About the UDSL Learning Communities for First-Semester Students

The Law School assigns all incoming first-semester students to a Learning Community during orientation.  The mission of the Learning Communities is to support the development of Practice Ready Attorneys Committed To Inclusive Community and Excellence (PRACTICE).  Each Learning Community will consist of approximately 8-10 students and will be led by a Dean’s Fellow, a high-performing, upper-level law student committed to modeling the professional qualities of excellence the Law School cultivates and honors.  Through weekly group meetings, students will practice the study skills and habits necessary for law school success, first-time bar passage, and the practice of law.  Participation in a Learning Community during the first semester of law school is a graduation requirement for all students.

2013 Dean's Fellows

The University of Dayton School of Law is proud to present the inaugural cohort of Dean's Fellows for Fall 2013:

Katie Blunt

Jon Bucher

Amy Givens

   

Kelli Hayes

John Hemenway 

Chad Houston

   

Marcie Hunnicutt

Elizabeth Schuler

Christina Spencer

If you are interested in learning how you can become a Dean's Fellow, click here for more information.

Katie Blunt

Katie Blunt"The Dean’s Fellows Program presents an exciting and unique opportunity for me to help incoming students make the challenging transition to a successful law school career. I am not a traditional law student. I have over nine years of full-time work experience prior to law school in the corporate sector, as well as in areas of higher education, information technology, and the government and military sectors. Transitioning to law school from full-time work would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, for me without the constant encouragement and support from my upper classmate mentors. Also, volunteer work has been a fulfilling part of my life. It is important to me to give my time and help others whenever I am able. Being a Dean’s Fellow gives me an opportunity to help others make the transition to law school and to give back the community."

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Jon Bucher

Jon Bucher"I have always strived to achieve academic excellence. Throughout my studies, I have appreciated the importance of putting in the necessary work to achieve my goals. I also have come to understand the importance of working with others to discover different ways to effectively learn. It helps to have role models lead you in the right direction. I feel that collaborative learning is vitally important in law school. Many aspects of law require successful practitioners to see every side of an argument and learning with groups allows one to recognize how another student thinks. This serves as a great way to discover other methods of learning that one may not have realized existed. Working with fellow students, along with the facilitation of an upperclassman, will very much contribute to success in law school."

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Amy Givens

Amy Givens"I am excited about the Dean’s Fellows Program because I believe that success is a team effort. I grew up playing sports and, make no mistake, I like to win. However, I have always chosen team sports. Even with tennis, I played doubles. I think sharing success with teammates makes the victory sweeter, more fun, and the necessary hard work less daunting. An inclusive community of learners will allow us to sharpen each other’s skills, creatively problem solve, and promote excellence for all. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Dean’s Fellows Program which I believe will have a very positive impact on the academic environment at UDSL."

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Kelli Hayes

"Kelli HyaesThe most valuable thing I learned while working as a paralegal before law school is humility will take me farther than arrogance. As a Dean’s Fellow I hope my experiences will help first-year students build character that combines competitiveness and modesty. I believe such character leads to academic and personal success. In helping to build this character, I am at an advantage for having chosen the two-year program. It is impossible to hide in such a small group, thus I have to be disciplined in my preparation and studies. This type of discipline is imperative to success as a student, as a graduate taking the bar exam, and as a practicing attorney. It is important for law school to foster the skills necessary for excellence, and I think all students should expect professors to ask nothing less than excellence on a daily basis. Being a Dean’s Fellow allows me to assist students in learning that hard work will pay off in the long run."

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John Hemenway

John Hemenway"I am excited about being a Dean’s Fellow because it allows me to use some of the skills and experience I gained prior to law school as well as those I have learned in school and to pass those skills on to others. As a teaching assistant last year, I became passionate about helping 1L students learn how to analyze issues properly, write efficiently and witness their progress and growth as students. Also, I believe I can help students understand how best to take advantage of opportunities available to them on campus and in our community. I bring a unique viewpoint as I have both operational and legal business experience, as well as experience at a large firm, which is an asset in helping students learn about and understand potential career paths. I plan on being an ambassador for the University of Dayton any way that I can both during my time here and when I begin practicing law. Being a Dean’s Fellow is an extraordinary opportunity to be such an ambassador."

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Chad Houston

Chad Houston"Being a Dean’s Fellow allows me to be a more engaged and positive member of the academic and social life of the Law School. As a Dean’s Fellow, I hope to learn the leadership and developmental skills necessary to become a standout member of the UDSL community. Moreover, I am excited about the prospect of showing other members of the community that there is never any reason to let thoughts and questions about being able to succeed in law school enter their minds. I want to be able to help change the mindset of my peers from one of 'can I do this' to a mindset of 'I can and will do this.' It is extremely important to me to be able to look back on my time here at Dayton, and know and feel in my mind and heart that I actually did make a difference and I was in fact able to help someone else succeed here at school."

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Marcie Hunnicutt

Marcie Hunnicutt"Being a Dean’s Fellow is exciting to me because it is an opportunity to do what I enjoy: working with others where creativity, learning and growth occur. I love being part of something that enables others to succeed, and knowing that I helped somehow in that process. I enjoyed being a part of the Academic Excellence Program and one of the things that struck me about our leaders is how willing they were to help and encourage each of us. I would like to pass on that attitude to others in the University of Dayton learning community. Additionally, I hope to pass on work ethic skills that transfer not just to academia, but also to life. Earning top grades is not the only goal here. It is important to learn other skills as well, such as perseverance, self-discipline, compassion, consideration, and validation of others. Those are skills that one can use anywhere in life, and working as a Dean’s Fellow is a way to model these skills."

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Elizabeth Schuler

Elizabeth Schuler"I am excited to be a Dean’s Fellow because I want to have a positive impact on the success of my peers. I hope to pass along to students my passion for success and to understand how important and exciting it can be to perform well in law school. Additionally, I want students to take away from the experience that being a lawyer is not just a career but also a community of professionals. I look forward to the challenge of making a group of my peers successful law students. It is my hope that these students will carry on the skills they learn in the Learning Communities throughout their careers. I am proud to be a Dean’s Fellow and have the opportunity to impact the greater good of the UDSL community."

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Christina Spencer

"I Christina Spencerwant to make an impact on the lives of my fellow students. Being a Dean's Fellow provides me the opportunity to do just that. For some students, law school can be a terrifying, abrupt lifestyle change. Law school can be a consuming force that can potentially and ultimately reduce overall levels of happiness and well-being. As a Dean's Fellow, I want to assist others, whose shoes I once filled, even if the result is a reduction in school-related stress. I want to help others to have peace of mind in their personal lives due to higher levels of confidence and/or competence as students. I have had a very positive experience with law school and I want to share that experience and demonstrate to incoming students that law school, while stressful at times, is a very rewarding, manageable—and enjoyable!—endeavor."

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