Pershia Wilkins, of Albany, has been named Albany Law School's director of diversity, a newly created position for the School.
As the chief diversity advocate for Albany Law students, Wilkins will be responsible for expanding the Law School's programs and coordinating services to promote diversity and support students from underrepresented groups, including from different cultures and sexual orientations. In addition, she will develop and implement diversity education for all Albany Law students, faculty and staff.
"Ms. Wilkins will help Albany Law develop a cohesive initiative that helps galvanize the community around a daunting national problem with high stakes," said Albany Law School President and Dean Thomas F. Guernsey. "Albany Law is working hard to recruit minorities locally and nationally. We are proud to say that our percentage of minority students in this year's incoming class is 23 percent, higher than the national average of 17 percent."
Today, people of color comprise 10 percent of U.S. lawyers, in a country with a population that is one-third non-white and growing. Last year only 6.5 percent of all U.S. law students were African American. This number shrank from the previous year, as it has for Puerto Ricans and Mexican-Americans.
Previously Wilkins served as assistant director for student and recent graduate relations in Albany Law's Career Center.
A native of Jamaica, Wilkins is active in the greater Albany community and affiliated with many organizations such as the United Way of Northeastern New York and board membership on The Legal Project (Capital District Women's Bar Association). She has a B.A. in Economics from the University at Albany.