Zaneta Adams Honored with Student Great Deeds Award for Service to Country and Community
November 20, 2012 – Cooley Law School's Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism honored Grand Rapids campus student Zaneta Adams with the Student Great Deeds Award on Friday, Nov. 16.
Cooley bestows this award to recognize students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the service of others. The program accepts nominations from classmates, staff, faculty, and community members who witness students going above and beyond in the area of public service, whether through long-term commitment or through a single act of great service.
"It has been just one year since Zaneta started her law school career and already she has made a huge impact on our campus and west Michigan," noted Karen Rowlader, Assistant Director of the Center. "Even before Zaneta came to Grand Rapids, she was going above and beyond in the area of community service and service to her country."
Adams served in the U.S. Army for eight years. She was injured in 2005 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, when, just before deploying, she fell 11 feet off a truck while doing a combat training maneuver. After two back surgeries, the soldier was told she would never walk again. Rowlader said Adams thought her service to her county and to others was over.
"Well, she fought strong and hard through rehabilitation, and we have evidence today that the doctors underestimated her determination and tenacity," Rowlader reported.
Adams has since used her talents as a singer and songwriter to raise awareness of the needs of our nation's returning service men and women. In 2010, she traveled throughout the county, singing the National Anthem as a representative of the Wounded Warriors Project. She even has had opportunities to open concerts, and record with Grammy Award winners Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, and Gretchen Wilson.
Adams' work supporting veterans has continued during her time at Cooley. Rowlader noted that Adams is working on founding a national nonprofit organization called Women Injured in Combat, or WINC. Efforts are focused on programming assistance and support for affected service women.
Adams is president of the Cooley Veterans Corps, with an agenda of starting a pro bono program to assist veterans on a monthly basis at the local Veterans Administration office. She has also taken steps to assist in learning how to start a Veteran's Court in Kent County.
Adams has been instrumental in establishing a Veterans Day Program that is becoming a tradition at Cooley. The luncheon is attended by homeless veterans, members of the legislature, and others, all showing support and appreciation for military service and those who serve our veterans.
She is an advocate and spokesperson for Challenge America, a national initiative that connects the military and military families with resources in their own communities; and for Folds of Honor, a nonprofit that offers scholarships and support for dependents of fallen soldiers. She also serves as a state contact on veterans for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.
In addition to her military work, Adams is president of the Black Law Students Association at the Grand Rapids campus, and has served as a graduate assistant in the Academic Resource Center and a Cooley Ambassador. She has made the Dean's List each term, was a First-Year Mock Trial Competition winner, and a top sixth best advocate in the Intra-School Moot Court competition during the summer. Adams and her husband Joe have six children.
About Cooley Law School: Founded in 1972, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 16,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.