Law Lion Ambassadors

As the face of Penn State's Dickinson Law, our Law Lion Ambassadors are student leaders who promote the betterment of the school through student involvement in various recruitment and development activities. All of our Law Lion Ambassadors serve as role models within the Law School community and beyond. With their diverse interests and backgrounds, they are well equipped to answer your questions about law school in general and Dickinson Law in particular. Feel free to explore their profiles and connect with them directly. Remember, our ambassadors are full-time law students who keep busy with classes, studying, and serving our law school. If for some reason you don’t receive a response to your question within 48 hours, feel free to contact our admissions team.

Meet Our Law Lion Ambassadors

Giovanna Brackbill '20

Giovanna Brackbill

Giovanna Brackbill '20

Lancaster, PA
Email: gxo21@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Public Interest, International Law

Undergraduate Study:
Lebanon Valley College

Campus and Community Involvement:
Bethesda Mission Legal Clinic, Health Law & Policy Society, Latinx Law Student Association, Public Interest Law Fund, Women's Law Caucus

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The alumni are very willing to mentor students. Be sure to attend networking events and connect with these amazing individuals. Additionally, I really appreciate all of the time and effort that the professors put into designing the curriculum to prepare us for life after law school.

Why Dickinson Law?:
The school impressed me from the first moment I stepped foot on campus. It almost seemed too good to be true. But sure enough, the people really ARE this friendly, the class sizes are intimate, and the town of Carlisle is centrally located in Pennsylvania, so I am close to my hometown but also within a reasonable distance of Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Internship:
During the summer after my 1L year, I worked as a Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network MLK Intern at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Law Project (PULP) in Harrisburg. Through this internship, I learned how to make a difference by approaching the issues facing my clients using more than one method. Not only does PULP take a bottom-up approach with its crisis hotline and advocating before the administrative law judges on behalf of Pennsylvania’s low-income residential utility and energy consumers, but it also uses a top-down method by shaping public policy and opening dialogue with the utility companies.

Favorite Course:
Professor Terry’s Context and Competencies course allowed me the opportunity to build my professional portfolio and think critically about my future career. This class is designed to connect students with experienced practitioners so you can ask them questions about what it is really like to work in their field.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Take advantage of the incredible resources that are available to you, including career services, student organizations, guest speakers, volunteer opportunities, and wellness events.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
In addition to its rich history, Carlisle has a farmers market, car shows, and local events that promote small businesses. Compared to some nearby cities, Carlisle's lower cost of living and slower pace make it conducive to a student's lifestyle (and budget!). Coffee shops and micro-breweries are popping up around town and diversifying the options for where you can go to study or spend an evening off.

On Choosing A Law School:
I wish I had known that you cannot do everything. Rather than worrying about picking a school that has dozens of options for every night of the week, choose a place that has the core things that you are looking for—whether it be a solid mock trial team or a legal clinic opportunity—and go all out on those.

You’d Never Guess That… :
My husband is a wedding photographer who specializes in destination weddings and elopements. I enjoy shooting and traveling with him when I can.

Nick Cherry '21

Nick CherryNick Cherry

DuBois, PA
Email: npc121@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Business Law, In-House Counsel

Undergraduate Study:
University of Pittsburgh

Campus and Community Involvement:
I was a member of Dickinson Law’s softball team at the University of Virginia Law softball tournament. This year, I plan to join the Business Law Society as well as the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
As cliché as it sounds, I really enjoy the whole community. The entire faculty and student body are more than willing to help you grow as a lawyer and as a person. Additionally, the alumni are very involved and always willing to help current Dickinson Law students. Obviously, I have no experience at other law schools, but the way Dickinson Law operates seems unique in the best way. The sense of community within Dickinson Law is one that is not only stressed in words, but also in practice.

Why Dickinson Law?:
Dickinson Law checked just about every box on my list for law school. As I was researching and applying to law schools, several of the Dickinson Law Alumni I knew spoke highly of their alma mater, including Carlisle as a whole. After hearing these unfiltered yet glowing opinions of the Law School, which were overwhelmingly positive, I was sold.

Internship:
I was lucky enough to have a summer internship with Neiswender & Kubista, a law firm in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. I was also able to observe several proceedings at the Clearfield County Courthouse. While not necessarily the type of law that I wish to practice in the future, the experiences certainly benefited my professional growth. I learned how to write briefs and petitions as well as how to conduct myself in a court setting, which are skills that will certainly translate to any field of law.

Favorite Course:
While I enjoyed all of my classes during my first year (Contracts and Torts stand out), my favorite class was definitely Problem Solving. Being able to do actual hands-on legal work during the first year of law school is an experience I did not expect to have. I enjoyed getting the opportunity to conduct depositions and negotiations, and work at expungement clinics. That class allowed me to be more comfortable when starting my summer internship, as I had at least some experience doing most of what was asked of me.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Trust your gut. You are going to have any number of people giving you their two cents about where you should go, which classes you should take, and everything in-between. Yes, advice can be very helpful, but there is a difference between advice and orders. You have to make decisions that feel right for you, otherwise it won’t work out. Do what feels right, and everything will be fine.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
My favorite thing about Carlisle is the people. I have never experienced a community as friendly as the one in Carlisle, whether as a resident or as a guest. Walking to and from school, it is common to have several people smile, wave, and ask how you are. That incredible kindness is unique to Carlisle.

On Choosing a Law School:
I wish I would have known that it takes some time to get acclimated to the work of law school, and that’s completely normal.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I used to work at Walt Disney World.

Tony Ciarlante '21

Tony CiarlanteTony Ciarlante

Shippensburg, PA
Email: auc1377@psu.edu

Legal Area of Interest:
Criminal Law

Undergraduate Study:
Shippensburg University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Federalist Society, Christian Law Community at Dickinson Law

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I really enjoy the small class sizes. I know everyone in my class and almost everyone in the Law School. Professors are very one-on-one, which allows for an individualized experience.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I was born and raised in the Shippensburg area, and wanted to be close to home.

Internship:
During the summer after my 1L year, I had the privilege of working at the Broward County State Attorney's Office in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I gained a lot of real-world legal experience and helped solidify my love for criminal law, which is what I want to practice once I complete law school.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course, despite my love for all things criminal, has probably been Property. I loved the in-class simulations (that's the way I learn best), which showed me my strengths and weaknesses.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Find the school that works best for you and your goals, and not necessarily the school that someone else wants you to attend or the school with the highest rank. All law schools have something unique and special to offer, and you should compare and contrast what you’re looking for in a school experience

Something You Love about Carlisle:
It has pretty much everything you could ask for in a small town: interesting restaurants, bars, breweries, events, and beautiful farmlands and mountains surrounding it.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I have played chess competitively since I was eleven, and I’ve competed in four countries.

Caitlin Cooke '21

Caitlin CookCaitlin Cooke

Midlothian, VA
Email: czc684@psu.edu

Legal Area of Interest:
Public Interest

Undergraduate Study:
Virginia Commonwealth University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Women’s Law Caucus, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Public Interest Law Fund

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
As a student at a smaller school, you really get to know your fellow classmates and professors. Since many of us are moving far from home to attend school, it’s easy to find a chosen family at Dickinson Law that makes home not feel so far away.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I enjoyed the small town charm of Carlisle and liked how supported all the students felt when visiting.

Internship:
I had an IOLTA fellowship position this past summer at Laurel Legal Services in Greensburg, PA. This was the first time I was exposed to the family law and domestic violence sector, and it was an eye-opening experience. I really enjoyed being able to help someone get out of a dangerous situation and feel safe again.

