What was your passion in fourth grade? Could you make a career out of it?

For Michael Riecken of Plainfield, N.J., a crocodile created out of egg cartons welcomed him into the fascinating and complex world of Ancient Egypt. Years later, that childhood inspiration has taken him around the world to study ancient objects of great value and significance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the country’s top universities with Egyptology programs, as well as to excavation sites, including the Temple of Mut in Luxor, Egypt.

Riecken’s latest object of interest is a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law-Camden. A law degree will arm him with the intellectual resources to safeguard objects of antiquity or as he puts it “to protect the past.”

This act of safeguarding, though, becomes increasingly more challenging in an age when insurgencies or terrorist attacks can be funded by the same objects that he seeks to protect.

“I’m looking to guard objects from theft and provide the best stewardship possible.”

“Guns, drugs and antiquity are the top three sources for funding terrorism on the black market. This happens because the items are small, can be easily smuggled, and are often stored in places that are not well guarded,” says the rising second-year law student.

A legal education, including an emphasis on property law and tax law, will help Riecken in his personal mission to serve as a steward of the past. “I chose this school because of its international reputation, the personal attention the faculty gives to its students, the smaller class size, and my desire to practice law in the Mid-Atlantic Region,” he notes.