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Denver Law Welcomes Second Class of Ascent Students

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Sturm College of Law

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Ascent Class of 2022

Denver Law Ascent Class of 2022

During the first week of August 2022, thirty students entered the Ricketson Law Building as incoming University of Denver Sturm College of Law 1Ls for the first time. These students are part of Denver Law Ascent, a pre-orientation program in its second year. Ascent is designed to welcome and support incoming Denver Law students from communities historically underrepresented in the legal profession. This includes, but is not limited to, ethnically or racially historically underrepresented students, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, gender-diverse students, and first-generation college students.

During this pre-orientation week, students participated in a mock class
Entertainment Law taught by Professor Roberto Corrada, gained exposure to studying and learning techniques from the director of the Academic Achievement Program, Professor Diane Kraft, and participated in community building activities, among other programs. Through a partnership with the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and robust participation by various affinity bar members, each student was paired with a lawyer mentor. Engagement continues with the Ascent students throughout the year.

Ascent was developed by Denver Law’s Office of Student Affairs and its Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “For generations, the legal profession overall has been comprised of individuals who occupy the ‘majority’ in virtually all definitions of the word,” shared Alexi Freeman, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at DU. “If you are not part of those communities, you often feel like you don’t belong. And now, research demonstrates what many of us have long thought and experienced law students’ sense of belonging significantly predicts their overall experience in law school and influences their grades, beyond even LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA. Ascent was created to develop that sense of belonging early on and establish community.”

“By connecting students to all sorts of resources, we help ensure that they feel prepared and supported. It doesn’t remove all of the barriers they face or the challenges that law school on its own presents, but it is a step forward,” stated Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Jessica Boynton.

2L student Marcus Collins participated in the program last year. He shared, “It is easy to feel alone in upper education when none of your peers look like you. The Ascent program was the first time I had ever been in an educational setting surrounded by so many like-minded diverse students. I was incredibly touched and moved by how much the Ascent leaders and staff cared about me and the other students in the program. My educational experience has felt quite lonely at times so having people who are so invested in my happiness and success meant the world to me. Because of Ascent, I feel at home every time I sit down in class or walk the halls of the law school.”