By Shelby Longland, ‘13

For Justin Haskins, C’10, graduating from the Paralegal Studies program at the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies has been among the most important steps on his path to success. “SPCS really inspired and prepared me to be a force for good in the world,” he explains.

Before enrolling in the program, Haskins was a student at Providence College in Rhode Island. He says he was lured to Richmond by many factors, citing the “excellent reputation, beautiful campus, and friendly staff” of the University.

While at Richmond, Haskins excelled in the Paralegal Studies program and earned the William Marshall Book Award, an honor given to the best student of the program. Haskins offers his professors some of the credit for his success, noting their passion and experience: “Professors are often full-time professionals who genuinely want to help their students learn from real life experiences and who teach because they love to teach.”

A strong academic foundation from experienced professionals left Haskins feeling confident about his future pursuits. Since graduating from Richmond in 2010, Haskins has used this strong paralegal studies foundation to build an impressive life and career. He claims “when I left the University of Richmond, I didn’t think I had what it took to be successful in the world, I knew I did.”

After graduation, Haskins earned a master’s degree in government from Regent University. He moved to Chicago with his wife and now attends Northern Illinois University where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science.  Haskins is also the managing editor of an academic journal titled African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review.

In addition to notable academic and career accomplishments, Haskins has made remarkable strides in becoming a “force for good in the world.” Haskins, along with his wife, a medical school student, started a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Alliance for Medical Aid (ALMA). He claims this organization as his proudest accomplishment.

The goal of ALMA is to cooperate with other non-profits and religious groups to provide medical supplies that have been discarded by United States hospitals (but are still usable) to poor regions of the world. “The reality is that there are millions of dollars of perfectly usable medical supplies just sitting in warehouses across the United States, and our goal is to get those supplies into the hands of those people who need them most,” Haskins explains.

In the summer of 2012, ALMA organized its first delivery with another non-profit called PhilosHealth. Haskins and his wife, Jackie Corley, delivered nearly 400 pounds of various medical supplies to a rural island in the Philippines. Corley worked for a week with the surgeons and doctors on the island to ensure proper distribution and use of the supplies.

Haskins has worked tirelessly to get to this point in his life, and has needed some help along the way. Even after graduating from SPCS, he has felt connected to and supported by the Richmond community. “I approached past professors and mentors countless times and was never once turned away whenever I needed a jumpstart on a new project or a recommendation for a job or graduate school.”

Already boasting such an extraordinary résumé, it is exciting to think of the possibilities in Haskins’ future. First, he plans to complete his Ph.D. program while continuing to grow his non-profit organization. After receiving his degree, Haskins hopes to work for a think-tank in policy development. Although the specific accomplishments in Haskins’ future aren’t certain, he knows that he will continue to be successful and make a positive impact on the world, explaining that he now sees himself as “a force for good in the world, and that is exactly what I intend on being for the rest of my life.”

Photo by Justin Haskins depicting Haskins unpacking donated medical supplies for ALMA.