Student Spotlight: Nick Moulton

He walked down the hallways of his high school, looking for direction like most seniors do as they prepare to embark on life as adults. Then, a friend who had found his own path persuaded him to take a leap. The Marine Corps would be former Sergeant Nick Moulton’s most critical decision, sending him around the world and preparing him to enter law school and a professional career.

Nick Moulton grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and only moved away for the first time when he left for Parris Island in South Carolina to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. The Marine Corps recruited him from his high school wrestling team along with a few friends, and he served from 2009 to 2013.

Moulton toured in Afghanistan in 2012. He also traveled to teach Philippines military forces how the U.S. handles using non-lethal deterrents on innocent parties in heated situations. The food was reportedly delicious in the Philippines, and he even tried snake, which had the “flaky texture of fish and tasted like gator.”

Clearly an adventurous man, he mentioned conquering the planet’s highest active volcano.

“I climbed Mount Fuji. I have a stick from doing that, which was branded at every rest station as you climbed higher altitudes,” Moulton said.

Moulton, left, holding his DD-214 next to his friend, signaling the end of four years of faithful service.

Another one of his unique achievements was earning a medal from running an annual exercise to maintain the viability of certain Marine Corps technology and skills, including amphibious landings. He was the noncommissioned officer (NCO) at the help desk, coordinating the communication between different groups and their objectives, which helped him see strategy from a more macro perspective.

He was also part of the ongoing efforts to help maintain peace along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Moulton and his friends at the top of Mount Fuji, leaning on his prized, embellished walking stick.

 

Moulton has a deep appreciation for his Marine Corps background, saying it prepared him for being successful in graduate school.

“The Marine Corps is different because every other branch has its distinct purpose, whether its naval warfare, air warfare,” Moulton said. “It’s a combination of the other branches in a more mobile package.”

He discussed how his family-oriented NCO in Okinawa, Japan, invited everyone over for a large Christmas gathering because she knew how hard it could be to be away from home during the holidays.

“That was a huge moment because of the transition to being overseas and being so far away from everything I knew,” Moulton said. “It was all so alien and disconnected, the comforts you’d grown up with were gone. She was the first person that made me feel at home.”

As an undergraduate at UF, Moulton took advantage of the language and study abroad programs and managed to become a fluent German speaker. He said he was enthused to be speaking, reading and listening in German.

“[The study abroad program was] really conducive to the objective of learning the language,” Moulton said. “I took two years of German in high school and didn’t learn anything. I had a 22-year-old teaching assistant at UF, and I learned more in a month than I did as a high school student.”

When he was in Germany he had a game of trying to keep the conversation in German with locals, in which he would keep on speaking in German until someone would catch on to him not being a local. In that case, they automatically switched to English, eager to practice their own language skills.

He achieved a standard of intermediate language proficiency, according to his TELC (The European Language Certificates) certification, which is recognized in the European Union and proves his capacity to speak fluently about familiar topics.

Moulton, right, with his friend Chris in Bad Staffelstein in Bavaria, Chris’ hometown.

When asked about how he chose law school, he mentioned that a non-combat-related lower-back injury meant that he could not fulfill his regular marine duties like he did before.

Moulton is passionate about serving the community to protect people from social injustices and uncaring authoritarian governments, just as the military protects Americans from physical harm. He is interested in public interest law, having already acted as a legal observer at the Richard Spencer event that occurred on Oct. 19.

The objective was to represent the people protesting Spencer and to be there in case law enforcement officers abridged any of their rights. The observers were on the lookout to annotate any occurrences, such as unlawful orders to disperse directed at the protesters. Luckily, nothing happened that day.

“My understanding of [the] law is that it’s there to protect people that don’t have power, to give a voice to people that otherwise don’t have a voice,” he said.

About Julia Nahhas 4 Articles
Julia Nahhas is a 1L at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Originally from Miami Beach, she moved away when she was seven and bounced around between Florida and Malaysia, among other places. She hopes to incorporate her love of languages and her passion for helping people into a career in human rights or international law. A proud Double Gator, she wanted to stay in Gainesville to enjoy the springs, camping, and outdoors for another three years.