Jammin’ Knight Takes on Circuit Court

University of Central Florida political science alumnus Matthew Baker has been busy since his graduation in May 2009. His journey has taken him all over Florida, but some of his fondest experiences were here at UCF.

“I played trombone in the Marching Knights from 2006-2008 and was on Student Staff in 2007 and 2008,” Baker said. “I also played trombone for the Jammin’ Knights for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.”

Hailing from a small, agricultural community in Southwest Florida, his academic career at UCF led him to experience the world like never before. According to Baker, UCF’s diversity is what sparked his interest in helping those less fortunate.

“I really enjoyed the variety of classes and perspectives from both the students and professors at UCF,” he said. “One of the benefits of being at a large school is diverse exposure to the outside world.”

After his graduation, Baker took advantage of living in Orlando and held a full-time job working at Walt Disney World. He took this time to prepare for the next step in his academic journey. In fall 2010, Baker began law school at University of Florida. After earning his law degree, he moved back to Orlando where he began working as an Assistant Public Defender at the Ninth Circuit Public Defender’s Office.

“My first assignment was defending those accused of misdemeanors in County Court, but I have moved up to defend those accused of felonies in a Circuit Court division for the last two years,” he said.

Baker enjoys his job because there’s something new every day. He also appreciates meeting interesting clients and facing new legal issues in his cases.

Currently, Baker volunteers as a coach for the UCF Mock Trial Team. He plans on continuing coaching in the future and hopes to become an adjunct professor. He wants to share what he has learned and allow others to have some of the same opportunities he was given at UCF.

“The UCF community was a big reason I wanted to come back to Orlando after graduating law school,” Baker said. “I love the city and its people. The UCF community gave me a taste of Central Florida and I’m proud to now call Orlando my home.”

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