Favorite Course:
Torts! I really enjoyed Professor Mogill and his teaching methods. I even ended up being his research assistant for the summer.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Carlisle has occasional festivals that are fun to walk through. They are typically set-up along High Street so you can check them out on your way to class.

On Choosing a Law School:
Be flexible and open to change. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do after law school right away. You don’t even need to know after your first year.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I’m a wannabe yogi and usually try to find a nearby yoga studio whenever I move somewhere new.

Lucia Cuenca '20

Lucia Cuenca '20

Lucia Cuenca

Queens, NY
Email: luc293@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Public Interest, Immigration Law, Human Rights

Undergraduate Study:
Manhattan College

Campus and Community Involvement:
Student Bar Association Honor Code Committee Chair, Public Interest Law Fund Event Coordinator, Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties Board Member, Research Assistant, Phi Alpha Delta, Moot Court

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy the tight-knit community at Dickinson Law. Law school is a wonderful opportunity but equally intimidating. It is nice to go to a law school where you feel that everyone is looking out for your best interests and development. During my time at Dickinson Law, I have gotten to know classmates and faculty well, which I appreciate, as it allows the law school experience to be as candid and enjoyable as possible.

Why Dickinson Law?:
Many great things drew me to Dickinson Law, but I think I was most impressed by the welcoming atmosphere and the community feeling. I felt like professors were genuinely interested in the students and contributing to their success, and that the students were just as interested and helpful to their peers.

Internship:
During my first summer, I was an IOLTA Fellow at the Community Justice Project where I worked on different areas of public interest law throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Where there, I was given the opportunity to explore my interest in immigration law. I later interned at the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic during the fall of my 2L year, where I will be returning as an advanced student this fall. During my time at the MLP Clinic, I have explored a new area of public interest law while still being able to help immigrant communities here in central Pennsylvania. This past summer, I interned at a nonprofit in New York City called Her Justice through a PILF Fellowship. I worked with the immigration team to help women in poverty living in the City. I have also been a research assistant, which allowed me to learn about more discrete areas of the law while helping professors advance their scholarly work. I have been well-prepared both in and out of the classroom during my time at Dickinson Law, and have had interesting and enriching experiences because of this.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course has been International Human Rights with Professor Groome. I liked the discussions we had as a small class and writing about a topic of international human rights that was timely and important to me.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Follow your passions, but be realistic. Many students can find themselves in over their heads trying to measure their success by someone else's ruler. Everyone has the power and ability to be successful in this career path, so trust the process, and don't worry about the rest.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
The small-town feeling! Carlisle is a quiet and tranquil place to get work done, and its location near cities allows you to spend some time away doing something fun on the weekends.

You'd Never Guess That..."
While I was born and raised in New York City, I hail from a small rural village with a population of less than 100 in northern Spain.

Tony DeAgostino '21

Tony DeAgostinoTony DeAgostino

Petoskey, MI
Email: ajd558@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Criminal, Civil and Administrative Litigation

Undergraduate Study:
Western Michigan University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Intramural sports, Criminal Law Society

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy the class size and tight-knit feeling. It creates a sense of healthy competition, yet it is not overly competitive. Everyone is willing to help one another both inside and outside of the academic realm.

Why Dickinson Law?:
After I visited Dickinson Law, I fell in love with it. Being practice-ready upon graduation and being involved in the community are what I want out of my law school experience.

Internship:
I had the opportunity to be both a judicial intern and a research assistant this past summer. The judicial internship gave me great insight into the day-to-day life of public defenders, district attorneys, and judges. Both my judicial internship and my position as a research assistant allowed me to hone my legal research and writing skills.

Favorite Course:
I enjoyed Criminal Law because we had plenty of opportunities to verbally present arguments on a wide range of issues. I enjoyed Constitutional Law because it is applicable to the everyday headlines we see regarding our federal government.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Treat law school like a job. This means you should clock in each morning and work through the day by going to class, keeping up with assignments, etc. It also means you should clock out. Take time for yourself each day to do the things you enjoy doing after your “work day” is done.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
The restaurants! Carlisle has a great food and drink scene. There are restaurants available for whatever kind of mood you’re in.

On Choosing a Law School:
Enjoy the process. Don’t worry about seeming like the “perfect candidate” on visits. The visits are for YOU. Gather as much information as you need and ask all the questions you want answers to.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I absolutely love The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and both NFL and collegiate football.

Berk Varim Demiral '20

Berk DemiralBerk Varim Demiral

Vancouver, BC
Email: bud98@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Criminal Law, Public Interest Law

Undergraduate Study:
University of British Columbia

Campus and Community Involvement:
Medical-Legal Colloquium; Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) Law Fraternity, marshal; trial competitions, including the 1L mock trial competition, which improved my ability to work in a team and represent a side that I was not entirely comfortable representing (prosecution).

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy the fact that everyone here has a good heart. Of course, we are competitive and we like to study hard, but we are nice to each other. I was utterly unfamiliar with the legal environment and finding my place in it was a stressful experience. I would not have been able to complete my first year if I did not have caring, understanding, and helpful faculty members and students around me.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I did not have enough money to attend law school. The financial aid was a significant factor in me coming here. However, I was leaving everything behind in Canada and needed to feel that wherever I chose, I would not feel lost and alone. The faculty members and admissions team showed me that they cared about each and every student no matter their grade, background, and place of origin.

Internship:
After my 1L year, I worked for MidPenn Lancaster as a summer intern. I began to realize that real-life cases are not as clear-cut and straightforward as they seem on paper. It takes a lot of courage to come up with an unusual argument and present it in court when lives of people you have met are at stake.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course was Criminal Law. I enjoy the rule- and statute-based approach to law because I believe such an approach is less ambiguous and more effective in formulating arguments. The course taught me how to begin analyzing and using statues for legal arguments. Every time I look at a statute I have never seen before, I know how to understand and use it for my benefit.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
The number of distractions is minimal here, but you will still find everything you need without a problem.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Focus on Civil Procedure during your first semester. That course is tough!

On Choosing A Law School:
I knew I wanted to go to an ambitious school with friendly people, and I got what I wanted. Dickinson Law does not hide the ball. However, if you want to go to a school where you can hide from your professors and classmates, this is not the school for you. Everyone knows everyone else, and we are very friendly.

You’d Never Guess That… :
I am a Turkish citizen that finished high school in Malaysia, attended university in Canada and Japan, and came to law school in the U.S. I don't think you see that combination every day.

Casey Dennis '21

Casey DennisCasey Dennis

Odessa, TX
Email: cxd784@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Sports and Entertainment Law

Undergraduate Study:
Texas Tech University

Campus and Community Involvement:

Student Bar Association 2L Representative, Women's Law Caucus Activities Chair, Marketing and Communications Student Employee

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I have really enjoyed getting to be a part of the community at Dickinson Law. We have so many great professors and brilliant students; it makes every day an interesting and illuminating experience.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I chose Dickinson Law because it felt like home to me. There are so many factors that go into choosing a law school, but Dickinson Law is the place where I truly felt that I could thrive.

Internship:
I had the opportunity to work as a clerk for a law firm in Texas in the business, estate, and oil and gas law legal areas. I drafted hundreds of legal documents, attended hearings and depositions, and performed a wide variety of research. This experience has helped me grow as a future lawyer because I learned how to meet deadlines, work with other attorneys, and draft and redraft documents until they are perfect.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course so far has been Civil Procedure. I love the way Professor Terry taught this class. I am a rules person—so Civil Procedure and I understood each other!

