Rutgers Law School celebrates Veteran's Day with profiles of student veterans, including two from the Newark campus.

                                                                   Casey Perrelli

Casey Perrelli may come from a military family—her father was in the U.S. Marine Corps and both of her grandfathers served in the U.S. Army—but she didn’t explore the military for herself until high school when she was offered an Army ROTC scholarship to Seton Hall University.

In 2020, Perrelli graduated with dual degrees in economics and diplomacy and international relations and accepted a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in its Manhattan field office.

Perrelli, who is co-chair of the Criminal Law Society, arrived at Rutgers Law School in Newark with an interest in criminal law and is also exploring commercial litigation. She expects to graduate in 2025.

Through it all, she has relied on lessons she learned while serving in the military. “I’m used to briefing generals and colonels, and it’s not that different from arguing in front of a judge,” she says. “Some of my classes focused on oral advocacy, and I already felt comfortable doing that because of my experience in the Army.” 

Rutgers Law student Travis Collins joined the military in 2011 and today serves part-time in the NJ Army National Guard as a combat medic. He’s currently a sergeant, assigned to the 1-114th Infantry Battalion’s Headquarters Company in Woodbury, New Jersey, where he helps run medical training classes, oversees supply, and provides general administrative support.

Rutgers Law School was a natural progression for Collins, he says. “I did my undergrad at Rutgers,” he says. “It’s close to my home and work, and Rutgers has a great policy of working with state and federal military education benefits.” 

                                                      Travis Collins

Collins, who expects to graduate in 2026, began his law school journey in Newark with 15 years of experience working as a litigation paralegal but, as a second-year night student finishing his required courses, he's still determining his career path. 

In the meantime, Collins is focusing on the task in front of him. “Being a night student with a full-time job and part-time military obligations definitely requires some creative time management,” he says, “but the self-discipline I’ve learned in the military has been key in being able balance it all and do well.”