UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Law Minority Mentor Program has been offering support to students throughout their law school tenure since its inception in 2015. On August 31, the program kicked off its third year with a reception and dinner at the Atherton Hotel in downtown State College, where the impact of the program was already being felt.
“Law school was a different kind of beast,” said 3L program mentee Carlos Camandang. “Law school is everything but easy, and when things got tough, the Minority Mentor Program stepped in.”
Camandang noted that the mentors take an active role in your time at law school, something he’s experienced throughout all three of his years at Penn State Law.
“I can confidently say that everyone in this program has your back,” he said.
The reception started with an opportunity for networking between all mentors and mentees, and was followed by dinner. Several speakers, including Camandang, closed out the evening. Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, opened by welcoming attendees, and thanking everyone for their participation during a polarized time within our country, one that is particularly difficult for minorities.
“At Penn State Law, diversity is not just a label, but is in fact a core value,” said Wadhia.
Assistant Dean for Career Services Randy Reliford focused on encouraging students to take advantage of every opportunity in front of them, revealing that his participation in a diversity program during his 1L year is what led to his first internship, and eventually, post-grad job. He also highlighted upcoming diversity events in Career Services.
“Your ability to move obstacles out of your way is what you will be judged on the most,” said Reliford. “Join us in this journey; if you don’t go to these Career Services events, you won’t meet your potential employers. If it can happen for me, it can happen for you.”
Dean Hari Osofsky closed out the evening’s comments by first acknowledging that, while diversity programs like the Minority Mentor Program have always been important, perhaps it’s even more important right now, given current events. She emphasized that, at Penn State Law, there is zero tolerance for hate, and that she is proud that the diversity of the law school continues to increase. She also credited the Minority Mentor Program with helping students to navigate the many micro- and not-so-micro-aggressions of law school and the world.
“The community and relationships we build are critical to work through the issues of our time,” said Osofsky. “I look forward to continuing to build this community with all of you. We still have work to do.”