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Student Advisor and Mentoring Program Founders Deliver Presentation at National Conference

07/22/2021

Last summer, Brooklyn Law School students launched the Student Advisor and Mentorship Program (SAMP), an innovative student-led initiative designed to close the gaps in legal education and empower a new generation of legal scholars. As a capstone to the program’s successful first year, six SAMP student support coordinators from the Class of 2021, Hanna Almai, Brian Brown, Emerald Gearing, Megan Hallson, Joseph Nasca, and Madison Smiley, delivered a presentation in May at the National Conference of the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE), the first student-driven program to do so in the conference’s eight-year history.

SAMP, first implemented in the 2020–21 academic year, develops programming designed to help first-generation law students and those without backgrounds in the law to adjust to the law school environment and prepare to enter the field. Incoming students are matched with student mentors, who ensure that they have access to the information needed to navigate their path through law school. Second-year students are matched with faculty members who can advise on their specific professional interests; and upper-division students are guided through important milestones such as course selection and early bar preparation. The program also hosts workshops on subjects such as academic support, on-campus interviews, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

At the conference, hosted by American University’s Washington College of Law, the student leaders, who were instrumental in initiating and organizing the program, gave a detailed account of its structure, accomplishments, and next steps to an audience of more than 40 academic success professionals. The student presenters were supported by Professors Shane Dizon, director of the Academic Success Program, and Meg Holzer, who joined the full-time legal writing faculty this year and will continue her work with SAMP.

“It was a privilege to have SAMP’s impeccable student leaders represent Brooklyn Law School on the national academic support stage,” said Dizon. “SAMP’s six Student Support Coordinators ensured robust, impactful programming and access to information during a year affected by the challenges of remote education and the call for law schools to provide resources that truly promote equity and inclusion. The infrastructure of participatory governance in SAMP that they have thoughtfully created and executed is the gold standard to which all law school student mentoring programs should aspire.”