When Ramona Taylor, L’00, separated from her husband, she quickly learned how difficult it can be for a woman without means to get legal services. So she went to a legal library, researched, and presented her own case. Impressed, the judge suggested she apply to law school.

The judge’s advice was the push she needed. “I had all these people to care for,” she says. “I wanted to improve their lives, but I also wanted to be a mother they could be proud of.”

And she is. In February of this year, she became an assistant attorney general and legal counsel for Virginia State University, the historically black land-grant institution near Petersburg, Va.

At VSU, she says, “It’s different every day.” She deals with employment issues, grants and contracts worth millions, real estate issues, and a wide range of questions to research, analyze, and decide.

Taylor also has managed to pursue her passion of screenwriting and film production. One of her screenplays, Respite, was a finalist in the Virginia Screenwriting Competition in 2008.

In 2014 and 2015, her short film Bruehm’s Closet was screened at film festivals across the country.

“People believe that once you have a family you can’t change your destiny,” she says. “And it’s not true. … Every day you wake up is an opportunity to do something really amazing."