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Student Ambassadors

Cassandra Carudo

Graduation Year
2023
Hometown
Suffern, NY
Undergraduate School
SUNY Oswego
Undergraduate Major
Economics and Marketing
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
While my goal is to pursue a career in public interest in New York State, and find a career that is fulfilling, I plan to keep an open mind to the opportunities that come my way while in law school.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
I have only been here for one semester, but what is most meaningful to me so far is how willing the professors and teaching assistants are to go out of their way to help students. I always feel comfortable asking for help.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
Work hard but take time for yourself. It’s important to have a good work-life balance, especially when you start acclimating to law school. Albany Law has a great community of students, faculty, and staff who are there to help you, so take advantage of them as resources.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
I felt that going to law school in the New York State Capital would put me in a position to be as intertwined with the law as possible. Additionally, I heard of the amazing reputation the law school has, which lives up to the expectations. Lastly, being close to home and family was an additional deciding factor.

Gienabou Diallo

Graduation Year
2023
Hometown
Bronx, NY
Undergraduate School
University at Albany (SUNY), U.S Army Quartermaster School, Fort Lee, Virginia
Undergraduate Major
B.A in Africana Studies and Sociology; M.A. in African Studies with a concentration in Law and Policy
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
I joined the United States Army Reserves as a 92A logistical specialist two years ago, and upon graduation, I would like to pursue a future as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the military to ensure that all soldiers have their basic legal rights. I am also very passionate about helping others, so I'd like to pursue a career that would enable me to advocate for people who are marginalized and oppressed around the world.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
This summer, I had the opportunity to serve as an Anderson Fellow with the Government Law Center. I worked alongside Professor Ava Ayers in conducting Election research, aided her with legislative drafting, and engaged in statutory research directly with the Common Council and Corporate Counsel at City Hall in preparation for litigation. It has been a wonderful experience, particularly because I was able to see how my classroom experience manifests itself in the real-world.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
I would encourage prospective students to learn patience. It is okay to not know what you would like to pursue in the beginning of your law school career, however, with the right support systems around you, the journey will get easier. It is also very important to do your best and to remember that your best is always enough.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
I wanted to attend an institution that would allow me to be my authentic self and build on my experiences. After visiting Albany Law School, meeting with the staff, and talking with students, I felt like it provided me with a space where I could grow with a community, challenge myself, receive support and be around inspirational people. Albany Law School is also one of the top-ranking schools in public service law, so I felt that attending this institution would it provide me with many opportunities in our State capital. I am grateful to be part of this institution and I have no doubt that I will excel here.

Jenna DiBenedetto

Graduation Year
2022
Hometown
Hannacroix, New York
Undergraduate School
Fordham University
Undergraduate Major
Environmental Studies and Anthropology, Pre-Law Track
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
Upon my graduation, I hope to continue to expand on the opportunities I have received while a student at Albany Law School by pursuing a career in either trial practice or appellate work. These passions have been inspired by the opportunities I received as a student at Albany Law School.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
Some of my most meaningful experiences while at Albany Law School have been through my involvement in the Anthony V. Cardona '70 Moot Court Program. As a 1L, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Moot Court. As a 2L, I had the opportunity to compete in both Interschool and Intraschool competitions. And now as a 3L, I have the privilege of chairing the Domenick L. Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition. This involvement has allowed me to network, advocate, negotiate, and grow as an individual.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
It can be easy to be excited and anxious and certainly overwhelmed during the law school process because it is all of those things. However, there are two important things to remember: (1) you are fully capable of succeeding in your desire to be a law school graduate; and (2) you should pick an institution that inspires you and supports your passions. Feeling like you are part of a community that inspires you and uplifts you are a part of the law school decision process that far too many people overlook. It's time we change that.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
I chose to attend Albany Law because of the incredible staff and faculty at the law school. Pursuing your law degree can be a stressful and demanding process, but having support from individuals who actively want to see you succeed is a major comfort and motivator. Additionally, the access to New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, and the legislature is such a unique privilege and opportunity.

