The Adelphi University Honors College has graduated many students who have gone on to law school, including 10 Under 10 Young Alumni honorees Christian Fundo ’07, JD; Adaeze Udoji ’08, JD; Philip DiSanto ’12, JD; and Joseph Bruno ’13, JD.
In 2020, attorney John Miller ’12, JD, organized a group of Honors College graduates who attended prestigious law schools (he went to Harvard) to mentor Honors undergraduates. They advised two students, Rachel Vacca ’19, a first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and Maria Giovanna Jumper ’21, a first-year student at Cornell Law School. This year, they are mentoring Iffat Naveed, a 2020 graduate.
According to Miller, “The value of mentoring in my mind is not really to tell Honors College students how to go to law school—our alumni have always managed to figure out the application process, secure offers at top-flight schools and excel in all aspects of their careers. But we acknowledge that applying to and attending law school is stressful, that networking is hard and that everyone comes out at the end of their legal education with certain things they wished they knew at the start.” He added, “In speaking to many Honors College alumni who have become attorneys, it became clear to me that there was a lot of enthusiasm about sharing their hard-won experience with current students, but not a clear avenue to do it yet.”
Miller said, “Establishing an Honors College mentoring program and getting to speak to current students and recent graduates has been such an enriching experience for me.” He added that he hoped “to help our alumni be as prepared and fortified as possible for the rigorous world of legal practice.”
One of the mentored students, Rachel Vacca, made the point that “being able to speak to Honors College alumni who had attended such prestigious law schools was invaluable to me both during the application process and even now as a 1L.” For a low-income, first-generation student like herself, she said, “The concept of applying to and attending law school can be very intimidating and overwhelming. It is quite easy to feel disadvantaged and disheartened by not having the type of support so many law students have with parents, aunts, uncles, etc., who are attorneys and are familiar with the process and material. The Honors College alumni gave me the confidence in myself and in the process to feel that I was not at a loss, but in many ways was at an advantage to have their support.”
She added, “All of the alumni were so generous in offering to help me not only with my application materials but also with any questions I had throughout law school (which you will learn in law school is priceless). I was able to enter a top law school with a preexisting network of alumni who were not only willing but eager to help me succeed. I am eternally grateful for their guidance and support.”