Student Wins Fellowship for Work with Law and Leadership Institute

09.13.2011 | Students, Law

Stephanie O’Banion, who taught 10th-graders as part of the Law and Leadership Institute held at the University of Dayton School of Law this summer, has received a teaching fellowship for her participation in the program.

O’Banion was named a John D. Holschuh Sr. Fellow, which is sponsored by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, in honor of Judge John Holschuh, who died earlier this year. The fellowship provides a stipend to help students while they pursue their legal education and assist students in the LLI program.

Through the Law and Leadership Institute, high school students take summer classes at Ohio law schools to become more familiar with legal issues and the justice system while also working to improve their study habits and reading and writing skills. The program’s goal is to establish and sustain a “pipeline” into higher education and the legal profession for disadvantaged students from under-represented backgrounds and areas.

UDSL was one of six Ohio law schools that participated in the program this summer.

This summer, UDSL’s program took place over five weeks and included 55 students in 9th, 10th and 11th grades. The School of Law has participated in the program since 2009.

O’Banion, who is from Centerville, Ohio, near Dayton, was responsible for a class of 15 students who are now entering the 10th grade at various Dayton-area high schools. Her class covered the First Amendment’s Free Speech and Establishment clauses, the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and legal writing.

Though she had never taught before this summer, O’Banion said that she wanted to teach in the Law and Leadership Institute because she wanted to help “teenagers who may not realize how talented they are.”

“I was fortunate enough to have role models who helped me realize how successful I could be,” she said, “and that there are a wealth of opportunities available to those who have the motivation to take advantage of them. These students deserve the same.”

Maureen Anderson, an associate professor and reference librarian who oversees the institute at UDSL, praised O’Banion’s participation in the program. “Stephanie O’Banion is an academically gifted student with superb people skills who has chosen to use those gifts to help students from underserved groups,” Anderson said.

O’Banion said that she got as much out of the program as the students do. “My understanding of the black letter law has definitely improved, as I had to fully understand the material before I could expect to explain it to the class,” she said. “Also, my presentation skills and confidence improved.”

“There is definitely something intimidating about walking into a room full of teenagers who not only expect you to provide them accurate information but who get excited anytime they can ‘stump the teacher’ or point out that I had made a mistake,” she said.

O’Banion said she also looks forward to continuing with the program this fall, when she will help the students prepare for their moot court competition.

For more information on the Law and Leadership Institute, contact Maureen Anderson, an associate professor and reference librarian, at 937-229-4810 or by email.