Meet Some of Our New Students09.18.2011 | Law, Students
The University of Dayton School of Law welcomed 177 new students in its summer- and fall-start classes. The average age of the class is 25 and students range from 21 to 50 years of age. Forty-one percent of the class is female. Students come from 28 states and from 95 undergrad institutions.
The fall-start class includes a former restaurant owner; a civil engineer who designed highways in Alaska; a former assistant vice president in the banking industry; and 16 students who received their undergraduate degrees from the University of Dayton. (Read about some of our summer-start students.)
For more than 10 years, Stephen Ramsey worked mainly in the bar and restaurant industry, including stints as co-owner of Thai 9 for four years and another Dayton restaurant that closed in 2009. After graduating from the Art Academy of Cincinnati with a BFA in 1998, he said, he considered entering law school, "but the opportunity to open and operate my own business supplanted all other endeavors and Thai 9 diverted my attention for several years."
After he closed his second restaurant and spent what he called a restless year in retirement, he decided to pursue his interest in law.
More than a month into his first year in law school, Ramsey said he has "rarely been as excited and energized as I am now by an educational institution or experience."
Though he described the academic work as "downright grueling," he said, "I am committed to working through it all and coming out on the other side with a more complete understanding of what the law means and how it affects complex societies."
Before enrolling at UDSL, Sonja Kawasaki was working as a registered professional civil engineer for the State of Alaska's Department of Transportation, where she designed highways. "I really enjoyed working as an engineer," she said, "but I realized that there might be other opportunities in this world that might be better suited to me."
She decided to go to law school because she wants to help people. "Jurisprudence seems like a very practical discipline that would ultimately give me many options for achieving such a goal," said Kawasaki, who studied civil engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After law school, she would like to work as an advocate for social justice and in public policy.
Kawasaki said she has been impressed and inspired by the School of Law's professors. "The professors here are amazing, and they are very dedicated and care about your legal education," she said. "Sometimes when the work feels overwhelming, I have to remind myself how hard they are working for us too, and that they want us to achieve."
Josephine Broussard, who is originally from Nigeria and, with her husband, has five children, said she has been fascinated with the law since childhood. Her grandfather was a judge and her sister is a lawyer. "I was always intrigued by the stories of their work," she said.
Before attending UDSL, Broussard was an assistant vice president for Wells Fargo Personal Credit Management and regularly interacted with the company's lawyers. "On a weekly basis I had to consult with the legal department for one reason or the other," said Broussard, who majored in communications and minored in political science at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Since she intends to return to the financial services industry after law school, earning a J.D. will allow her work as an in-house counsel or potentially gain a leadership role. "It has become almost impossible to lead in the financial services industry without legal support," she said.
UDSL was her first choice for law school for several reasons. "I believe in the Catholic institution and I value a school that places God first," she said. "I was also especially impressed with the emphasis with the lawyer as a problem solver concept." Plus, Broussard needed to attend law school nearby since her husband is in the U.S. Air Force and is stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
"Now that I've been on campus for over a month, she said, "I'm convinced I made the right decision."
Like Broussard, Kyle Beatty has been intrigued with the law. His father has worked as a parole officer for more than 25 years, and, he said, through various internship opportunities he had as an undergrad, "I saw the real power the law has for impacting change and helping people."
While he doesn't know what he wants to do after law school, Beatty, who graduated in May from the University of Dayton, where he majored in human rights studies and minored in political science, said he's interested in criminal law, international law and nonprofit law.
For many students, a visit to Keller Hall helped them decide to enroll at UDSL.
Ramsey said he enrolled after attending one of the School of Law's "Admitted Students" programs, which the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid hosts. "The visit convinced me of the quality experience I was bound to garner at UD and made my decision much easier," he said.
Since Beatty was an undergrad at the University of Dayton, he was familiar with the School of Law. However, he said, after touring Keller Hall he came away impressed with the faculty, staff, students and facilities. "UDSL really blew my other options out of the water," he said.
And a visit to campus helped Kawasaki realize that the School of Law suited her and that "it was a place I would like to be to study law."