TULSA, Okla. ─ Julie Hildebrand graduated Friday (Dec. 19) with a 3.48 grade point average after only two years at the University of Tulsa law school.
The pretty, 24-year old Jenks resident has already accepted a contingent job offer at Occidental Petroleum in Houston.
Hildebrand is among the brightest graduates – she calls herself a nerd -- but she won’t be the tallest student.
Hildebrand has a rare form of dwarfism called 3M syndrome.
“My disability is part of me, but it’s not who I am,” Hildebrand explained. “If anything, it’s made me stronger. It’s made me learn how to overcome things and adapt very quickly.”
Raised to be self-reliant, she hesitated before contacting the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation for help with law school tuition, a laptop and adaptations for her vehicle.
“There’s no doubt that I would have to work harder without DRS and my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor C. J. Hurlbut,” she said. “He’s provided a lot of emotional support and helped advise me when I wasn’t sure about my path or direction.”
Though Hildebrand worked and supported herself while attending undergraduate school, she credits DRS with helping her finish law school in a shorter time span than would have been possible if she continued to work full time.
“Because of DRS I was also able to choose what I’m going to do for the rest of my life without worrying about having the right money to pay off my student loans.”
“Julie Hildebrand has been a delight to work with and has truly been a model client,” C. J. Hurlbut said. “Not only has she been exceptionally successful, she has never complained about the many challenges she has in day to day life with her small stature. Instead, she takes pride in her ability and determination to overcome those barriers she encounters.”