This year's class of Leadership Fellows engaged with the community in a variety of ways, launching a website to guide first generation law students on the road to law school and success in law school, partnering with the Association for Children of NJ to create a "know your rights" guide, teaming with a variety of high schools in Newark, Jersey City and beyond to empower those hoping to go to law school, forming a relationship with Girls with Pearls, a mentoring group aimed at empowering young women as they begin their professional careers, and pairing with the U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. District Court of NJ to facilitate the aims of the ReNew Re-entry Program.
Melissa Walker ('20) described her experiences as a Leadership Fellow this way:
Before becoming a Leadership Fellow, I never considered myself a leader. I actually didn't know what I considered myself, but it definitely wasn't a leader. I was always anxious and felt that I didn't belong in law school. (If you are dealing with anxiety or impostor syndrome feel free to talk with me.)
After finishing Leadership Fellows I still don't describe myself as a leader. Prof. Franzese and the Leadership Fellows class taught me that there are many ways to be a "leader" and I was able to find better words that described me: advocate, compassionate, and accountable.
Use this class as a way to find your words and hold yourself to them. Before I make any decision, I stop to make sure that I show compassion. I choose compassion because everyone around us is going through their own trials. I hold myself accountable for my actions. I want to make sure that when I do something wrong, I apologize and then do the right thing. When it comes to the title of "advocate," Professor Franzese gave me that title. She saw it in me before I saw it myself. She saw my hard work, dedication, and how I strive to help others. She sees something in all of you.
Use her words and teaching to help find yourself. Use me as a resource too.