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
If I could give one piece of advice to prospective law students, it would be to make great friends in law school. You will need each other, especially during the first year.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I love fall in Carlisle. I am from Texas, and until moving to Carlisle, I never saw the trees change colors throughout the seasons. Everything become hues of orange and red, and I think it is so beautiful!

On Choosing a Law School:
I wish I would’ve known how many note cards, pens, pencils, and highlighters I was going to use. I would have stocked up before I started law school.

You'd Never Guess That..."
I love to travel, and I have already been to six countries.

Chelsea M. Dickert '21

Chelsea DickertChelsea M. Dickert

Mechanicsburg, PA
Email: cxs1022@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Wildlife Protection, Animal Rights, Environmental Law

Undergraduate Study:
The Catholic University of America and Penn State

Campus and Community Involvement:
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Wellness Committee

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The community. My colleagues are so supportive, and we really look out for one another. It helps to have close friends when slogging through the difficulties of law school.

Why Dickinson Law?:
As someone who is originally from the Central Pennsylvania area, I knew that I wanted to attend Dickinson Law because of its outstanding reputation, the alumni network, and the proximity to many major cities.

Internship:
My judicial internship with the Pennsylvania Superior Court helped me work on my research and writing. It gave me a chance to read many different types of briefs about many different areas of law, which helped me to decide what type of law I am interested in.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course so far has been Civil Procedure because I like rules, and I also enjoyed Professor Terry’s enthusiasm and her “tricks” to help us remember the information.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Know when you need to take a break. Everyone is going to work hard in law school but that doesn’t mean you have to work incessantly with no breaks. If you’ve been sitting for six hours, you aren’t helping your brain learn any new information. Get up and take a walk! Many times, if I’ve been sitting in the library for too long, I will make a point to get up, go outside, and walk around the block. I find that when I come back to studying, I have a fresh perspective and can retain more information. Also, eat your vegetables! It’s so easy to eat poorly because it’s quick, but if you aren’t eating healthy, your productivity and retention will falter.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Issei Noodle

On Choosing a Law School:
Don’t change the way you study or take notes. When I got here, I thought I had to switch-up the way that I take notes, and I think that it really wasted a lot of my time. If you know how you study, don’t change your method just because other people do it differently. Do what works for you!

You'd Never Guess That... :
I am a huge Dave Matthews Band fan and have seen them in concert over 30 times.

Robert Gavin '20

Robert GavinRobert Gavin

Middletown, NY
Email: rug238@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Juvenile Rights, Criminal Law, Family Law, Education Law, Civil Rights

Undergraduate Study:
Hofstra University, University of Hartford

Campus and Community Involvement:
Black Law Students Association, Criminal Law Society, International Law Society, OutLaw

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy the feeling of community at Dickinson Law. I appreciate the variety of experiences and backgrounds of my classmates, as this diversity enriches my legal education. Dickinson Law allows us to share our background and experience in safe and authentic ways, and because of that, we really learn from each other.

Why Dickinson Law?:
Dickinson Law worked very hard to help meet my financial goals for attending law school. I knew that I wanted the best education at the best price, and Dickinson Law checked both boxes.

Internships:
My favorite experiences during my first year occurred whenever I was able to work with real people. It is important to keep in mind the reason for all of the studying, and for me, that was to help people in need. Through the intake clinics and expungement clinics at the Bethesda Mission and around the county, and at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic, I was able to work with people in various stages of need and services.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course was Criminal Law with Professor Groome. He enabled us to live inside the law as mock prosecutors and defense attorneys each day in his class. I really enjoyed his teaching style and appreciated his patience with us as 1Ls.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Carlisle is a quiet and affordable town, which makes it great for pursuing your law degree.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Identify your most important factors for choosing a law school. Whether finances, location, programs, reputation, size, or something else, take the time now to figure out what you really want, and do the research to find the school that has those factors. You should absolutely visit.

You’d Never Guess That… :
I’ve been working on a pretzel recipe for about six years. Recently, I’ve been tweaking the flour blends and ratios. I use a lye dip to get that authentic brown skin on the outside like a traditional German pretzel.

Zachary Gihorski '20

Zachary GihorskiZachary Gihorski

Liverpool, PA
Email: zxg59@psu.edu

Undergraduate Study: 
Delaware Valley University

Campus and Community Involvement: 
Environmental Justice Society, board member

A Dickinson Law Favorite: 
The relationships. I grew up in a small, rural community, and went to a small undergraduate school. I have never been part of a more inspiring, diverse, accomplished, and genuinely engaged group of leaders in my life.

Why Dickinson Law?: 
Dickinson Law was not even on my “list.” I was certain I was going to go to a law school that had deeper agricultural ties. I applied because it was close to where I was living at the time, and I had relationships with some alumni who I greatly respected. Four days after I applied, I received a phone call from a faculty member and he spoke with me for over an hour. That is when I knew this was the right choice.

Internships:
I had two legal internships during the summer after my first year of law school. First, I accepted a legal summer internship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation specifically to work on issues intersecting between agriculture and the environment. Second, I took a research fellowship with the National Agricultural Law Center where I researched legal issues facing the agriculture community nationally.

I had a wonderful career before attending Dickinson Law, so when I was looking for opportunities for internships, I was very selective. I wanted roles that were going to expand my knowledge-base and increase my professional network. I was lucky enough that both internships provided just that.

Favorite Courses: 
This is a VERY hard question. I really enjoy my classes generally. I was a part of the notorious group of students dubbed by Professor Pearson in Contracts class as “That Row” due to our frequent participation, so I would probably choose that class. There are also a lot of great agriculture cases in Contracts. I also enjoyed Property, not necessarily for the content but for how Professor Skaldany taught it.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I really enjoy the small-town feel. I am big on going for walks to think, and Carlisle is a great place for walks. Also, I have a soft spot for ice cream, and there are two excellent ice cream shops within walking distance of the Law School.

Advice for Prospective Law Students: 
Life does not often tell you the cost of chasing your dreams. The first year of law school was by far the most humbling, challenging, and inspiring experience of my life.

Everyone comes to law school thinking they will be successful, and they usually mean academically successful. But real success in law school is having a healthy balanced life, full of passion, civic engagement, academic curiosity, and relationship building. I would challenge you to aspire to that.

On Choosing A Law School: 
I spent nearly five years deliberating over law school, so I do not think there is anything I felt unprepared for in terms of choosing schools. The one thing I think I wish I had known in general was to make time before school to spend time with those you care about. You are about to embark on a profound life-changing journey—one that will require a steady support system. Spend time with them now while you can.

You’d Never Guess That… : 
Somehow the class of 2020 ended up creating its own basketball league, and I ended up being designated as Commissioner. On that note, we are always looking to expand, so let me extend an invitation to the incoming students to join our basketball community!

Alana Goycochea '20

Alana Goycochea '20Alana Goycochea

Austin, TX
Email: axg686@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest: 
Energy Law

Undergraduate Study: 
University of California, San Diego

Campus and Community Involvement: 
Criminal Law Society, Environmental Justice Law Society, Women’s Law Caucus

A Dickinson Law Favorite: 
I really enjoy all of the available extracurricular activities. They allow me to connect with the Dickinson Law community.

