Alum advice: make sure you keep the ‘right people’

A Criminal Justice major might say the best lesson they learned in college is the importance of evidence or a certain investigative principle.
Seton Hall Alum Kristen Hardy (07’) kept it simple: she said the best lesson she learned at SHU was “the importance of keeping the right people around.”

Photo courtesy of Kristen Hardy

Hardy graduated with a B.A. in Criminal Justice, becoming a lawyer, and now working as a Compliance Counselor at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee.

Her biggest influences include her SHU track teammates, her friends who have supported her in her endeavors, and Seton Hall’s Dr. John Paitakes and Dr. Robert Pallitto. She credits these professors for increasing her interest in law school “due to their passion for it.”

Additionally, they helped her to see how her personal skill set would benefit her as a lawyer. Palitto, associate professor and chair of Political Science and Public Affairs, says Hardy has a strong work ethic and her best quality was “her ability to apply material she learned in class to concrete settings and conflicts in the world.”

He hopes she will maintain her commitment to social justice, as she did while she was a part of the executive board of the National Council of Negro Women at SHU.

Law school was not always in Hardy’s plan. She says she had played with the idea and held it in the back of her head, but it was not until she started taking biology classes that she confirmed law and forensics was her passion.

“I realized I was more attracted to how forensics fit into the grand scheme of legal proceedings,” she said.

She added that the biggest lesson she learned from Marquette University Law School that she carries with her now is “how important it is to show up. By show up, I mean put your best foot forward in everything you do. I think people underestimate what showing up can do for you.”
Hardy now works as an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School.

Hardy’s background in criminal justice laid a strong foundation for her to enter law school and her career with Rockwell Automation. It gave her the ability to work internships at courthouses, which ultimately lead her to understand how the justice system works and how she would contribute as a lawyer.

Her position as a compliance counselor was created after she held a two year investigator position. She added she was drawn to this current position because of the blend of “corporate compliance, ethics investigations, legal/regulatory challenges, and strategy developing and promoting an ethical company culture.”

Hardy’s day-to-day schedule varies with the global company, so her tasks range from reviewing policies to advising the business of legal, regulatory, or code of conduct issues.

Former friend and teammate Shamika Kentish said that aside from Hardy’s strong work ethic, she enjoyed her company. As she continues on her career path, Kentish encourages Hardy “to continue working as hard as she is and always take the road less traveled. Show the world what it means to be a Seton Hall Pirate!”

Erika Szumel can be reached at

Author: Erika Szumel

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