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Academic Success Program - SSG Leaders

William Abbey ‘14

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Ashland, KY.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you?

I went to the University of Kentucky and majored in Accounting. I returned to the University of Kentucky and received a Masters in Accounting the following year.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year in law school was a major shift for me but was definitely exciting.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I decided to become a Structured Study Group leader last year because of the great experience I had in the program my first year. I felt I got even more from the program my second year as a leader so I'm very excited to come back and lead another group.

Olivia Bogan ‘14

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Loev, Belarus. I immigrated to the US about 11 years ago.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I finished my Bachelor's degree at Miami, OH in Political Science.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was pretty tough due to not knowing what to expect and how to properly prepare for exams. I have learned how to do that the hard way -- through my own experience.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader

I chose to become an SSG Leader to hopefully help 1Ls to learn how to adjust to law school rigorous course of study as well as broaden my own prospective.

Neil Choudhury ‘15

What is your hometown?

I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home of Wake Forest University, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I went to undergrad at the University of Louisville and received BAs in History and Political Science. My history concentration was in European history and political science concentration was in international relations. I also earned my MA in International Studies from the University of Washington. My concentration was in Korean studies with an emphasis on North Korean economics and security in Northeast Asia. I speak Korean, albeit poorly.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was actually pretty rough. My wife and son and I moved back to the US from South Korea just a couple of months before classes started and it took us time to adjust. I actually thought I was more prepared for law school because I had my MA, which required lots of research and reading, so I thought I could ease into law school easier than others. Let’s just say that law school is unlike anything you have ever experienced and I quickly learned just how much work was required. But I still had a great time my 1L year, I became better at analyzing and spotting issues and my research capabilities, which I thought were already good, significantly improved!

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I decided to become a Structured Study Group Leader because I’ve always enjoyed working with others! I used to be a teacher, I was a Teaching Assistant in graduate school, and then I worked as a corporate trainer so I think I’m good at helping people achieve their goals.

Jennifer Dollard ‘15

What is your hometown?

My hometown is Lebanon, Ohio -- about 25 minutes north of UC.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I went to undergrad at The Ohio State University and I received my bachelor’s degree in political science.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was very challenging, but also rewarding at the same time.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I chose to become a study group leader because I hope to influence incoming students the same way that I was influenced by the program last year. The program not only introduced me to students who eventually became my good friends, but also prepared me for exams and helped me adopt a study strategy.

Brad Dunkle ‘15

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Huntington, WV.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I graduated from Marshall University majoring in History with a minor in International Affairs and a certificate in Appalachian Studies in 2009. Following graduation, I taught high school World History and Civics at Lincoln County High School, a rural WV school, where I also coached soccer and track.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was certainly a learning experience. Having been out of school for a few years, I was excited to be back in the classroom as a student. I joined a number of student organizations and formed some excellent friendships. Like many other students in my class, I was disappointed in my first semester grades. I found out that law school has a learning curve in addition to the set grading curve, which has to be learned to be successful.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

As a teacher I had an opportunity to pass my experiences along to others, and hopefully allow others to benefit and learn from those experiences. Also, the Structured Study Group helped me, as a 1L, learn about law school, exams, and develop a study group, which to a certain degree I am still maintaining.

Katherine Finan ‘15

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Calgary Alberta, Canada, however, I consider myself as close to a native Cincinnatian as I can after five years of residing here.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I attended undergrad here at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Geology with a focus in paleontology and organic based geochemistry. I left the field shortly after graduation, deciding I liked the legal job prospects more than I enjoyed the prospects of a PhD student!

What was your first year of law school like? Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

My first year of law school was an interesting but challenging experience.Coming from both a foreign country and a hard science had instilled on me a different way of thinking about things that both helped, and at times, challenged my legal learning. However, I found the year academically stimulating and fun. These experiences led me to desire to become a Structured Study Group Leader. I wanted to aid and assist those who may be struggling with the same difficulties I did in learning both the American legal system, as well as the proper mind set to tackle legal based problems, even if you lack fundamentals in the area.

