Kristina Kiik: The Tower Center Launched my Career

My time at the SMU Tower Center was (and still is) one I treasure.  I didn’t’ expect to attend SMU.  In fact, I enrolled at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University my freshman year.  It wasn’t a good fit, despite how everything looked on paper.

I still remember my conversation with Professor James (Jim) Hollifield when I considered transferring back to my hometown of Dallas and SMU.  Full disclosure, this was not my plan. He told me I could achieve the same International Studies degree at the Tower Center as I could have had at Georgetown.  I was a skeptical teenager, but I took his bet.

President George W. Bush and Kristina Kiik

And he was right.  When I think about my graduation and the internships, jobs, and professors who mentored me during my time at Tower Center, I can’t think of a better place I would have wanted to be to launch my professional career.  I think about Professor Wilson and how he entrusted with me with going all over North Texas searching for the “public interest file” for the various media networks during presidential campaigns as his research assistant.  I think about Professor Lusztig and how he challenged me to view international trade from another country’s perspective, and not just from mine.  And I think about Professor Jillson, whom I still email every time I see him commenting on national or local news of the day.  I think about all these people because what makes the Tower Center great is not the space – it’s the people.

I graduated with three majors, two minors, Phi Beta Kappa, and lifetime of friendships and professional connections.  There are few schools out there that offer the opportunity to work hard and succeed.  The Tower Center is one of them.  I’m proud to be a part of their legacy.

Kristina Kiik ’06, ’10 is a commercial litigator practicing in the Dallas area. While at SMU, she received a B.A. in Political Science, International Studies, and Public Policy and was awarded the John Goodwin Tower Award for academic excellence and leadership in political science.  In 2010, she graduated cum laude from the SMU Dedman School of Law, where she was an editor of the SMU Law Review, a member of the Phillip C. Jessup International Maw Moot Court team, and a member of Phi Delta Phi legal honors fraternity. At age 21, Kristina was the youngest presidential elector in U.S. history for the state of Texas. Currently, Kristina serves on The Hockaday School Alumnae Board of Directors, the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Board, and is an active member of the Junior League of Dallas, and Attorneys Serving the Community.

To learn more about the SMU Tower Center and what it is doing to inspire and empower students, go here.