Why Dickinson Law?: 
I chose to attend Dickinson Law because I wanted to attend a school where I was more than a number. All of my professors know my name and are more than happy to answer questions.

Internships: 
During the summer after my 1L year, I interned with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This fall, I will intern with the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association. These experiences are instrumental for learning essential legal skills and strengthening my network.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course was civil procedure because it gave me a strong grasp of the steps involved in a lawsuit. While initially it seemed like it would be my hardest course, Professor Terry did an amazing job making the material relatable. In addition, she was extremely patient with answering students' questions.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I really enjoy living in a place that has four seasons and that has chocolate outlets.

Advice for Prospective Law Students: 
I would suggest taking some time before law school begins to reflect on your learning style and what works best for you. At the beginning of law school, it may feel intimidating when every one of your classmates studies differently than you. Try not to compare yourself to your classmates. I would also suggest taking some time in the summer to relax and read as much as you can for fun.

On Choosing A Law School: 
Research the alumni that live in the area that you think you may want to practice in, and reach out to some of them for advice. I think that you will find that Dickinson Law alumni practice all over the country and are very willing to offer advice to current students.

You’d Never Guess That… : 
I lived in Texas for four years.

Allison Grady '20

Allison Grady

Allison Grady

South Amboy, NJ
Email: axg713@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Family Law, Elder Law

Undergraduate Study:
Rowan University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Phi Alpha Delta, Student Bar Association representative, library employee, Westlaw representative, Bethesda Mission Legal Aid Clinic volunteer

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I like that our Law School has a small, tight-knit community while still having many opportunities available nearby in Harrisburg. It makes you feel like you’re at home when you’re away, and I never feel like I have to worry about finding a job because of the opportunities available near us.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I chose Dickinson Law because I liked that professors knew us by name before we got here and that the faculty and staff were available to answer any of our questions. I knew I would perform best in a small classroom and at a school where I am comfortable to ask anyone for help when needed.

Internship:
I was an IOLTA Fellow with the YWCA Legal Center during my 1L summer. The YWCA Legal Center assists survivors of domestic violence with family law issues involving their abusers. I was able to work alongside my supervising attorney on a variety of family law cases, and I had the opportunity to conduct preliminary interviews with clients. Working directly with clients helped me understand the emotional issues and reactions people might have when dealing with real legal situations. It also made me realize the actual difficulties that accompany working in an emotionally demanding field. Through this internship, I was able to foster connections with lawyers in the Harrisburg area. I developed a strong relationship with my supervising attorney and was offered a semester internship as a certified legal intern with the YWCA again the following year. In that capacity, I was able to represent my own clients and continue honing my legal skills. I also met another private family law attorney in Harrisburg who offered me a clerkship position in his office.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course so far was Advocacy. We had the opportunity to work on three cases throughout the semester, which included both written and oral assignments. Not only did we focus on our writing, research, and oral advocacy, but we were also required to follow the procedural rules in our jurisdiction. We combined all of the skills learned in the first half of law school throughout the semester to effectively advocate for our “clients.”

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
The first few days of school can be really overwhelming. If you focus and get through the work, you’ll be fine. It’s also important to get involved! I know I took a while to get involved at Dickinson Law, but once I got into it, I was so glad I did.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I love the unique stores and restaurants.

On Choosing a Law School:
Where you go is where you will end up developing the most connections and where you will have the best chance of growing your career.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I’m the second youngest student in my class because I graduated college a year early.

Danny Grace Gray '21

Danny Grace GrayDanny Grace Gray

Bella Vista, AR
Email: tlp243@psu.edu

Legal Area of Interest:
Criminal Defense

Undergraduate Study:
Warner Pacific University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Criminal Law Society, Constitution Law Society, Women’s Law Caucus

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
Everyone cares at Dickinson Law. Everyone. From the Dean and the Café staff members to your classmates—they know you, they want you to succeed, and they go out of their way to make sure you know they care.

Why Dickinson Law?:
Dickinson Law was my top school on the spreadsheet I created when deciding where to attend. I considered bar pass rate, employment rate, cost to attend combined with scholarship opportunities, cost of living, and an outstanding legal education. I absolutely made the right choice.

Internship:
I am currently interning at the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office. I also had a summer internship at the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board. My experiences have expanded my understanding of working as a lawyer generally and as a public defender specifically. I have improved my writing and research skills by creating documents that make a difference in the lives of those I came to Dickinson Law to help. The lawyers at the Conduct Board and the Public Defender’s Office have given me many opportunities to grow in knowledge and experience.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course is Torts. People do crazy things, and the best crazy things end up in a Torts book.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
A big part of your law school experience is building relationships in the legal community. Finding a law school, like Dickinson Law, that offers multiple opportunities to engage with alumni and lawyers is critical to a successful future in law.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
One thing I love about Carlisle is the walkability. Almost every weekend there is a community event happening that’s just a short walk away.

On Choosing a Law School:
I would advise prospective law students to reach out and have a conversation with a current law student. We understand the significance of selecting the law school that is the best fit and we would be happy to help you with that process.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I collect cute garden statues.

Ashley Javitz '20
Ashley Javitz
  

Ashley Javitz

Dickson City, PA
Email: aaj163@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Intellectual Property Law

Undergraduate Study:
University of Scranton

Campus and Community Involvement:
Intellectual Property Society

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
Definitely the welcoming atmosphere! When I transferred to Dickinson Law, I remember experiencing a wave of different emotions. I was excited to start a new adventure, but I also was very nervous because I had to navigate a new school and town while at the same time meet new students and professors.

During this transition, the faculty and staff were especially helpful. Many of them took the opportunity to reach out to me to connect both professionally and personally. Their actions showed me how much they care about the success of their students. Beyond orientation and my first few days on campus, these same faculty members and staff have continued to be as accessible and as supportive as when I first met them.

Why Dickinson Law?:
When deciding where to attend law school, I knew I wanted a place not only where I felt at home, but also one that made me proud to have attended. As a third-year student, I know that I made the right choice.

Internship:
This past summer, I served as an intern for the IBM Corporation in their Patent Center. I drafted patent applications and responded to office actions.

During the school year, I served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Thomas A. Placey of the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas. During this internship, I had the opportunity to observe civil and legal proceedings and to strengthen my legal research and writing skills. I also served as a Volunteer at the Bethesda Mission Legal Intake Clinic and the Cumberland County Wills for Heroes Program.

In the summer of 2018, I served as an intern at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where I worked with patent examiners in the Biotechnology and Organic Chemistry Technology Center preparing office actions. While at the USPTO, I gained a working knowledge of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, and the technologies and techniques patent examiners use to search for prior art.

Collectively, these work experiences helped to strengthen my legal research, writing, and analytical skills. They also taught me the importance of meeting deadlines, working independently and collaboratively, and maintaining a positive attitude and a professional demeanor.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course was Federal Criminal Practice with Chief Judge Conner and Judge Jones of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. In this class, we explored all of the stages of a federal criminal prosecution, starting with the decision to charge, and continuing through trial and sentencing. Both judges and a variety of guest lecturers presented the materials. This class provided me with a practical, “real-world” review of the federal criminal justice system.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Don’t get caught up in the competitive aspect of law school. Focus on doing your very best, and be supportive of and respectful to your classmates. It will make for a more positive law school experience.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
From biking and hiking trails, and car shows and races, to pumpkin patches and orchards, shopping, and dining, there’s something to do during every season.

On Choosing a Law School:
Thoroughly research the law schools where you intend to apply, and match your interests to what they offer.

