As an undergraduate student at Morehead State University with plans to go to law school, Amethyst Muncy has what would be considered a rare thing: A good problem.
The good problem: Too many possibilities.
Muncy, a senior legal studies major and Spanish minor, finds herself in this positive predicament because of her score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The first time she nervously took the test, she earned a 160 out of a possible 180, a score that is unquestionably respectable and would help stamp her ticket to law school. In July 2019, at a hotel in Huntington, West Virginia, she decided to take one more crack at it.
“The second time, I was like, whatever. I already got a good score, so I wasn’t worried about it,” she recalls. “I didn’t study very much at all.”
After completing the LSAT the second time, she was informed she earned a 169 out of 180, putting her in the 97th percentile of all testers. A month after the test, she started receiving emails in her inbox and letters in her mailbox from Yale, Duke, NYU, Notre Dame, Cornell University and other top-ranked law schools in the country asking her to apply.
“I can go anywhere I want now,” she said, with equal parts pride and surprise.
Growing up as an only child in the small town of Louisa, Muncy’s parents, Michael and Pam, knew they wanted their daughter to have a college education. Muncy certainly had an aptitude for academics, graduating from Lawrence County High School with a 4.0 as valedictorian.
She chose MSU because she liked the smaller size of the campus and the surrounding community and wanted to become a political journalist for NPR. She came to MSU on the Commonwealth Scholarship and after initially majoring in convergent media, she learned through film projects that she enjoyed the research more than the fieldwork. In the second semester of her freshman year, she switched her major to legal studies for both the career options in the legal field and the impact law has on society. She thinks the work that goes into being a good lawyer plays to her strengths as a student.
“I think I’m a good analytical thinker. I can look at all sides of an argument and I think it is fun to look at all sides of an argument,” she said.
Since becoming a legal studies major, Muncy has excelled in her classes while forming close bonds with her professors. It was Dr. Dianna Murphy, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of legal studies, who inspired Muncy to minor in Spanish the same as she did.
“I think the legal studies program definitely makes you ready for law school because it teaches you how to be a paralegal. I’ve basically taken all the classes I’m going to take my first year. All my professors taught me really well, so I think I will do really well in law school.”– Amethyst Muncy
Outside of the classroom, Muncy is a member of the Legal Studies Club and volunteers at the Pro Se Divorce Clinic in Morehead, a partnership with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass that helps provide legal assistance on divorce matters to members of underprivileged areas.
“I feel like if you’re from Eastern Kentucky or anywhere in Appalachia, really, you see a lot of disadvantaged people that don’t know the law well and don’t know their rights and you want to make a difference,” she said.
As she gets ready to graduate from MSU in the spring of 2020 and contemplates where to go to law school, Muncy is excited and nervous for what she is about to face, likely going from her usual small-town settings to a larger university and city. She said she would ultimately like to become a lawyer that works in civil rights or immigration, knowing the work she does could be a tremendous value for others.
“I think that money doesn’t really have a lot to do with it for me because I didn’t come from money or anything and I’ve had a great life,” she said. “I want to just try to help people in small ways or big ways if I can.”
To learn more about MSU’s legal studies program, contact the Department of History, Philosophy, Politics, Global Studies and Legal Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org, 606-783-2655 or visit www.moreheadstate.edu/study/legalstudies.