Shelisa Thomas received a B.S. in Management from Purdue University Northwest (PNW) in 2014 and stayed on to receive a B.S. in Business, along with concentrations in Accounting, Management Information Systems, Business Analytics, and Finance in 2016. She then earned her Juris Doctor in 2019 from Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law where she graduated cum laude and earned the Courage Award for overcoming substantial barriers in accessing and completing law school.
While at PNW, Shelisa earned the Chancellor’s Medallion and won the Outstanding Research Award and the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Honors College. Shelisa also presented her research at the Annual Honors Research Exhibition, led a Diversity Discussion, facilitated the Honors College Research Journal Think Tank, served as the Appreciation Coordinator, and participated on a number of committees. She notes that her Honors College experience “provided a platform that enabled her to enhance the quality of her communication skills, adopt a new way of thinking and problem solving, and expand her personal and professional network.”
Currently, Shelisa is a PILI Fellow at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic in the Center for Wrongful Convictions of Youth where she represents indigent clients who were wrongfully convicted of heinous crimes as juveniles. She also works part-time for the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program, where she provides administrative, academic, and professional support to women of color law students to aid in their development as successful lawyers in Big Law. Furthermore, she owns and operates a small automotive and document preparation business. Upon completion of her fellowship, she will be an Associate at the international, legal giant: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Over the years, she has worked in Big Law, public interest law, accounting (i.e., tax, financial planning, audit, financial accounting), data analytics, project management, business development, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, she has conducted empirical, applied, theoretical, and legal research that has focused on social and legal issues, such as the death penalty for drug dealers, Indiana’s public-school funding structure’s relationship with wealth and race, Chicago homicide patterns, business ethics, etc. Some of her early research was facilitated through the Honors College and ultimately resulted in her acquiring funding and winning multiple research awards.
Shelisa has been recognized for extensive community involvement and was cited in Kristen Sonday’s article Northwestern Law Class of 2019 Public Service Stars on What Inspired Them to Take on Pro Bono Work. Dr. John Rowan, former dean of the Honors College currently serving as Provost at LSU-Alexandria, insisted that she take more personal time and take it easy; thus, when she is not working and helping others, Shelisa enjoys spending time with her 3 kids, dog, and cat.