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Learning Communities and Dean's Fellows

Learning Communities

The University of Dayton School of Law is dedicated to providing all incoming law students with an education that is committed to leadership and service through placement in a Learning Community. Each Learning Community consists of approximately 8 to 10 students and is led by Dean’s Fellows, upper-level students selected for their academic achievement, commitment to the Law School community, and interest in education.

Dean’s Fellows work with the Law School’s Student Affairs department to assist students in developing the values of the UDSL community including the five Marianist pillars: Faith, Mary, Community, Mission, and Inclusivity.

During the year, the Learning Community program offers first-year students the opportunity to learn about the core values of the University of Dayton School of Law and the professional norms of the legal profession through featured guest speakers from throughout UDSL and the legal community.

The Learning Communities also encourage and promote students’ participation in various professionalism and career services activities and workshops to ensure that 1Ls are healthy and well-rounded law students that the Law School cultivates and honors.

Participation in a Learning Community during the first year of Law School is a graduation requirement for all students.

How can I become a Dean's Fellow? 

2023 Dean's Fellows

Learn more about the latest class of Dean's Fellows.

The Paul McGreal Fellow
Abbigayle Qiu

By sharing my strengths in study skills, lessons learned, and other insights, I hope to have a meaningful impact on the Dean’s Fellow program and ultimately contribute to the success of the incoming 1L class even extending beyond law school. I believe that by helping the next class of 1Ls succeed, I would be contributing to the success of UDSL and ultimately the elevation of the legal profession.

Online Hybrid
Jessica Blake

I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the success of our incoming hybrid cohort. The advice and guidance I have received from my dean’s fellows has been invaluable. To have an opportunity to help someone else who is struggling but refusing to give up would be a privilege. To guide those who are doing well and make this journey a little more comfortable and enjoyable would be a blessing. Our first year can be very daunting. For many, myself included, our past learning skills do not automatically convert into successful learning skills in law school. We must find a way to adapt our learning skills and methods to teach ourselves the material and engage in ways that create law school success. It is my hope to lend my skills, knowledge, and support to the next class and to pay forward the advice and support I received from my own Dean’s Fellows.

Peyton Henke

I don’t have anyone in my family that is a lawyer, and I don’t know any lawyers personally, so my Dean’s Fellow was really my go-to for questions throughout my first year. I know how overwhelming the first year of law school is on so many levels, and I want to be able to support new students and give them pointers on everything that I know now and that I wish I knew then. The work/school/life balance is probably the largest challenge that I have had, and that I know many of my peers have had in law school thus far. It is tough to navigate, but there are ways to make it easier, and figuring out how to study effectively and efficiently was a game-changer for me. I want to bring these experiences to the table in helping incoming students who will undoubtedly experience many of the same things

Karissa Miller

Law school is obviously difficult, and attempting it hybrid often compounds its difficulty. I am well-suited as a Dean’s Fellow and support newer classes because I have, in effect, done this before. I am a teacher by trade and listening, offering feedback, and teaching others is my lifeblood. I hope to continue and enhance the role the Dean’s Fellows before me embodied. They were helpful, insightful, and supportive. I am excited to meet students where they are and help them construct their hybrid community and find their identity as a law student within said community throughout their first year of law school. I hope to share the hard-won wisdom I have earned over my first two years as a University of Dayton law student to make the transition into law school easier.

Jordan Gilligan

Through my Dean's Fellows advice, I learned how to be flexible with my learning strategies, know how to ask for help, and trust myself as to what works best for me. I became resourceful over the course of semester in seeking out solutions. I also learned how to utilize my professor’s office hours effectively by asking specific questions and knowing how to be prepared to make the most of the time. Additionally, I remember learning how to trust my way of learning and adjust to a learning style that worked best for me instead of simply doing what others did. Most importantly, I developed self-efficacy skills that allowed me to know how to be confident in a classroom, not let the competitive environment get in my head, and grow as a leader. I am confident that what I’ve learned during my year as a 1L will help others be their most authentic self in and out of the law school and learn how to adapt to the environment.

