January 19, 2021 at 9:43 am

CLJC Faculty, Co-Curricular Experiences Guide Gemarro to Law School

Olivia Gemarro

While looking at colleges her senior year of high school, OHIO senior Olivia Gemarro stumbled upon OU and fell in love with what it had to offer. “I wanted a more personable academic experience with a relatively small student-to-faculty ratios, I immediately fell in love with OU and haven’t looked back since.”

Once on campus, Olivia took a humanities elective that would  change the direction of her undergraduate career: Criminal Justice (SOC 2600) with Professor Rebecca Collins. “I soon found myself captivated by criminology and the complex relationship between law and society.” Olivia expressed. This also encouraged her to apply to the certificate in Law, Justice & Culture the following fall, as well as adding a second major in sociology-criminology to prepare herself for a career in criminal law.

After being accepted into the program, Olivia dove in head-first to everything the CLJC had to offer. “In the two years I have belonged to the program, I have networked with brilliant faculty members and with other like-minded scholars who are just as passionate about legal studies as I am.” She regularly attends CLJC-sponsored programming, is a member of many of the affiliated student organizations, and makes use of the pre-law advising the CLJC offers with Pre-Law Advisor Larry Hayman, Esq.

“Without the CLJC, I doubt I would have had any idea about how to navigate the LSAT or the law school application process this fall (thank you, Larry!)”

Olivia is especially thankful for some of the classes she has taken as a part of the certificate, with affiliated faculty members. Even though she had already developed a passion for sociology, taking Corporate and Governmental Crime (SOC 3670) and Violence Against Women (SOC 4670) with Dr. Holly Ningard helped reassure her that she had chosen the right path. “Dr. Ningard’s lively presence in the classroom and the insightfulness of her lectures are just some of the qualities that make her such a great professor” Olivia notes.

“I’d also like to give credit to Dr. Fredette, Dr. Elliott-Dorans, and Dr. Sullivan of the Political Science Department for expanding my perspective on politics, an area I was admittedly rather afraid of when I first came to college.”

“The CLJC has impacted my academic, professional, and personal development during my time at OU in the best ways possible.”

Outside of the CLJC community, Olivia is involved in many campus organizations. She is the Office Administrator for Students Defending Students, the Social Media Coordinator for Ohio Crime Victims Justice Center, an ambassador for Ambassadors for the Survivor Advocacy Program, a member of Phi Alpha Delta, Vice President of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honors society, and a Democracy Fellow for the Campus Vote Project at OU.

In the spring, Olivia will be graduating with majors in English/Creative Writing and Sociology-Criminology, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and focus on criminal law.

“I will be attending law school next fall to focus my studies on criminal law, although ‘where’ that may be is yet to be determined. I have been admitted to several great programs and am waiting on a few more decisions, but I hope to have that all figured out in the next few months!”


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