Achieving Dream after Endurance and Sacrifice for Country

As a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, Major Carmen J. Quesenberry attended WMU-Cooley while serving as the Company Commander for her Reserve Unit in Virginia and is currently serving as the Executive Officer (XO) for the Army Reserve 3rd Battalion, 95th Regiment (Signal) located in New Mexico.

Quesenberry credits her law school and military experience for teaching her the tenacity and resiliency to persevere. After facing myriad obstacles due to service connected injuries, it was during her attendance at WMU-Cooley that MAJ Quesenberry learned to overcome the stigma of having a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in order to build her confidence to excel in law school and ultimately pass the bar exam.

“Attending WMU-Cooley was a remarkable experience as it helped me to fully accept and understand my disability so that I could succeed.”

While deployed as the 335th Signal University Commandant and Command’s Special Victim Advocate in the Middle East, Quesenberry first took the Michigan Bar Exam and missed passing by two points. After returning from her deployment, she unfortunately suffered from another service-connected TBI due to a Military Sexual Trauma (MST). She refused to let this dissuade her from her goal of becoming an attorney. She continued to take the bar exam between her work schedule and deployments, and ultimately succeeded in July 2020.

During a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 23, 2020, WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Michael McDaniel, along with retired WMU-Cooley Professor Nancy A. Wonch, made the motion to allow Quesenberry to practice law in Michigan before the Hon. Rosemarie E. Aquilina.

McDaniel, a retired Brigadier General, served 27 years in the Army National Guard and Judge Aquilina retired as a Major after serving 20 years in the Michigan Army National Guard’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. “Because my Army family is a significant part of my life, it was extremely important to me to have other veterans as a part of my ceremony. These individuals recognize the sacrifices that come with serving, understand the significance of true grit and provided me examples to live up to.” stated Quesenberry.

I am extremely proud to finally be a member of the Michigan Bar. For all individuals, especially veterans, who have suffered mental or physical setbacks, no matter the circumstance, I am here to assure you that you WILL reach your goals and dreams if you continue to work hard and never, ever give up. My ability to continue forward and reach this milestone was due to the support I had from each and every person in my life - mentors, friends and family.”

“Placing Carmen’s name for admission to the bar was a special honor for me,” said McDaniel. “The best part of my job as a Professor and Associate Dean is being afforded the opportunity to motion the court for the admission of our students, especially those who have served our country, to the Michigan State Bar.”

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