November 16, 2014 at 11:46 am

CLJC Student Leads New Law Learning Community

Peer Mentor Olayemi Olurin (Provided)

Peer Mentor Olayemi Olurin (Provided)

Olayemi Olurin has led several Learning Communities during her time at Ohio University, but this year she is mentoring freshmen interested in her own specialization: law. The Learning Community, called Law, Justice & Culture, boasts nearly 20 students in attendance and bolsters these students’ knowledge of law-related resources at Ohio University.

Olurin, a senior studying Political Science Pre-Law, said her previous two Learning Communities were great, but this one is particularly special to her.

“I think it’s because we have the same interests and I feel more helpful to them,” she smiled. “They actually care what I have to say.”

Ohio University has dozens of Learning Communities, which are designed for freshmen to be able to get to know their peers and relevant faculty in a specific area of interest. Most of these Learning Communities are based on majors, but this year is the first year for one focused on the study of law from a liberal arts perspective.

It is an initiative of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, which has in recent years developed a Certificate Program in Law, Justice & Culture for high-achieving students as well as the interdisciplinary Making & Breaking the Law curricular theme.

Dr. Haley Duschinski, Director of the CLJC, said Olurin is an integral member of this intellectual community and presents a model of commitment to her students.

“Olayemi is a brilliant young woman and she invests herself deeply in her mentoring relationships,” Duschinski said. “She doesn’t expect her students to agree with her on the issues that matter most to her. Instead, she inspires them to reflect on their own priorities and responsibilities and to establish their own positions on the issues that matter most to them. And they really respond to her.”

This semester, the students in Olurin’s Learning Community are enrolled in a special first-year seminar course called Breaking the Law (CAS 2500), and Olurin says the Learning Community is like a supplement to the class as well as another opportunity to engage with Duschinski and Dr. Bruce Hoffman, another CLJC faculty member.

To Olurin, being able to help students figure out what they like is the most rewarding part of her job as Peer Mentor for the Law, Justice & Culture Learning Community. “I always knew I wanted to be a Political Science major and go to law school,” she reflected. “Different tools for me, like the CLJC and certain classes, helped me figure out what exactly I like about the law. A lot of them are on the same track, and with this I get to help them early. That’s what I like the most: helping them navigate classes and finding out what interests them, what kind of track they want to be on.”

One of the resources Olurin said she has found helpful throughout her college career is the CLJC’s Certificate Program in Law, Justice & Culture, and she encouraged her Learning Community students to apply for this spring’s cohort. “Six of them were just accepted,” she beamed. “That was my goal for the year. I wanted five and I got that, and I’m really happy. My protégés.”

Olurin sent out her applications for law school recently, and she said she hopes to one day work in family law, particularly divorce law. However, she thanks the CLJC for helping her realize it may be possible to simultaneously embrace her passion for critical race theory and civil rights at the same time. She is a CLJC Certificate student and an active member of Students for Law, Justice & Culture.

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