You'd Never Guess That...:
I flip old, dilapidated houses with my family. I do everything from demolition to tiling and painting.

Ashli Lyric Jones '21

Ashli JonesAshli Lyric Jones

Farmingdale, NY
Email: auj527@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Sports and Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property

Undergraduate Study:
Spelman College

Campus and Community Involvement:
President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, Mentorship Chair for the Women’s Law Caucus, Social Chair for the Black Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy Dickinson Law because it is a close-knit community. I know that I can ask my classmates or any other person at Dickinson Law for help, and they are willing to do so with no hesitation. I also enjoy the fact that all of the students that attend Dickinson Law provide a different outlook on life. I believe we all benefit from a diversified classroom by being able to hear the thoughts and opinions of our peers who come from so many different places.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I chose Dickinson Law because of the close-knit community that reminded me of home. All of the professors and alumni are well-accomplished and personable, which is exactly what I was looking for in a law school. To be completely honest, I wasn’t exactly sure how my transition from a historically black college would be, but I knew I chose the right place when I came to Dickinson Law, unannounced the week after graduation, told the admissions office only my first name, and immediately they knew exactly who I was.

Internship:
This past summer, I had the pleasure of interning at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. I was responsible for handling my own misdemeanor cases under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys, had the opportunity to second-seat MAPP and Huntley hearings, spoke on the record at criminal court, wrote motions, and interviewed witnesses and victims. I also have worked as a research assistant exploring copyrights and the effects screen-time has on health. These experiences have strengthened my work ethic and made me more confident in my abilities.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course would definitely have to be Legal Argument and Factual Persuasion. I enjoyed the teaching style of Professor Gildin during the fall semester. I also enjoyed the fact that we worked through various simulations that helped us become more familiar with interviewing witnesses and giving closing arguments. These are all practical skills that all lawyers need to master to be the best attorney they can be.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
I wish I would have known more about examinations and the way to succeed in law school. Being a first-generation college student, I didn’t have anyone to guide me during my law school process. I wish that I would have taken the time to understand how long I have to take an examination, and how to properly prepare and outline for exams.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I love the different restaurants in Carlisle. Moving to Carlisle has influenced my love for trying new types of food. My favorite restaurant is Brick! I also love all of the local coffee shops. They are great places to study at during the semester.

On Choosing a Law School:
I would definitely encourage prospective law students to visit law schools and ask as many questions as possible. It is important to choose a school where you feel comfortable.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I have traveled to over 15 different countries. As a freshman at Spelman College, I studied abroad in Harbin, China, taking courses in Mandarin and Chinese culture. Most recently, I went to Cape Town, South Africa and taught children in the Mandela Park Community English, Math, Reading, and Writing.

Jonathon Krisko '20

Jonathon KriscoJonathon Krisko

Lawton, PA
Email: jzk302@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Criminal Law, Military Law, Firearms Law

Undergraduate Study:
Widener University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Federalist Society, Military Law Caucus

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The sense of camaraderie and teamwork that permeates the law school. You may have heard about the cut-throat nature of some legal education programs, and I am happy to report that Dickinson Law does not suffer from that defect. While there is a healthy amount of competition that naturally occurs, most people recognize they are here to better themselves, not beat someone else.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I chose to attend Dickinson Law because of the small class sizes, ideal location, and well-regarded professors. Those features, coupled with the name recognition that comes from being part of Penn State, made Dickinson Law a no-brainer as my top choice.

Internships:
In the summer of 2018, I completed an internship with the U.S. Army JAG office at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. This fall, I am conducting a local in-semester internship at the JAG office serving the Carlisle Barracks/U.S. Army War College. Both of these experiences have helped hone my military legal skills and better prepare me for my transition from an Armor/Cavalry officer to a dual professional in the U.S. Army JAG Corps.

Favorite Course:
Criminal Law with Professor Groome was both interesting and challenging, and taught by a professor who is remarkable not only for his expert knowledge and life experience, but also his teaching style. The entire course is built around “learning by doing” with homework, in-class presentations, and the exam geared towards simulating the work a junior ADA or defense attorney would be responsible for doing.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
There is an amazing number of things to do both in Carlisle and in the larger metropolitan area. Within three hours, you can be in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia or New York City (if you drive a bit on the fast side). Even if you usually like to stay relatively local (like I do), there is a wide variety of activities available to suit almost any temperament.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Get to know the people in your class as soon as possible. You will be spending an incredible amount of time with them your 1L year, so you might as well be friends! Almost everyone is new to the area, and almost everyone doesn’t really know anyone else. The friends you make in law school will not only make your experience better, but will serve as contacts down the line in your legal career.

On Choosing A Law School:
Maybe I should have been a little more informed (and actually conducted in-person visits), but I am very happy with Dickinson Law and I don’t think any additional information would have swayed my mind away from it.

You’d Never Guess That… :
My wife and I have a Pug named Mitchell. He is both awesome and unbelievably adorable.

Michael Kwon '20

Michael KwonMichael Kwon

Annandale, VA
Email: muk503@psu.edu

Legal Area(s) of Interest:
Intellectual Property, Business Law

Undergraduate Study:
College of William and Mary, University of Pennsylvania

Campus and Community Involvement:
Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Dickinson Intellectual Property Law Society, Jus Gentium International Law Journal

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The caliber and passion of the professors and fellow classmates. I enjoy interacting with them and learning from them. I love the Dickinson Law culture of genuine respect and concern for one another. The professors and school administrators go out of their way to get to know you and to support you. 

Why Dickinson Law?:
It was an easy decision after attending an open house for admitted students. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, and I could see that Dickinson Law had the professors, staff, resources, opportunities, and culture for a top-notch legal education. 

Internship:
I worked in-house as a summer law clerk at an insurance company where I was thrilled to see my research memos and motions have an impact on actual cases (and I was proud to learn that our department head was a Dickinson Law alumna). I learned a lot about court procedures, researching unfamiliar issues, and drafting motions. However, the biggest lesson I learned from watching the attorneys was never to give up. When the facts and laws look absolutely adverse, it is still your job, as the attorney, to fight for your client as hard as you can.

Favorite Course:
Criminal Law and Contexts were inspiring and instilled in me a profound respect and pride in the legal profession. Constitutional Law showed what was involved in creating a nation that would last through the ages. Our Founding Fathers were geniuses.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Carlisle reminds me of my childhood hometown. It’s a safe and friendly town.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Visit the schools and choose the one that feels right for you. Everything about the school—the location, faculty, classmates—will play an important role in your life for the next three years and beyond. 

On Choosing A Law School:
Starting the application process early and doing your research is important.

You’d Never Guess That… :
I invented an electronic door lock, and I used to compete in Taekwondo tournaments.

McKay Lewis '21

McKay LewisMcKay Lewis

Spanish Fork, UT
Email: mzl605@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Criminal Law, Immigration Law

Undergraduate Study:
Utah State University

Campus and Community Involvement:
I am involved in both the Latinx Law Student Association and the Criminal Law Society. Both of these student organizations closely align with my professional interests. It is wonderful to interact with other students who share the same interests as you. I am also a member of the Dickinson Law Review.

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
One of the things that I enjoy most about Dickinson Law is the smaller class sizes. This really allows you to get to know your professors. Additionally, it fosters a better learning environment, as each student has more opportunities for individualized instruction.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I chose to attend Dickinson Law after I toured the campus. I instantly fell in love with not only the Law School, but also the town of Carlisle. After learning more, I knew that Dickinson Law offered everything I wanted in a law school and would be able to help me accomplish my professional goals. This, combined with a competitive scholarship package, made Dickinson Law the perfect fit for me.

