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Tamara Brown
Graduated: 1996
Major: French
Attorney and Vice President, Fiduciary Officer, National City Trust Co.

Tamara Brown Photo
Choosing a Major
“I struggled as a political science major,” Tamara says, “and when I met with my academic adviser he encouraged me to consider French as a major. I loved traveling and was already pretty near fluency in French. The change in my major made a world of difference to my entire experience.”

The Messiah Experience
Tamara studied at the University of Strasbourg in France through the Brethren Colleges Abroad program. “Though there are many study abroad programs throughout France,” she says, “the fact that BCA operates in Nancy and Strasbourg (home of the European Union’s most prestigious institutes) was very instrumental in my decision [to travel there].” Traveling to France was the most influential of Tamara’s experiences through Messiah, as she could absorb the culture of the language she studied.

Career Center Experience
“My college work-study was with the Career Center,” Tamara explains, “so I was introduced to their services in my sophomore year. I don’t think it’s too early for anyone to familiarize themselves with the Career Center. Even as a first-year student it wouldn’t hurt to pop in and meet the staff and see what they have to offer.” Tamara continued to take advantages of opportunities afforded by Career Center when she decided to continue her education. “I heeded my own advice when I went to law school,” she says. “I went to the career services office in my first year just to learn where the office was and to introduce myself. This began a great relationship with the staff and when I graduated they knew who I was and have still been very helpful.”

Transferable Skills
The skills Tamara developed as a student have functioned for her in a wide variety of ways.  She observes that she has applied her language skills and lessons gained from international experiences “in ways from assisting young French-speaking Rwandan refugees at my church to studying abroad in law school. Messiah was a great place for me to learn about new career possibilities. After changing my major from political science to French, I questioned what I could do with a degree in a foreign language other than teach. I recall several meetings with Lois Beck, professor of French and communication, and the Career Center staff. They were able to work with me and introduce me to new possibilities and essentially gave me options.

“This may seem rather trivial, but when you don’t know of other possibilities, you unknowingly limit yourself and you don’t even realize what you may be missing. I can attest to this because I’m still learning of potential career paths that I had never considered.”

What to Do Next
In Tamara's post-graduation career planning, her thoughts were always global, and she sought out the most practical way to enhance her international experience.  She elaborates, “As a French major, my interests were always internationally minded. When I graduated from Messiah I took some time off before attending law school and became an international flight attendant. This allowed me to use my language skills and to travel.”


• "Dare to dream."
• "Dream big."
• "Put yourself in the position to get what seems unattainable."
• "Volunteer or intern for someone who can help train you or introduce you to someone who can."

While in law school Tamara spent a lot of time in the Career Services office, either speaking with the counselors or just paging through the information they offered. “When it came time to look for an internship,” Tamara reveals, “I found something in the folders of information offered by the school. The opportunity was less than exciting, but it seemed the best choice for my geographic location.

“When the Career Services director saw me in the office she noticed I was looking for an internship, and asked me to take a minute to look at an opportunity…with the Department of Justice. Because she knew the General Counsel this highly competitive internship was being offered to two students from our school.

“Because I had been in and out of the office previously and she knew me she considered me for the position. Though it was quite a distance to travel, she insisted it would be worth it for my career aspirations and explained that there was a level of prestige in being offered such an internship. She even gave me a personal recommendation. My experiences with the Department of Justice were phenomenal. It enhanced my academic and professional experience a great deal.”

Tamara believes that she serves others as a positive example of Christ's influence.  “I like to think that I am the person people don’t mind working with,” she says. “There may be days that one struggles with the work-day and their colleagues. I’ve only ever received positive feedback from my colleagues, and I like to think the joy they see is Christ in me. Since before my days as a student at Messiah people often noted my cheery disposition. I’ve been consistent and that pleases me. Though I may not have the opportunity to pray with every colleague or client that I come in contact with, I am able to act responsibly within my beliefs and live accordingly.”

Dreams Still Dreaming
Although she has already entered a highly respected profession, Tamare still desires to integrate the passions she cultivated throughout her career journey.  She has set a goal for herself of “finding an opportunity where I can use my international/language background with my legal skills.”


Profile by Angela Kriebel, 2005


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