Michelle Sposito says there’s no need to cringe if you receive a call from the compliance office. A major part of the office’s work is to provide education and resources to the university community.
I’ve always taken pride in being a UNLV graduate (’01 BA Communication Studies, member of the Honors College), so it was an easy sell when a position opened to work here. I am honored to have the opportunity to give back to the university through my work.
Where did you grow up and what was that like?
I grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio’s capital, called Worthington. There’s a strong sense of community in Worthington. It has all the attractions and conveniences of a big city, but still maintains its small-town charm.
What are some of your job duties?
My title is investigator in the office of compliance. In that role I work to ensure that the university complies with state and federal laws in areas such as Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Specifically, I investigate allegations from students, staff, and faculty regarding violations of these laws.
What inspired you to get into your field?
I was inspired to get into the legal profession because I’ve always wanted to help people navigate difficult situations, and find resolutions. Working in the compliance field allows me to do that, just in a different capacity. I earned my law degree at Capital University Law School in Ohio in 2005.
One of my proudest moments was arguing in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and receiving a unanimous decision in favor of my clients. This decision prevented the state of Ohio from implementing new regulations that conflicted with federal law and that would limit required, medically necessary treatment for children with autism.
This case impacted a large number of children in Ohio and helped pave the road for others nationwide. I am so happy I was able to make a difference in the lives of those families.
Finish this sentence. If I couldn’t work in my current field, I would like to…
work in international human rights and/or head a nonprofit organization to work with at-risk youth.
Tell us about an object in your office that has significance for you and why.
On my desk I have a small globe with gemstones on it that was given to me by my grandmother when I got my first job as an attorney in Ohio. Together we traveled all over the world. She never met a stranger, treated each person she met with genuine compassion, and always looked at things positively. That globe is a great reminder of her wonderful qualities and the travels we enjoyed together.
Who is your hero?
My mother. She taught me the value of education, determination, being independent, and having a positive outlook on life. She helped me see that some things in life are just speed bumps or forks in the road, and to approach those situations as an opportunity to create something better.
Pastime or hobbies?
Dancing and listening to live music, traveling, and spending time with my family.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I was a world champion competitive baton twirler. Baton twirling is what initially brought me to UNLV. I was the featured twirler for the Star of Nevada marching band when I was an undergraduate student. Twirling also has taken me across the country and all over the world, including performing and instructing in Tokyo, Japan, each summer for over a decade.