Judge | 190th District Court | Houston
Jennifer Elrod is currently judge of the 190th District Court in Houston’s Harris County. Elrod has served as a state court judge since 2002 and has recently been nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
During the course of her career as a judge she has presided over more than 200 jury and non-jury trials with the foremost goal of serving people and her community. Prior to becoming a judge, Elrod was an attorney in Houston at the top national firm, Baker Botts L.L.P.
One of Elrod‘s lifelong dreams was to help other people. Besides helping people on a
day-to-day basis in the court, she is involved in pro bono service and charitable causes. In private practice, Elrod served as a board member and chair of the Lone Star Legal Aid, one of the largest providers of legal aid services to the poor in Texas.
Elrod believes she received an excellent education at Baylor which prepared her for a legal career. Baylor professors did not only help her to build a strong character, but encouraged her to pursue her dreams. She was involved in honors programs and worked as a teaching assistant, which she feels helped her tremendously along her way to become a judge.
Today, she encourages students to live their dreams for whatever it is they have a passion for. Elrod stresses the importance of having mentors because they can change a student‘s decisions for the better. Economics is a broad field that involves numerous aspects of our lives, and understanding it can help people become “better lawyers, better doctors, better business people and better moms and dads.”
Spencer Carlstone | PELLA | BS and MS in Economics, 1998, 1999 | completed his family medicine residency program one year ago and began practicing as a physician for the Pella Regional Health Center in Pella, Iowa. As a family doctor in rural America, Carlstone provides healthcare and maintenance education for all ages, from obstetrical care and birthing babies to end-of-life care. He is engaged in clinical practice as well as hospital work.
The greatest challenge Carlstone has to face in his profession as a physician is to “balance his family life with his professional life, while keeping a healthy spiritual walk,” he says. Handling the esteem of this profession is one of the most interesting and difficult aspects of medicine he has experienced during his short career. He has learned that people look up to him, but at times have unrealistic expectations. After all, he admits “I can’t be all things to all people.”
Carlstone states that he highly values his profession because he “loves to take care of other people and make connections with them.” As a family doctor, he is involved in many aspects of their lives with the primary goal of improving their medical condition, perhaps ministering to the heart and soul in the process.
On his way to becoming a physician, Baylor prepared him well through its pre-med program, but also its economics degree. The Bachelor of Science in Economics provided a wide variety of future opportunities, but more importantly offers back-up options. He advises students to live their lives according to carpe diem (seize the day). “Enjoy each day because it is a gift,” says Carlstone.”Do all you can do to be prepared academically and spiritually, as the world is getting more complex and has great needs.”