Janira Rivera Attends Law School Prep Program

Program exposes Central Penn College students to life in law school

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Eric Cousar and Janira Rivera receive their Jurist Academy completion certificates.

SUMMERDALE, PA (06/16/2011)(readMedia)-- Central Penn College students Janira Rivera, of Lebanon, Pa., and Eric Cousar, of Easton, were two of the first ten students to participate in a new partnership with Widener University School of Law through Widener's Jurist Academy, a law school prep program for rising college juniors and seniors. The two-week immersion program, which ran May 30 to June 10, was designed to introduce minority undergraduate students to the idea of law school and a legal career. Previously available since 2008 on Widener's Delaware campus, the program was expanded to Widener's Harrisburg campus this year.

"We are so pleased to have several highly-respected law firms, lawyers and organizations, including Central Penn College, partnering with us on this endeavor," said Widener Dean Linda Ammons, one of only seven African-American women currently serving as dean of a U.S. law school.

Tuition for the academy is free, but students must be accepted into the program. Central Penn requires a 3.0 grade point average, completion of a minimum of 60 college credits, a legal studies major and a desire to attend law school. Those accepted into the program spend two weeks (80+ hours) at Widener's Harrisburg campus experiencing the dynamics of a law school classroom, meeting lawyers and judges in field trips and on campus, and learning about the admissions process and life at law school.

"Our students walked in the shoes of a law student for two weeks," said Central Penn Professor of Paralegal Randi Teplitz. "This program allowed students to really see and feel what it would be like to go to law school."

Student Janira Rivera plans to attend law school and become an attorney for the first step in her career path.

"It's simply a 'make or break' moment for me," said Rivera. "This was a matter of getting a taste of what is yet to come. I gained an insight into the rigorous work that will be inevitable for the path that I have chosen. Central Penn supplied me with the appropriate skills necessary to successfully complete this academy and make my college proud."

The ultimate career goal for student Eric Cousar, of Easton, Pa., is to become a defense attorney.

"The Widener law program experience confirmed my dream of becoming a lawyer," said Cousar. "With a law degree, I hope to have the necessary knowledge to successfully defend the public."

Rivera and Cousar are not the only Central Penn graduates to attend law school. Kirsten Kutler, '06, a Central Penn criminal justice administration graduate, completed her Widener studies in May and graduated as the class valedictorian.

"I am grateful to Central Penn Professor John DeLeo for building the foundation of my legal education," said Kutler. "I think that having already taken the undergrad version of classes, such as torts, legal writing and wills went a long way in preparing me for the law school version of these classes."

Central Penn offers a bachelor's degree in legal studies and an associate degree in paralegal.

Central Penn College has been helping students turn potential into career success since 1881, offering bachelor's and associate degrees in the fields of accounting, business administration, criminal justice, information technology, communications, digital arts, healthcare, homeland security and legal studies. The college, currently serving students at its Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lehigh Valley locations, attributes its high rate of student success to a caring faculty and its hands-on learning approach. Approximately 88.2 percent of Central Penn graduates are working or continuing their education within one year of graduation. Central Penn College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. www.centralpenn.edu