Austin Glover

The best way to show gratitude for an opportunity is to work to share that opportunity with others - when a door opens up in life and you walk through it, you shouldn’t close it behind you, but should turn around and help others through that same door. I am grateful to have been able to pour back into groups that have meant a lot to me in the past. The Dean’s Fellow program seems like the perfect opportunity to pour back into UDSL. I remember relying on my Dean’s Fellows my first semester. Now, I feel equipped to step into their shoes and be an asset to new members of our community. As a Dean’s Fellow, I welcome new students with open arms and want to help them figure out the little things that don’t have to do with classes.

Marie Poinsatte

As a Dean’s Fellow I hope to support 1L students so they may feel brave and self-assured, if not entirely sanguine, as they begin law school. I am in the best position now to help students because I have confidence in my role as a student. I have learned the ropes, if you will, by meeting professors and talking with them about their specialties, getting to know my classmates and their diverse backgrounds, and attending events on campus and in Dayton. After six years here, I am still learning new things about campus and the city. I have grown to love this place and am excited at the opportunity to welcome in new people. Success in law school is attainable when one maintains their fortitude, and I am happy for the chance to remind students of that throughout their first year.

Anub Puri

As somebody that wants to do more in the community, I have a deep passion and interest in the Dean’s Fellow program. I have experience with volunteer community work in my town by running charity drives, coaching u14/15 basketball, and being a good role model. I have a natural tendency to help people and I want to help the new students of Dayton Law. As somebody that received continuous support from their Dean’s Fellow with any questions or concerns, I understand the importance of a Dean’s Fellow and am happy to engage in this challenging task.

TJ Scanlon

My choice to come to Dayton was another move away from my hometown in upstate New York and I really did not know anyone coming in. I really had no idea what to expect from law school as I have no lawyers in my family, but the self-discipline and prioritization of my academics has again led me to start on the right path. I have found early success at Dayton and I seriously believe that I will only do better now that I have a year under my belt. Being a Dean's Fellow allows me to put these skills to work and guide the law school’s newest students in the right direction.

Ana Scherschel

I am excited about being a Dean’s Fellow because I think that I can provide a perspective that I feel is missing from both the general law school experience and law school at University of Dayton. This is the perspective of a student who is above median, but not at the very top. Throughout fall semester, first year students are provided many opportunities to be mentored by the top performing students. While their advice is helpful, the reality is that 90% of students will not be in the top 10%. People are so much more than their grades. There are so many other ways to build a resume in law school and secure a job in an area of law that you are passionate about after passing the bar.

Brandon Wilcher

For me, the transition to law school was made much easier through the Learning Community program at UDSL that is facilitated by the Dean’s Fellows. At the outset of orientation, my Dean’s Fellow made herself available to us and offered support and guidance with navigating new academic ventures such as note taking, outlining, and studying for exams. This support was critical to my success during my first year. I learned very quickly that UDSL is a very special place with resources for students to be able to succeed. I am very excited about the prospect of continuing the mission of the Dean’s Fellow program by helping students navigate their first year of law school while facilitating active and thoughtful engagement.

Shelby Wolf

To effectively help students in office hours, I learned different ways to teach the nuances of the course [that I was mentoring]. I would provide them with study tips I used as a student and outside resources that presented the material in a real-world context. This method allowed me to learn with the students and created an environment where we tackled each problem as a team. I believe the unique experiences and skills I obtained through my undergraduate studies job will enable me to help students from different backgrounds adjust to the educational and life changes that come with starting law school. Many of the topics we discussed in Learning Community, like imposter syndrome and stress management, are issues that I have personally experienced as a first year law student. As a Dean’s Fellow, it is an honor to have the opportunity to connect with first year students and share with them my setbacks, tips, and most importantly, the fact that I sometimes experience self-doubt just like they will.


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