Monday, August 8, 2016
Sydney Sericolo ’17
When Taylor Cuomo ’15 transferred to Siena in the fall of 2013, she was unsure what her college experience would look like. As a last minute decision, she majored in political science with a pre-law certificate. New to the school and the courses of study, she looked to her academic advisor, Len Cutler, Ph.D., professor of political science, for guidance.
Cutler introduced her to Siena’s The Hon. James P. King Moot Court/Mock Trial Team where she earned her spot as a defense witness her first year trying out. Senior captain and defense attorney of the mock trial team at the time, Mara Afzali ’14, provided mentorship, friendship and advice to her new team member. The guidance did not end when Afzali received her diploma.
“It is a continuation of the same approach I learned in Siena’s pre-law program,” said Afzali. “Build strong connections, know that your community is behind you 100%, work as hard as you can to succeed and never forget to give back.”
Upon entering Albany Law School, Cuomo realized just how willing Siena alumni were to lend a hand. During her first year, Afzali and fellow Siena alumna Christine Armstrong ’13 were teaching assistants in Cuomo’s classes.
“Whether it was reassurance about a final exam or help explaining a tricky subject, they were always available to help or lend an ear,” said Cuomo. “Even over the summer, I am so grateful that I have two friends from Siena who are able to assist and give advice as I continue to navigate law school.”
Afzali recalls how second and third year Albany Law students went out of their way to guide her, which is why she felt it was her responsibility to do the same for a fellow Saint.
“It was such a short time ago that I was an incoming first year law student and I really can’t imagine what that experience would have been like without the second and third year students from Siena reaching out to me, regularly checking in to make sure I had support and assuring me that I was on track to succeed,” said Afzali.
Armed with the support of fellow Siena alumni and the skills and experiences Cuomo gained from Siena’s Pre-Law Program, she is seeing great success at Albany Law School. Opportunities such as the Summer Legal Fellows program at Western New England Law School gave Cuomo an edge of confidence over other first year law students. She went in with effective research skills that some of her classmates were only just learning.
After finishing her first year at Albany Law School, Cuomo got straight to work this summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, a program run through yet another local Siena alumnus, Thomas Spina ’82. In addition, she is a researcher for one of her professors at Albany Law and also writes for a NYSBA Environmental Lawyer.
As the next generation of law students enter the classroom this fall, Cuomo will be lending a hand, just as those Saints before her have done.
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