UCF Alumna Took the Bull by the Horns

Elizabeth Bertrand_EditedDSC02072 (2)Elizabeth Bertrand, ’09, came to UCF exploring several different majors but eventually found the perfect combination and graduated with two bachelor’s degrees — one in advertising-public relations and one in political science. She wasted no time taking the bull by the horns once she figured out her educational path at UCF, and started paving the way for her future.

“UCF allowed me to participate in various educational opportunities, which in turn helped me to find the right career path.”

Work experience was certainly not something Bertrand lacked by the time she graduated because of the many internship opportunities she pursued as a student. She attained multiple internships for both of her majors through which she was able to hone her skills. Her internships varied from working for companies like full-service ad agency Fry Hammond Barr, as a broadcast production intern, to the Florida Municipal Power Agency as a public relations intern. She also interned for several law firms and the Ninth Judicial Circuit as a legal and judicial intern.

Both of her majors and experiences played an important role in her success at law school and eventually in the opening of her own law firm.

“My advertising/public relations degree helped me to become a better writer, which has flowed through to my legal education. It also gave me the tools I needed to market my business. My political science degree helped prepare me for my eventual career path by helping me to understand the legal system of the United States, thus preparing me for law school. It provided me the opportunity to study the political systems of other countries around the world, which helped me to become a more open-minded person.”

Bertrand attended Stetson University College of Law and knew by the end of her second year that opening her own firm was something she wanted to do some day, especially because of the area of law in which she wanted to practice.

“Elder law is generally a small-firm practice, so, to have upward career mobility, opening my own practice was inevitable. Luckily, after graduation and taking the bar exam, a good friend from law school and I started discussing opening a firm. Brian C. Palumbo, Esq., my law partner, and I discussed the pros and the cons of going out on our own and, in the end, we knew opening a firm was the only choice for us. “

She is now the co-owner and president of Palumbo & Bertrand, P.A., a law firm serving the needs of Central Florida. Her practice includes helping the elderly and their families with the various issues they face, like long-term care planning, guardianships, and estate planning and administration.

“Having strong ties to the Orlando community through friends I made while attending UCF made opening my practice an even easier decision because I knew that I wanted to call Orlando my permanent home.”

The UCF Creed is Integrity, Scholarship, Community, Creativity and Excellence. Bertrand says the UCF Creed inspires her every day to do her best both personally and professionally.

“Personally, I strive to ensure I do the best I can with what I have. I also seek to give back to my community as much as possible. Professionally, as an attorney, the values of the UCF Creed are what drive me to constantly do my best to serve my clients. “

Bertrand stays connected to UCF by attending almost every football game when UCF plays at home. She has many fond memories that come from having been involved in student organizations like Ad Club, Knight Advertising, Golden Key International Honor Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. But, her best memory is the day she graduated.

“On that day, I reflected on how far I had come since my first day at UCF, and how much my experience at UCF shaped who I had become. Although it was bittersweet to leave UCF, I knew that I could always return and find the peace and inspiration it had provided me throughout my undergraduate career.”

When she was asked what advice she would give to current students, she said, “I would hope that they take the time to experience everything UCF has to offer, both educationally and socially. UCF put me on the path to success because of the countless opportunities to learn about new things, meet new people and try new experiences.”

As for alumni, she says, “Never forget where you came from and what UCF did for you. Take the time to reflect upon the years spent at UCF and how you grew as an individual during that time. Lastly, I would say, Go Knights!”

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