Katie Kettlehake ‘15

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Cincinnati, OH.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I went to The Ohio State University for undergrad and I studied psychology and strategic communication.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was a large adjustment. I had to learn new study habits, improve upon my time management skills, and learn to read and understand large amounts of complicated information in a short period of time. Once I got used to school, the first year was very challenging but definitely manageable.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I participated in the Structured Study Group program my first semester and it was very helpful to me. I learned a lot of skills that helped make the beginning of school less overwhelming, such as how to tailor my note taking for class. I also was given ideas for preparing for exams, and I got experience with practicing to write answers to hypothetical exam questions while getting feedback from someone who had been through the law school exam-taking process. Participating in this program helped me feel like I had a better handle on school when it was all still really new to me. It was also a great way for me to get to know some of the people in my section better. I became a Structured Study Group Leader because I would like to pass on what I learned from my participation in the SSG program and my experience in my first year to new students, to hopefully help them feel like they can manage law school right from the beginning.

Morgan Quigley ‘15

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Martinsville, OH. Martinsville is a very small town near Wilmington, OH. I grew up on a large farm and my family still lives there today.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I went to The Ohio State University for my undergrad. There I studied criminology and sociology.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was a great, but a very different experience. Law school teaches you to think in a new way and getting comfortable with that took some time. My first year was stressful, but looking back now it was also an amazing experience. I learned a lot and made some great friends. Always remember that everyone is going through the same thing and talking with others about your problems really helps.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I chose to become a Structured Study Group Leader because I was part of a structured study group my 1L year. I really benefited from this study group. Having the chance to see how other people study and answer questions was really beneficial. I also had a great study group leader and I knew that I wanted to help 1Ls by being a study group leader.

Candice Thomas ‘15

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Maryland, but I grew up in Columbus, Ohio.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in Spanish. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I spent three years working at an orphanage in Honduras, where I directed the Preschool and Special Needs Department, taught English and Physics, and supervised the teenage girls.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was my eye opener to the legal profession and the concept of "thinking like a lawyer." I had no idea starting out how I would be able to transform my thinking, but the professors, staff, and other students at UC Law have been helpful every step of the way.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I chose to become a Structured Study Group Leader to pay it forward. My SSG group helped me to understand the material so much better. Had it not been for them, especially my SSG leader, I don't think I would have done as well during my first year.

Melissa Thompson ‘14

What is your hometown?

I am originally from Cincinnati.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I completed my undergrad at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I studied Human Development and French, and I also minored in Sociology. I came straight to UC Law after completing my undergrad.

What was your first year of law school like?

I was very anxious to begin law school, and although my first year was academically difficult, I learned more than I ever imaged was possible in one academic year. I also had the opportunity to meet and study with classmates who have become my closest friends.

Why did you chose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I chose to become a Structured Study Group Leader because I benefited greatly from my participation in a Structured Study Group during my 1L year. I think it is a great way to work together with your classmates to navigate through the new experience of law school and to get some advice from an upper-level student along the way.

Erin Welch ‘15

What is your hometown?

I grew up in Niceville, Florida.

Where did you go to undergrad and what did you study?

I attended Florida State University. I did a dual degree program: My first degree was in music (my instrument was voice), and my second one was in International Affairs, with concentrations in History and Spanish.

What was your first year of law school like?

My first year of law school was not quite as stressful as I had thought it would be. Although I had to do a lot more studying than in undergrad, the professors and students were so helpful that the transition was pretty smooth. There were also so many great social activities to attend and organizations to get involved in, which provided awesome opportunities to bond with classmates.

Why did you choose to become a Structured Study Group Leader?

I was very nervous beginning law school, especially since I came straight from undergrad. However, being in a structured study group was very helpful for me, from learning how to make outlines to doing practice exam questions. I wanted to be able to help the incoming 1L class with their transition into law school and give them confidence the same way that my study group leader helped me.