Internship:
I was a law clerk for the Cache County Attorney’s Office in Logan, Utah the summer before my 2L year. This internship was amazing. I worked closely with the prosecutors in the office to draft memos, motions, and responses to motions. I observed court often and sat in on negotiations between prosecutors and defense counsel. I have also been a research assistant for two different professors, which has helped me further develop both my research and writing skills.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course was Criminal Law. I loved this course because Professor Groome is amazing. He brings years of experience as a prosecutor and a unique perspective on the criminal justice system. I want to be a prosecutor after graduation, and this class only solidified that desire.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Work hard and have fun! Law school is unlike anything you have ever experienced. It is extremely difficult and stressful, but it is also a time in your life that you will never forget. Focus on cultivating both professional and personal relationships that will last your entire life, and do not forget to take some much needed “you” time every now and then. Also, make sure you try your absolute hardest so that you have no regrets at the end of the experience!

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Redd’s BBQ. Their macaroni and cheese is to die for.

On Choosing a Law School:
Trust your gut instinct. When you find the right school, you will know. It will feel like home.

You'd Never Guess That...:
I am fluent in Spanish and love to listen to Spanish music, read Spanish literature, and watch Spanish movies.

Samuel "Trey" Manning '20

Samuel Manning IIISamuel (Trey) E. Manning III

Harrisburg, PA
Email: sum773@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest: 
Criminal Law, Public Interest

Undergraduate Study: 
Lebanon Valley College

Campus and Community Involvement: 
Bethesda Mission Expungement Clinic, coordinator; Black Law Student Association, president; Criminal Law Society, treasurer; Public Interest Law Fund, co-event chair

A Dickinson Law Favorite: 
I enjoy the intentionally small class sizes. I believe that it has helped me to create more meaningful relationships with the professors and with my peers.

Why Dickinson Law?: 
I chose to attend Dickinson Law because I gained a true sense of support from the faculty and staff. During my visits to Dickinson Law and from the experiences shared with me from past and current students, I felt that the various members of the community really did support each other. In visits to other law schools, I did not feel a similar connection with the school’s desire to help me succeed.

Internships: 
In the summer of 2018, I interned for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. This internship cultivated my desire to advocate for marginalized populations. I worked with clients who had been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit and reviewed files of potential clients by analyzing their claims of factual innocence. These experiences benefited my professional growth by giving me the opportunity to get hands-on experience with clients. This internship reinforced my ability to pursue a career in criminal law by allowing me to gain an immense amount of knowledge about the criminal justice system, prison system, and the post-conviction process in Pennsylvania.

Favorite Course: 
My favorite course that I’ve taken so far is Criminal Law with Professor Groome. I enjoy learning about criminal law, and I liked the way Professor Groome teaches it. The class structure is unique and provides a lot of practical skills. Professor Groome forces students to think on their feet and be able to articulate their understanding of the law.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Alibi's is my favorite restaurant in Carlisle.

Advice for Prospective Law Students: 
Come visit the school. Meet our professors and staff, and talk with current students. In my opinion, the people make Dickinson Law unique. It was surprising to me how willing everyone at Dickinson Law is to meet with prospective students, so I urge you to take advantage.

On Choosing A Law School: 
I wish I would have treated the entire law school application and admittance process as my first test of being a lawyer. You should advocate for yourself throughout the process.

You’d Never Guess That… : 
I have four sisters and three brothers.

Bianca Nalaschi '20

Bianca Nalaschi '20Bianca Nalaschi

Milford, PA
Email: bxn33@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest: 
Public Interest, Criminal Law

Undergraduate Study: 
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Campus and Community Involvement: 
Leading Law Students; Miller Center Pro Bono Advocate; OutLaw; Volunteer Income Tax Assistance; Wellness Committee, co-chair; Women's Law Caucus, vice president

A Dickinson Law Favorite: 
What I enjoy most is the support and encouragement of the professors, staff, and alumni. Everyone does their best to guarantee we succeed. Dickinson Law has a highly motivated network of individuals who love to engage with current students. Post-graduation, I will definitely be taking trips back to visit and attend some of the fantastic networking events Dickinson Law hosts.

Why Dickinson Law?: 
I chose Dickinson Law for the small size. I knew I would have the ability to cultivate meaningful relationships with the entire Dickinson Law family.

Internships: 
During my 1L summer, I worked for North Penn Legal Services (NPLS) and provided legal aid to low-income individuals. I chose NPLS because there is a pervasive need for assistance in legal services. As such, there is no shortage of work or opportunity to learn and grow! While there, I was exposed to various areas of substantive civil law and gained a great deal of practical experience. This was the perfect 1L summer position to further develop my advocacy skills.

Favorite Course: 
Constitutional Law—nothing is more important than understanding and protecting the fundamental rights of every human being.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
The small town charm.

Advice for Prospective Law Students: 
When you get here, enjoy the ride while you can—time flies.

On Choosing A Law School: 
I wish I knew the importance of doing your own research. It is especially important to speak one-on-one with current law students to get their perspectives. Also, go with your gut.

You’d Never Guess That… : 
I taught myself how to play the flute at age 12.

Stephanie-Rose Orlando '21

Stephanie-Rose Orlando

Stephanie-Rose Orlando

Jackson, NJ
Email: suo241@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
I am interested in a large variety of legal areas right now: estate planning, health law, criminal law to name a few!

Undergraduate Study:
The College of New Jersey

Campus and Community Involvement:
Student Bar Association, Women’s Law Caucus, Animal Legal Defense Fund, LexisNexis (student employee)

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy that the professors are involved in more than just the classroom because it makes me more comfortable asking for help when I need it. I also love the events the Law School hosts because they help build connections between the different classes and the professors.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I really liked the set-up of the town, and its proximity to South Jersey allows me to visit my family on some weekends.

Internship:
I will be participating in the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic this year, which I am sure will benefit me in numerous ways. This past summer, I was hired by a Dickinson Law alumnus to intern at a well-regarded firm in New Jersey.

Favorite Course:
Criminal Law. It was very interactive.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Pick a social networking app, or multiple apps, and remove them from your phone. It’s amazing how much extra time I found without Instagram at my fingertips.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I love being able to walk everywhere. I can grab lunch with my friends after class or walk to the park to relax.

You'd Never Guess That... :
My favorite take-out food is Chinese, but I only order white rice.

Sarah Phillips '20

Sarah PhillipsSarah Phillips

Lambertville, NJ
Email: srp61@psu.edu 

Legal Areas of Interest: 
Agricultural and Environmental Law, Corporate Law

Undergraduate Study: 
Dickinson College

Campus and Community Involvement: 
Class of 2020 honor code representative, Environmental Justice Law Society

A Dickinson Law Favorite: 
I enjoy the community at Dickinson Law. I find it enjoyable to learn in an environment where everyone is there to have a positive learning experience, and that’s what I have found at Dickinson Law. My classmates, the faculty, and the staff are all here to support one another and to make sure that everyone who is part of this community is genuinely happy and successful. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and truly wants to get to know you.

Why Dickinson Law?: 
I decided to come to Dickinson Law because I wanted to experience law school in a small, close-knit community. I liked the hometown feeling of Carlisle, and I knew that at Dickinson Law, I would be part of the supportive network of students, faculty, and staff that make for such a great learning environment.

