Portrait of Ephemian Bailey '25

Setting the Standard

Student Stories
June 26, 2024
Ephemian Bailey '25 has a plan to complete her bachelor's and law degrees within six years
Portrait of Ephemian Bailey '25

Ephemian Bailey ‘25 doesn’t do anything without a plan. “I always try to have a plan A, a plan B and a plan C,” she said. 

Growing up in Minnesota, the daughter of Liberian parents, Bailey knew she wanted to continue playing sports in college, and knew she wanted to go to law school after completing her bachelor’s degree.

She was in high school when Fitchburg State’s women’s basketball coach scouted her online. Intrigued, she took a deeper look at the school and discovered its pre-law programs, including the six-year joint degree program offered by Fitchburg State and the Massachusetts School of Law (MSLAW) in Andover.

Through the program, students complete 90 credits at Fitchburg State before matriculating at MSLAW. The first year of MSLAW credits apply to the student’s bachelor’s degree at Fitchburg State, and then they complete their law school coursework over the following two years. The net result is two degrees in six years, saving a year from the traditional model.

“To finish school a year early and start law school is important to me,” said Bailey, whose undergraduate degree will be in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in pre-law (and a minor in political science). She credits her advisor, Professor Paul Weizer, with explaining the details of the program and successfully guiding her to this moment. “Dr. Weizer has been with me every step of the way.”

Bailey’s law school journey starts this fall. She is excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead, but made the most of her three years on the Fitchburg State campus, including breaking the school record for discus on the women’s track and field team.

“Coming here, I didn’t know anyone except for my family in Rhode Island,” she said. Sports would give her an immediate circle of friends. “It made me feel like I was already welcome.”

There were other benefits that lasted even after she switched sports from basketball to track and field.

“I thrive on structure and being organized,” she said. “Athletics holds you accountable for what you have to accomplish, even though it is a lot of work.”

Bailey was also keen to study abroad, and spent the Fall 2023 semester in Ireland with support from the university’s Zimmerman Scholarship. She took six classes while overseas, and while it was a lot of work, she was determined to keep on track with her accelerated degree plan.

“My parents are supporting me 1000%,” she said. “Being the first born, I’ll also be the first generation to go to law school. I’m setting the standard for my brothers.”

Bailey plans to return to Fitchburg State next May to collect her bachelor’s degree diploma in person.