When you talk to Sharilyn Hunter, it's not hard to recognize her inspiring example as a non-traditional student who succeeded at Ensign College. A busy mom of four, she works on-call, has a heart the size of Lake Powell, and is also the proud recipient of a Paralegal Certificate from Ensign College.
Sometimes life’s twists and turns point you in a direction you never expected. How she came to this point in her life is simultaneously heartwarming and alarming. Her service to the downtrodden is heartwarming; the reasons why her chosen path is needed are alarming.
Sharilyn recently agreed to share her impressive story with us.
Talk about your decision to become a victim’s advocate. Was this something that came as a spiritual prompting or was there someone close to you whom you learned was left alone during their time of need and you saw an opportunity to help others during their struggle?
My decision to become a victim’s advocate stems from my own personal experience going through the court system. I had a victim’s advocate help me when I went through the process. It was through her compassion to me that I was led on this path.
I was able to volunteer in my county as a victim’s advocate for four years. It was during that time I was able to give back to my community and I also felt healing in my own personal life. After moving to Utah, I was able to continue victim advocacy through an internship and then working for a local police department. I have been able to use what I went through to bring hope and peace to others who have gone through a hard trial.
You studied at Ensign College to become a Paralegal. Did you do this as an extension of your victim advocacy, or is becoming a Paralegal a separate path for you?
I decided to do the paralegal program because I found, when looking for a job, I needed some sort of certificate. I didn’t have an education beyond high school. I used this as an opportunity to learn the law and, especially, Utah laws for sexual crimes. This helped me gain the knowledge I needed to better serve victims of crime.
You have a growing and active family. What’s a normal day like for you being a mother, wife, and victim’s advocate?
In August 2021 I was offered a job at the Rape Recovery Center as a Hospital Response Advocate in Salt Lake County. I work on call doing day shifts during the week. So, a typical day that I am on call is I am at home taking care of family needs until I am called out to a Code-R at a hospital. These call outs usually last between 4-6 hours. I never know when a call will come through but, when they do, I have to leave right away. I am pretty lucky to have a husband who supports me and is willing to take on additional responsibilities when I leave for a call out.
In your opinion, how prepared are Ensign College students for the rigors of the real world and the workplace?
Ensign College helps prepare students for the real world by hiring teachers who work in the professions that are being offered at the college. Doing this gives students a glimpse into what the workforce is actually like. It also encourages them to dress for the job you are wanting. There is a standard of expectations that is there to help set the tone of a future work environment.