In Class News

September 16, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Finding Friendship Thanks to Law, Justice & Culture Learning Community

From Left to Right: Olivia Gedeon, Joe Landusky, Lydia Wendel, Brea Muzykoski

From feft: Olivia Gedeon, Joe Landusky, Lydia Wendel, Brea Muzykoski

Olivia Gedeon, Joe Landusky, Brea Muzykoski, and Lydia Wendel all began their academic careers at Ohio University in late August of 2017 in the Law, Justice & Culture Learning Community, taught by the Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, Dr. Haley Duschinski.

The four became fast friends.

As they found their way on Ohio University’s campus within their programs, they all joined the Law, Justice & Culture Certificate program, taking certificate courses together when they can. The four are in many of the same student organizations and spend time together on and off campus, all thanks to the Center for Law, Justice & Culture being the place of beginning for what has been a friendship lasting the entirety of their college careers.

‘I Was Far from Home’

“I had a very hard time adjusting to life here at OU,” Wendel says. “I was far from home and was contemplating leaving Athens and transferring somewhere closer to my hometown. Brea, Joe, and Olivia made sure that I was always feeling at home and checked on me frequently. Whether we were studying together, or hanging out at one of our dorms, the three of them really began to make Ohio University feel like the home it is for me today.”

Wendel is a Political Science – Pre-Law major, with a minor in Anthropology, and a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture. She is also the President of the Ohio University Mock Trial team, as well as the Director of the Ohio University Chapter of the ACLU, and a member of Phi Alpha Delta.

They ‘Truly Helped Me Find My Way’

Gedeon says of her first impressions of her now close friends, “I remember the three of them were immediately talking and were sitting near each other. It wasn’t until later on that I finally approached them, and we began spending our class time together. They were very friendly and welcoming,” says Gedeon, a double major in Political Science – Pre-Law and Sociology-Criminology, with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture. She is a member of the Ohio University chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project-u (OIP-u).

Gedeon and Muzykoski soon found out they both lived in the same residence hall, and the group began spending their time in the dorm studying for the cluster of classes they had together.

“I realized quickly just how helpful, supportive and encouraging the three of them were. I was originally undecided when in the Learning Community and working with both Dr. Duschinski and the three of them truly helped me find my way here,” Gedeon says.

‘No. You’re Definitely a Joe.’

Landusky is a Political Science major with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture and is also the vice president of Phi Alpha Delta, the pre-law fraternity on campus, and a Students Defending Students representative.

He remembers the first day of class very clearly.

“I introduced myself to Brea and Lydia as Joey, they both shook their heads and said, ‘No. You’re definitely a Joe.’ And since, I’ve been Joe. But really, they’ve had more of an effect on me than just my name. The three of them really help keep me grounded—and always helped me navigate academic life if I was ever feeling lost. They were like my soundboard most times, listening to me and giving me advice.”

‘No Second Guessing Who I Could Go To’

Muzykoski is a Political Science – Pre-Law major, with a minor in African American Studies, and a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture. Muzykoski is also a member of OIP-u and is an RA with Housing and Residence Life.

“I loved meeting the three of them in the Learning Community and growing close so quickly because from there on out, there was no second guessing who I could go to if I wanted to take classes with anyone.” Muzykoski says,  “I’ve taken countless classes with the three of them, and it always makes a course more enjoyable being beside some of your best friends while studying. It feels like we’ve always known each other. I can’t imagine my time at OU without them.”

Muzykoski, Gedeon, and Landusky all took the Law, Justice & Culture Seminar taught by Dr. Susan Burgess, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, last spring, while Wendel took it the previous year with Duschinski. “Having that seminar course with Joe and Olivia really made our nights go so much faster. Sometimes being in a three-hour class during the evening can make you dread having to go to that class, but I genuinely enjoyed the seminar course, and knowing I got to see Joe and Olivia made it even better.”

Favorite Courses in the Certificate Program

The course curriculum offered within the Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture gave the group classes to thrive in together, and space to continue their time growing and learning in Athens. On their favorite courses, Wendel cites Constitutional Law with Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, which she took alongside Muzykoski, Landusky’s  favorite course is the Seminar on Law, Justice & Culture with Burgess, Gedeon’s favorite is Criminology with Dr. Amanda Cox and Muzykoski’s is African American Political Thought with Dr. Daniel Moak, as well as Constitutional Law: Pre-Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Patricia Gunn.

Gedeon says about the Certificate Program, “Lydia had already applied and been admitted the year previous to Brea, Joe, and I applying, so it was nice to have someone able to attest to what the program was like. We could all tell how much Lydia loved being in the certificate program, and she really wanted us to apply as well. It made it a no-brainer.” Since being at Ohio University, all four students agree that the courses they’ve taken within the certificate program have been their favorite courses they’ve taken throughout all of their classes at Ohio University.

As for the future? Gedeon and Landusky get to look forward to finishing their time here at Ohio University next year, while Muzykoski and Wendel are graduating ahead of schedule this spring. Muzykoski is planning on applying for the master’s in Law, Justice & Culture, as she enjoyed her time in the Certificate for Law, Justice & Culture program so much, while Wendel is currently working on her law school applications.

But whatever does happen, the four know that with their time working in the certificate program, and spending time in the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, they’re prepared for whatever comes next. They also know that they’ll always have each other to count on, whether in Athens, in law school, or returning to Athens for Homecoming 20 years from now.

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