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After Serving His Country and New York City, Gene Dirks '17 Pursues a Joint Degree at St. John’s Law

Meet the 1Ls
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Service to country and community has been a cornerstone of Gene Dirks’ professional life since he enlisted in the US Army in 2004. Over his nine-year military career, he served on active duty—including on deployment in Iraq—and then as a reservist. While still in the Army Reserve, he joined the New York City Police Department, where he was assigned to the 90th Precinct in his native Brooklyn.

With a strong interest in criminal justice, Gene had thought about attending law school for years. “After leaving both the Army and the NYPD in 2013, I was able to use the GI Bill® and the Yellow Ribbon Program at St. John’s,” Gene says. Now enrolled in one of the Law School’s joint degree programs, he is pursuing a J.D. along with an M.A. in Government & Politics. “These programs come together very well to help me focus on my interests in national security, counterterrorism, and military law,” he says.

Gene is quick to point out that his St. John’s education is a family affair. He credits his wife, Mary Grace, who cares for their three young children during the day and works nights as an ER nurse. And he gets study support from his father, Joseph Dirks ’77, who earned his J.D. at St. John’s and went on to become a battalion chief with the New York City Fire Department. “I couldn’t do any of this without my family, friends, and my St. John’s classmates,” Gene says. “We help each other get through.”