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Aaron Ball Spotlight

Vijay Choksi

Vijay ChoksiSome see Vijay as a future thinker, others think he's out of this world, and some just see a typical law student. They might all be right.

As an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida, Vijay was selected as a Legislative Scholar and went to Tallahassee to work for Florida State Senator Thad Altman, chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee. Sen. Altman's district is home to many who work for NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. His work for the senator fed Vijay's love of space and technology. "Now that private companies like Space X and Boeing are building the rockets, NASA has freed its resources to focus on what it does best-research," he says. "They are probably the biggest innovator of our time."

Working in the Florida Senate also sharpened Vijay's networking skills, important for a law student. "I made sure that I arrived and left happy every day and always stuck my head in other offices to say 'hello,'" he reflects. "And if there was food being served, I was there eating and talking to everyone in the room." His outgoing quality helped get him elected to the Student Bar Association. "My candidate statement for second-year elections was a freestyle, something I've been doing since I was a teenager. I suppose it made me relatable," Vijay shares. He also serves as one of six governors for the Florida Bar's Young Lawyers Division Law School Division, an organization he sees as a powerful networking opportunity.

Vijay admires his Lawyering Skills & Values teacher, Prof. Camille Lamar. "Class was at 9:00 am and she would be absolutely ready for us, cheerful and upbeat, as if there were no problems in the world," he describes her. After his first semester of law school, Vijay applied for a law clerk position using writing samples from Prof. Lamar's class. "She helped me get this job by pushing me to do my best," he claims. Vijay works in the legal department for Seal Shield, a corporation that makes antimicrobial products and infection control products for the health care industry. He likes the intellectual property aspects of his work and finds the technology of Seal Shield a good fit for his interests.

"Law school can be stressful," declares Vijay, "I constantly hear my father's voice reminding me 'don't sweat the small stuff.'" He makes sure to have regular work-outs at the University's RecPlex fitness center and does his freestyle raps. One day in his first-year Criminal Law class, Prof. Joseph Harbaugh called on him. "I wasn't well prepared and blanked so I slipped into a rap to summarize the case at hand," he admits. "My classmates loved it but I don't think it went over well with Prof. Harbaugh. He called on me again next class-I was better prepared that time." Vijay remains with his five-person study group from his first semester. "They are my law school family."

Space law is where Vijay sees himself headed. He attended the 2012 International Space Development Conference where he met Dr. Ben Goertzel, a scientist, a writer, lecturer, and commentator on space development and colonization. "As we use up the resources on our planet," says Vijay, "we have no choice but to go up." In addition to the research and technologies to make that happen, humans living in and developing space creates a new set of legal questions. "That's where I want to be."

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