Internship:
During my summer internship at MetLife in the Investments Law Department, I had the opportunity to work on contracts from start to finish, all relating to different types of investment deals, which keeps things interesting. I was also fortunate enough to learn how to draft documents such as default notices and non-disclosure agreements. The internship also included standard legal research assignments and proofreading both contracts and client correspondence. My supervisor allowed me to observe the negotiations for multimillion dollar deals, which has been very interesting to learn from (although very intimidating!). From week one of my internship, I learned the importance of reading and writing carefully and strategically. In practice, real clients are counting on you to draft and negotiate the best deal possible that accomplishes their goals, and that requires strong, careful, and deliberate reading and writing.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course is Torts. The subject matter itself is very interesting and relatable to everyday life, but Professor Mogill makes learning the material easy and fun!

Something You Love about Carlisle:
I love the hometown feeling of Carlisle. The people are friendly, there is always something going on downtown, and the atmosphere makes you feel welcome.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
I would suggest trying to keep the big picture in mind. It is so easy to get stressed and bogged down with the day-to-day material, projects, and tasks, but really try to remember the end goal: why did you decide to come to law school? If you can remember that, and have a goal or mission to look forward to in the future, it helps to keep things in perspective and manage the stress of law school much better.

On Choosing A Law School:
Location is so important! For me, I wanted to be close to my home state of New Jersey, but it really is important to think about the type of location you want to spend three years in and where you want to end up one day.

You’d Never Guess That… :
I have my own herd of dairy cows! Together, my younger sister and I own, breed, and show dairy cows. We spend the winter and spring raising them and caring for them, and spend our summers and early fall traveling to different shows with our cows.

Brian Ragunan '20

Brian D. RagunanBrian D. Ragunan

Ben Lomond, CA
Email: bzr64@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest: 
Immigration, International Business, National Security

Undergraduate Study: 
Saint Joseph’s University

Campus and Community Involvement: 
Community Outreach Committee, Military Law Caucus

A Dickinson Law Favorite: 
I have really enjoyed getting to know the other students. They are an incredibly diverse and remarkable group. They have succeeded and failed and grown across a wide variety of backgrounds and industries.

Why Dickinson Law?: 
Being a student with a prior career, I knew what I wanted and what had helped me in my professional and personal growth. Dickinson Law checked all of those boxes. I wanted small class sizes so that I could build relationships with classmates and professors. I wanted an education that focused on the day-to-day of professional practice and mastery of craft beyond abstract theory. Most importantly, I wanted to be in an environment driven by values.

Internships:
I spent my 1L summer working for Immigration Support Services in Enola, Pennsylvania. They specialize in business immigration for a wide swath of businesses and visa types. It was a non-traditional legal environment where I worked with people who had backgrounds in business and technology, as well as a great group of lawyers. The work was fast-paced, and I made a real difference for people who wanted to follow my own family’s path in coming to America to build a better life and American businesses—big and small—continue to stay on the global cutting edge.

I also worked with the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. We researched Veterans Disability, the effect on the profession, and consequently the Nation’s continued ability to fight and win wars. The research was interesting and provided me the opportunity to co-author something in my first year of law school.

My internship and informational interviews alone were really enlightening. I met a lot of local folks in the legal community. I learned about a lot of jobs I would have never otherwise considered. It was interesting to talk to so many alumni and hear how dedicated they were to the community here. Many of them wanted to share war stories about their experiences with our deans and professors when they were students.

Favorite Course: 
I really enjoyed Constitutional Law. So much of the course material interacted with the world outside of the law. The history and backstory behind many of the cases and figures involved was really interesting.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
There are so many great outdoor activities. I’ve just scratched the surface of opportunities to hike, fish, kayak, shoot, and so much more. We’re right in the middle of some of the region’s best waterways, trails, and scenery.

Advice for Prospective Law Students: 
There isn’t a single best practice. Of course you can learn a lot by examining the systems and habits of your peers and those who came before you, but don’t be afraid to do what works for you.

On Choosing A Law School: 
Don’t be afraid to pick a school or place that “feels” right. There isn't a single best answer for which law school is the best for you; however, you need to make the best of the place you choose. It’s much more than a diploma; it’s about the community you join. Few communities we join do we get to choose. Where you do, like in law school, pick the community where you will be happiest and that best represents your values.

You’d Never Guess That… : 
My personal life and career has taken me all over the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marine Corps; however, I most enjoy traveling and exploring America. I believe as we get more access to knowledge about the best and brightest, we’ve lost the art of being lost. The small towns and big cities all over the country have so much more to see, do, taste, and experience than we could ever fully comprehend. I believe we take the places we’re from—especially the small places, the old places, and the isolated places—for granted. I do my best to learn as much as possible about all of them.

Christopher Riley '20

Christopher RileyChristopher Riley

Sacramento, CA
Email: cur253@psu.edu

Legal Area(s) of Interest:
Cyber Law, Constitutional Law

Undergraduate Study:
Grand Canyon University

Campus and Community Involvement:
Environmental Justice Law Society, Intellectual Property Club, Intramural Sports

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The community really is incredible. Professors care and want to help you succeed, and the alumni continue to take pride in Dickinson Law and support the school. The small class sizes make it easy to know everyone. There is a great diverse group of students here that help me learn not only about law, but also about life experiences that are new to me since I’m from the west coast.

Why Dickinson Law?:
I wanted to be close to the Washington, D.C. area because of my interest in politics and potential internship opportunities. Dickinson Law is only about a two-hour drive away. I had also been told how important trial advocacy is in law school, and Dickinson Law is one of the best. It also came down to finances. Dickinson Law works hard at making it more affordable through scholarships. I wanted to limit my debt as much as possible.

Internship:
Doing intake interviews at Bethesda Mission and expungement clinics in Carlisle and Harrisburg helped to calm my nerves. Initially, legal work looked like this impossible task where I had to have the answer to every problem off the top of my head. Working at these clinics gave me a real sense of the work and a great opportunity to learn how to speak to clients.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course was Criminal Law first semester of 1L year. Students were selected at random to either defend or prosecute a case in every class session. I found that having to prepare both arguments for each class was like playing chess against myself trying to find the best defense and then trying to tear through that defense.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Coming from San Francisco, Carlisle was a change of pace. It definitely has its charms! I love the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in the town square where you can find fresh vegetables, fresh baked pies and donuts, and local apple cider. The local pubs also have trivia nights every week that are always packed with students—and sometimes even law professors!

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Trust yourself and work hard. Don’t feel that you have to know exactly what type of law you want to practice right now. Odds are you will change your mind when you start interning and exploring different areas of law.

You’d Never Guess That… :
Before law school, I used to work in film and television. I filmed in Honduras for two weeks for a nonprofit that works with orphans and homeless children in what was then considered the murder capital of the world.

Erin Seu '21

Erin SeuErin Seu

Jacksonville, FL
Email: ezs408@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Property/Real Estate Law, International Law, Hospitality Law

Undergraduate Study:
University of Florida

Campus and Community Involvement:
Women’s Law Caucus, Student Bar Association, International Programs, Research Assistant

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The close-knit community. I went to one of the biggest universities in the country, so the change of environment was new for me. Everyone is willing to help because we all know each other and are friends with one another.

Why Dickinson Law?:
In addition to the close-knit community, the faculty-student relationship also seemed very personal and intimate. This intimidated me at first because I felt professors would know me by the mistakes I make in class, but it’s not that way at all.

