CHADRON – Chadron State College students who comprise the inaugural Rural Law Opportunities Program (RLOP) class were welcomed to the program by CSC faculty members and the Dean of the University of Nebraska School of Law, Richard Moberly, during a reception Aug. 30. The RLOP students are Kevin Zhang of Alliance, Neb., Gunnar Buchhammer of Scottsbluff, Neb., Alexandria Nobiling of Chadron, Elizabeth Adam of Wilsonville, Neb., Celeste Cordon of Mitchell, Neb., and Carter Thiele of Oakland, Neb.
RLOP was approved by the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees in 2016. Impetus for developing RLOP came from the Nebraska State Bar Association that says 11 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have no lawyers at all, and 20 others have three or fewer attorneys.
Dr. Michael Bogner, professor of Justice Studies, commended the students for being ground breakers.
“You’re the first in the program. You’ll help us define the processes and you’ll be mentors to others as they come in,” he said.
Dr. Lisette Leesch, professor and chair of Justice Studies, told the students the faculty members affiliated with RLOP intend to help them in every way possible.
“We’re vested in your success,” she said.
Moberly congratulated the group and told them they will be called upon in the future to contribute to school boards and other civic organizations.
“Lawyers have knowledge, they shape enduring progress and policy,” Moberly said. “At Nebraska Law you will gain from experiential learning as you develop your professional skills, volunteer and publish research together. Immerse yourself in CSC, get excited. This is a fantastic opportunity. You’re pioneers, innovators. Help us figure out how this is going to work.”
Following the comments by faculty and Moberly, the RLOP members shared their excitement about being part of a new program.
Buchhammer said he is excited to begin the program with resources and faculty available. Nobiling said she is looking forward to the group’s spring trip to the UNL Law School, and Adam said it was reassuring to have so many helpful resources.
“We have an inside track in a sought-after career,” Thiele said.
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