came back from deployment a different person. You begin to see the world differently when you’ve been around the world. It’s made me appreciate home and all the things we have here.”
When Price’s military career came to a close in December 2014, she returned home and considered her options. She eventually enrolled at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where she was offered scholarships plus the GI Bill and graduated in 2 ½ years with a degree in finance.
Though she had job offers, a career crunching numbers didn’t appeal to Price’s passion for making a difference that was lit during her years in the military. That’s when she settled on a future as an attorney and applied to the MU School of Law. Her dream is to become a prosecutor.
Price said her background as a veteran has prepared her well.
“It’s made me more mature and taught me humility and time management,” she said. “I realize that the military is different than law school, but it’s prepared me for this and much more.”
Mizzou a top choice for veterans
MU was recently named by College Factual as one of the nation’s best universities for veterans. Additionally, earlier this year MU was designated a Purple Heart University in recognition of the university’s support of military members, including veterans and their families.
The MU Veterans Center, located in the basement of the Memorial Union, recently expanded to include space for student veterans to socialize, study and connect with resources as they transition from the military to academia. In August, the Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center opened inside the MU Veterans Clinic. The program is a partnership between the MU Veterans Clinic and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital and is designed to make accessing health resources easier for student veterans, faculty, staff and their families.