Favorite Course:
I especially enjoyed Property because Professor Skladany is awesome and because my dad is a real estate agent, so it personally appealed to me more to be able to see the legal side of what he does every day. I also loved Criminal Law with Professor Groome because of the simulations we did and hearing the creative arguments that my classmates came up with to defend their cases. The best thing about Torts was that everything was very clear-cut and organized, with each tort having its own set of elements to meet.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Don’t be afraid of cold calling — that's what absolutely terrified me the most about law school. I was prepared to be embarrassed every class by being called out (literally) for not knowing the answer, but I quickly realized that I’m never the only one. And, the professors do a great job of guiding you to the right answer!

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Everything is walking distance! I love being able to make last minute plans with my friends and arrive at the destination in five minutes, or stay out late and still make it home within five minutes, as well. It saves a lot of time and gas, and walking to and from school is a nice way to prepare for or unwind from the day.

On Choosing a Law School:
Take location into consideration in all aspects (city, demographics, the building itself) because it may matter more than you think. I almost chose to go to a law school in a major city and am so relieved now that I didn’t because the commute would’ve taken up much of my day, the location was not in the safest area, and the building was not as open and inviting as Lewis Katz Hall. Carlisle is far enough away enough from the city that you can focus and not get too distracted by big events happening every week but close enough for a day trip to Harrisburg or a weekend trip to Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I love to travel and am trying to visit every continent. So far, I’ve been to four of seven (and 16 of 50 states, including D.C.). I also have a split uvula!

Kristian Villegas '21

Kristian Villegas

Kristian Villegas

El Paso, TX
Email: kxv239@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Immigration, Education, Civil Rights, Criminal Law

Undergraduate Study:
University of Texas at El Paso

Campus and Community Involvement:
1L Mock Trial Competition, Latinx Law Student Association, Student Bar Association, Honor Code Representative

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
I enjoy how everyone interacts with each other like a family. Coming from undergrad into law school, I was fearful of how cut-throat other students would be and how distant the professors would be from the stories I was told. At Dickinson Law, I was happily surprised to find a community of students and professors who help each other out and take the time to understand and fix the problems each of us face.

Why Dickinson Law?:
When applying to law schools, my pre-law professor recommended that I research and consider applying to Dickinson Law. I was blown away by what the Law School had to offer. The various programs and the sense of community Dickinson Law expressed through its website and from communicating with the Law School gave me a feeling of comfort and family long before I even visited the campus.

Internship:
During my time at Dickinson Law, I have been able to spend my 1L summer as a judicial intern at the Cumberland Court of Common Pleas under President Judge Edward Guido. From my experience at the courthouse, I was able to view how attorneys, clerks, and judges interact with one another and how they carry themselves in the court and in their work.

Favorite Course:
Criminal Law because the course is carried out in a way where the students practice their oral skills as if they were in the courtroom. There are other opportunities to do this throughout law school, but this is the first time during 1L year that we were able to take part in such an activity.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Law school is a lot of work and can bring with it a lot of stress and sleepless nights. My advice? Stop and smell the roses. Take a walk around town. Get drinks with your friends. Knit. Go the movie theater and watch the latest film, with a group or by yourself. Eat a tub of ice cream. Cry watching Coco. Do whatever you need to relax and destress. Studying and practicing law is important for your future and in law school, but if you keep your eyes glued to the black text in the book, you will encounter sleepless nights and get sick really quickly, which could damage the progress you are trying to make. Take the time to enjoy yourself, do the things you love, and relax every now and then. I guarantee you that doing just that beats a cup of coffee any day of the week.

Something You Love about Carlisle:
Carlisle is not a metropolis, and I love how it is a place where you can go for walk, hang out with friends, and enjoy the day without being distracted by the loud noises and burdens of the big city. The community that Carlisle offers invites people to openly say hi to each other on the streets and lend a helping hand to strangers.

On Choosing a Law School:
If I had known the kind of people, education, and experiences that Dickinson Law offered when I was applying, I wouldn’t have worried about going to any other school other than this one. Also, get a warm coat for the winter.

You'd Never Guess That..."
Back in high school, I performed stand-up comedy for the talent show. I didn’t place as one of the top three acts, but I can tell you I made the entire auditorium laugh, and for me, that was always the goal.

Iman Woodyard '21

Iman WoodyardIman Woodyard

Harrisburg, PA
Email: isw19@psu.edu

Legal Areas of Interest:
Social Justice, Civil Rights, Public Interest, Juvenile Law

Undergraduate Study:
 The University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Campus and Community Involvement:
Vice President of Black Law Students Association, Class Representative on the Diversity and Educational Equity Committee, Women’s Law Caucus, Public Interest Law Fund

A Dickinson Law Favorite:
The strong connection you make with almost everyone who walks in the building: the environment here is welcoming, as the professors and staff make an intentional effort to know who you are, both as a student and an individual. Whenever alumni come back to visit the school, they are invested in your law school journey and are willing to share tips and opportunities that they are knowledgeable about. You can tell that Dickinson Law is a special place, as we all have become a tight-knit community.

Why Dickinson Law?:
After going away for my undergraduate degree, I decided that it was beneficial to return to my home state to enhance my roots in my community. My acceptance letter included a handwritten note from Dean Saidman-Krauss detailing what she liked about my application and how much of an impact I could make in the Law School community, which made me feel truly wanted as an incoming student.

Internship:
The summer after my 1L, year I interned at MidPenn Legal Services in York, PA, a non-profit law firm dedicated to providing legal advice and services to low-income individuals. I enjoyed my time there because I was exposed to a variety of issues in civil law: unemployment compensation, protection from abuse, landlord/tenant dispute, federal income tax issues, and many more. At MidPenn, I sharpened my communication skills because I interacted with clients, either on the phone or in person, on a daily basis. I am not yet sure what specific type of law I want to practice, but this internship solidified my passion for advocating for vulnerable populations who may not have access to legal services due to socio-economic hardships.

Favorite Course:
My favorite course so far would be Torts. Although there is a lot of information to remember, Professor Mogill does well with making the material relatable to everyday life.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
Law school is obviously difficult but PLEASE remember to enjoy your life as well. Life does not get put on hold for three years just because you are in school. In any competitive environment, it can be very easy to get lost in the anxiety and stress levels of others, which could cause you to get caught up in things that you do not have to worry about. You need to find the balance between striving for academic excellence while maintaining your physical, emotional, and mental health. Find time to breathe, and make memories that are not necessarily law school-related. Remember that the big picture focus at the end of this is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the bar exam and/or genuinely thrive in your career choice. Law school is a struggle, but find some time to enjoy yourself before it passes by!

Something You Love about Carlisle:
It is easy to access surrounding major cities because of where Carlisle is located. I commute to class because I live in Harrisburg, and it is an easy drive. Places like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, D.C., New York, and New Jersey are all within a drivable distance for potential job placements or even just a road trip with friends.

On Choosing a Law School:
Do not be afraid to contact the Admissions Office for any questions and concerns that you have. Just like they evaluated you to see if you are a good fit for the Law School, you have to take initiative to make sure the Law School is the right fit for you according to your own standards as well.

You'd Never Guess That... :
I am very much an athlete, as I have competitively been involved in over seven different sports in my lifetime. In high school, I was a Junior Olympian in track and field. In college, I was on the Women’s Varsity Rowing team. Now in my retirement, I enjoy long-distance running to keep in shape.