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2015 Structured Study Group Leaders

Jordie Bacon (SSG Leader for LLM Students)

I am a 2L student from Toronto, Canada. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning and I am now doing a joint JD/Masters in Community Planning at UC. As an international student myself, I completely understand how challenging it can be moving to a new place while also trying to navigate your way through those first few weeks of law school. I hope that I can use my experiences from last year to help LLM students feel a part of both the law school and Cincinnati community.


 Brock Caley

I’m originally from Markle, Indiana. I attended Purdue University and majored in Computer Engineering. I decided to become an SSG Leader because I wanted a chance to share my experiences with new students and help give them the same experiences that I had in my SSG.As a 1L Being in a SSG helped me get an understanding of the ins-and-outs of Law School, especially because the work I was used to doing in in undergrad was completely different.  It was not only great to be able to meet with a 2L who had been through the experiences ahead of us, but also good to meet consistently with my peers to seriously discuss any issues we were going through with a student who could help give us advice.  


Brendan Chisholm

I am a 2L student from Denver. I majored in Classics at Xavier University, and graduated in 2013. I spent a year as a volunteer high school teacher at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, and I hope to bring experience in education to help 1Ls be successful law students. I maximized my SSG opportunity my 1L year, and I look forward to creating a collaborative environment where students master the techniques needed to achieve their academic goals. 


Whitney Crim

I am originally from the Dayton area and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Dayton. I decided to be a Structured Study Group Leader because I had a really positive experience with the program during my 1L year. I didn't have the best study habits while in college and SSG helped me to understand what I needed to do to be successful while giving me the opportunity to learn from those around me. I hope that as an SSG Leader I can help provide that same experience to this year's 1L class.


Stephen Doyle

I am originally from Milan, TN, a small town in West Tennessee near Memphis. I went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and majored in Political Science. The SSG experience gave me the opportunity to adjust to learning in the law school environment. Coming into undergrad, I had a difficult time adjusting and my GPA reflected it. I did not want to occur the same blunder in law school and the SSG experience was a helpful catalyst for the transition. I decided to become an SSG leader because it was an integral part of my success in the first semester and I wanted to pass along some of the things that I learned that helped me during that first semester.


Rebecca Dussich

I grew up in Indianapolis, but I have come to call Cincinnati "home" since moving here in 2006. I definitely did not make my way to UC Law via the traditional path. I attended Ball State University for a while after high school, but I left school to join the workforce before completing my degree. I worked my way up through the management ranks, including several years in Safety & Security. In 2010, I went back to school while continuing to work full-time, and obtained my Bachelor's in Business Management from Thomas More College. During my 1L year, I participated in a Structured Study Group and found that it really helped me to soften the blow of this move from work to law school. Being so far removed from a traditional educational environment, I was really concerned that I was going to struggle to keep up with my classmates. But, with the help of my SSG leader, I was able to adjust to the different instruction style of law school professors and successfully navigate all of the case briefs, study aids, hypos, and finals prep that initially seemed so foreign to me. Now that I'm a 2L, I wanted to pay some of that forward to the next incoming class. Law school can be a scary place, but I hope to be able to help ease the transition and pass on some of the knowledge I have gained. And I'll probably learn some things from you guys, too!


Justin Jennewine

I was born and raised in Xenia, Ohio, about an hour outside of Cincinnati. I attended the University of Dayton and received my Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Finance. In my opinion, SSG is the most valuable resource I had available to me during my 1L year. We talked in depth about so many topics that were directly applicable to my classes and I really felt like I was able to seek out answers to questions that no one else would ever directly answer like "what is an outline" "how should I study for exams" "how do I brief these cases" and that was immensely helpful. I wanted to become a SSG leader because I think the program is so valuable that each year should have the same opportunity that I had. I just want to be able to offer the same help that I was offered.


Joe Jordan (SSG Leader for LLM Students)

I attended Morehead State University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Military Science. I wanted become an SSG Leader for LLMs particularly because I know how hard it is to try to adapt to foreign cultures. When I was member of a SSG it helped me to get to know the other member on a more personal level. The SSG also better prepared me for the rigors of the first semester of law school.


Stephen Otte

I was born and raised in Edgewood, Kentucky and earned a B.A in Psychology at Hanover College, a small liberal arts school in Indiana. During undergrad, I came to appreciate the value of collaborative learning while serving as a peer mentor and a student tutor. As a 2L I can say that the SSG program at UC served as an invaluable resource my 1L year; not only did it better prepare me for the academic rigors of law school, but it fostered an environment of cooperative scholarship and social support as well. I am grateful that I had this opportunity and am confident that it enabled me perform at my absolute best during my first year of law school. 


Brice Smallwood

I am currently at 2L student from Lakeside Park, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. I attended Morehead State University on a baseball scholarship and received my Bachelor’s Degree in History. My experience with SSG as a 1L was tremendous and I felt that I was adequately prepared by the time exams rolled around. Law school is much different than undergraduate studies and requires a whole new way of thinking and studying. The SSG program is helpful because it provides 1L’s with the skills necessary to overcome the challenges of the first year of law school. Over the course of the semester SSG covers briefing cases, outlining for exams, and taking practice exams. I decided to become an SSG leader because I wanted the incoming 1L’s to have the same experience that I did in my first year of law school. 


Eden Thompson


I was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio, which is halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. I received my undergraduate degree from Miami University where I double majored in Political Science and History. I have family here in Cincinnati, so I ended up coming to UC for law school, and I absolutely love UC Law and the Cincinnati area. The SSG program is one of the reasons why I enjoyed the first year of law school so much. Law school is a whole different ballpark than undergrad, so this program and my wonderful SSG Leaders helped me learn to prepare adequately for class, seek support through 1L peers and fellow study group members, and prepare for law school exams. Because this program proved to be beneficial to me in my first year, I am looking forward to serving as an SSG leader this semester so that I can assist first years through the challenges of law school, yet reassure them that law school is very manageable and is not as frightening as depicted in TV shows and movies. 


Derek Tucker

I was born in Louisville Kentucky, but have lived most of my life here in Cincinnati. I was a business major at the University of Cincinnati, and graduated with a major in marketing and a minor in business analytics. After getting accepted to UC Law, I was very interested in the SSG program because it offered an opportunity to meet with upper level students and practice effective methods to prepare for and succeed in law school. Things as basic as briefing cases was completely new to me coming into law school, and getting to talk with someone who had been through their first year already was a huge benefit. I felt like I got a lot out of my time as a student in SSG, and because I think it is so beneficial, I was excited to get an opportunity to move to the other side of the table and help incoming 1L's make their transition into law school as smooth as possible.


R. Michael Waddle

Hello! I am Mike Waddle, born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. I went to Walnut Hills High School before deciding to attend The Ohio State University to study economics for my undergraduate degree. When I decided to study law I, like most incoming 1L's, didn't have a clear idea what challenges would face me. Thankfully, the SSG program helped me hit the ground running. The expectations and studying methods for law school are a dramatic shift from undergrad but my SSG leader, Brad Dunkle, gave me the inside information needed to make the adjustment successfully. This experience led me to become an SSG leader myself so that I can pass on help to the next generation of UC law students.


Considering the Structured Study Group Program? Feel free to reach out to this year’s SSG Leaders to pose questions about the program and how it works. Students interested in participating must submit the  SSG Registration Form to the Center for Professional Development by noon Friday August 29th.