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Rio Kidd III

Rio Kidd III was recently selected as a 2013 Presidential Management Fellow. He was one of 663 chosen from 12,120 applicants. Rio is deciding whether to pursue a career with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, or the State Department.

Q: What inspired you to take up your field of study? 

A: After my career in the Marine Corps of serving my country and assisting people in countries such as Afghanistan and Asia, I had a strong desire to continue helping others. Taking up the study of law was the next logical step for me in engaging in my passion and in bringing justice and transparency to all parties involved in the legal process of the criminal justice system. I love trial work and litigation, and Wake Forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate, created the perfect environment for me to grow and learn.

Q: What class did you enjoy most and why?

A: I enjoyed the litigation clinic taught by professor Carol Anderson. For one semester, I was able to work for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina in both the Greensboro and Winston-Salem offices. The highlight of my experience was presenting an oral argument before the Fourth Circuit, United State Court of Appeals. I was lucky enough to be the first student allowed to conduct an oral argument for that particular office. When I first stepped to the podium and announced I was representing the United States of America, the words sent chills throughout my body.

Q: Did you participate in an internship?

A: In my final spring semester, I participated in the D.C. Metropolitan Externship. The law school selects 10 to 15 students to work for different government agencies or nonprofits in Washington, D.C. for the entire semester. I worked for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in the Organized Crime and Gang Section. I was surrounded by 50 brilliant attorneys who taught me about the practical concepts of applying the law and also about professionalism and teamwork. Understanding the black letter rules and concepts of the law is one thing, but applying them under duress and time constraints is an entirely different matter that only practical application can teach.

Q: Did you have time to volunteer?

A: I made it a point to volunteer for many different organizations, including the Guardian Ad Litem program, the Veterans Advocacy Law Organization, and local disabled children facilities. However, by far, my most rewarding experience was my time assisting a local elementary school student at Ashley Elementary. The principal and the teacher allowed me to partner up with my mentee and develop strategies and techniques that will, hopefully, strengthen his character and his intellectual curiosity.

Q: What does earning this degree mean to you?

A: This is another device and tool I can use to help and empower other people. I am a giver by nature, and I enjoy turning someone’s frown into a smile. Thus, I will definitely be able to quickly analyze complex problems and lengthy material and effect logical and practical solutions in solving issues for our local communities.

Q: What’s next?

A: Right after graduation, I plan on going on a nice, long vacation with my wife before I have to start preparing for the bar examination. My wife has been so steady and dependable in maintaining our home life and our children due to my deployments in the Marine Corps and my three-year sabbatical in law school. So I definitely need to treat her to some well-deserved R&R.