UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Bringing with them strong academic credentials and an impressive list of professional accomplishments, the 127 members of the Penn State Law class of 2021 set foot on Penn State’s University Park campus for the first time as law students on the morning of August 13. The class consists of students from 24 different U.S. states and five foreign countries—Canada, China, India, Nigeria, and Taiwan. Twenty-seven percent of the class is made up of first-generation college students and 22 percent is from minority and ethnic groups that are typically underrepresented in law school and legal practice.
The class represents more than 95 different undergraduate institutions, including Baylor University, Brown University, Howard University, the University of Maryland, Lincoln University, the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and Wellesley College. Nine members of the class hold undergraduate degrees from Penn State.
“I’m thrilled to welcome this impressive group of students to Penn State Law in University Park, who come to us with very strong undergraduate academic records and professional accomplishments,” said Hari M. Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs. “I’m especially proud that 27 percent of our 1L students are first-generation college graduates and that 22 percent of them self-identify as underrepresented minorities. Providing pathways to opportunity is a top priority for Penn State Law and the broader University—it is important that those pathways extend into graduate and professional education.”
Other highlights from the class include:
- More than 30 different undergraduate majors are represented, including degrees in accounting, chemistry, economics, electrical engineering, environmental science, finance, mechanical engineering, music, and psychology.
- Approximately 60 percent of the students in the class are women.
- The class has extensive international experience, either working or studying in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
- The class speaks many different languages, including Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Krio, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- Members of the class have interned with NASA, the U.S. Department of State, and the IRS.
- They have worked as coal miners, patent engineers, tennis instructors, and research analysts, as well as for law firms, senators, judges, and a governor.
- The class has two Eagle Scouts, several decorated athletes, a Fulbright Scholar, and an AmeriCorps Fellow.
- They have volunteered on behalf of LGBTQ and underprivileged youth, the elderly, terminally ill children, refugees, veterans, and victims of sexual and domestic abuse.