Deana DiBenedetto

Graduation Year
2023
Hometown
Hannacroix, New York
Undergraduate School
Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont. Study programs at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen, Wales, United Kingdom and American University in Washington, D.C.
Undergraduate Major
Political Science with a minor in Crime and Justice
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
Upon graduation, I hope to use my writing skills, public speaking abilities, and knowledge of the law to provide a voice for my future clients and solve the problems they may be facing.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
I think the most meaningful experience I have had at Albany Law School has been connecting with my professors. Not only are the professors at Albany Law School academically gifted, but they are also distinguished leaders in their perspective fields. The conversations I have had with my professors about the subjects being taught in my courses have been incredibly interesting, have allowed me to apply what I have learned to the real world, and have also given me the opportunity to reflect upon my own career interests.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
“A great flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin. The biggest advice I would give to incoming law students is to try their best not to give into the pressures of what I would like to call the “stereotypical law school student:” a cut-throat individual who is in competition with his/her/their peers and who is constantly downing espresso and studying from before dawn to past dusk. In order to better organize myself and thereby prevent myself from cracking under the pressures of law school, I bought myself an agenda book, which I have used to organize my schedule, document my accomplishments, set larger goals for each month, and create a list of tasks to achieve each day. I then would try to focus on tackling each task, one at a time. Worrying about everything that needed to be done at once overwhelmed me. Likewise, stressing about what my peers had done to prepare for class or how late my classmates had stayed up at night to complete their readings only prevented me from completing my assignments. I simply focused on my schedule and task list and worked to do the best I could each day. The biggest insight I think that I can give to incoming law students is to keep focused on each task at hand and work the hardest they can, and they will ultimately bloom where they plant themselves.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
I am from a small town about thirty-five minutes South of Albany, so I was familiar with the Capitol Region. When I pictured my future, I always thought that I would end up back in the area to attend Albany Law School. I am very close with my family, whom I live with and who serve as a strong support system for me throughout the stresses of law school. There is also so much opportunity for law students in the region because Albany Law School is the only law school strategically located in New York’s State Capitol.

Robert Hojnacki

Graduation Year
2023
Hometown
Rome, NY
Undergraduate School
University at Albany
Undergraduate Major
Political Science/ Business
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
While I have come to Albany Law with an open mind in terms of my future, I have always had a love for business so practicing corporate law is my goal.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
My most meaningful experience has been joining the rugby team. Starting school in the middle of a pandemic made it difficult to meet people and try to adjust to law school. Once I joined the team, I instantly had a great support system and mentors who wanted to help me even in the virtual setting that we were in. The insight and guidance that the team provided helped me immensely and no questions I had went unanswered.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
Law school may seem overwhelming at first, but you are never alone at Albany Law. The professors and staff will go above and beyond to help you in anyway possible. They understand what it’s like to be in law school, never hesitate to reach out for help!

Why did you choose Albany Law?
The opportunities and possibilities that come from living in the capital district of New York are endless and that made me instantly fall in love with Albany. Once I visited Albany Law and felt the welcoming atmosphere from the faculty and students I knew that this was the school that would help me succeed.

Katarina Parise

Graduation Year
2022
Hometown
Tampa, FL
Undergraduate School
University of Tampa
Undergraduate Major
Criminal Justice & Criminology
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
To practice law in a field that I am passionate about. I want to find a field that I am interested in and that the work I am doing benefits my community. I aspire to be an Assistant District Attorney.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
I really enjoyed being a teaching assistant for Criminal Law my 2L year. It was a great experience, I was able to not only relearn concepts but also help first-year students with the class. I really enjoyed the advisory role and being able to help students in that way.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
You get what you put into this school, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and to become connected with the school. Attend as many events as you can because you will meet wonderful people and hear from exceptional speakers. Albany Law will give you the opportunities, you just have to take them.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
I knew I wanted to practice in the state of New York, but what drew me to Albany Law was the numerous opportunities they offer to students interested in field placements and clinics. Additionally, when I visited the campus everyone was very warm and inviting. I was between Albany Law and another school but after visiting both, I could feel the community and support that Albany Law offered.

Kyle Pittman

Graduation Year
2023
Hometown
Rochester, New York
Undergraduate School
The College at Brockport, SUNY
Undergraduate Major
Major: Political Science; Minor: International Studies
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
I have come to Albany Law with an open mind regarding my plans upon graduation. That being said, I am looking forward to taking a wide range of courses to decide what field I will approach in the future.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
Thus far, my most meaningful memory is experiencing how approachable the Albany Law community is. Right from the first week of classes, I made meaningful relationships that will last beyond my time here at Albany Law.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
Take advantage of the many opportunities Albany Law has to offer. There are plenty of groups and other societies that in-coming students can join. It makes the Law School experience more exciting when you get involved and make new relationships.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
Albany Law has an outstanding reputation for its student body, professors, and alumni. Everyone I have come across thus far is more than willing to help students grow not only in their studies but professionally as well. The School is also uniquely located to opportunities in New York City and Boston for those who wish to gravitate towards those popular areas.

Matthew Skinner

Graduation Year
2022
Hometown
Shortsville, NY
Undergraduate School
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Undergraduate Major
Philosophy,
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
I would like to be in a place that will support professional and personal growth, satisfy my intellectual curiosity, and lead me down a path to fulfillment. Where that is exactly will have to be determined. I would like to work in litigation in a wide variety of areas and hopefully one day end up in the judiciary.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
There is simply too much to choose from! Participating in the Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition tested my time management and made me a better writer and speaker. Albany Law Review has made me appreciate and pay attention to the finer details of legal research and writing, and has reinforced some of the tightest friendships from my first year. Joining the rugby team has also been exceptionally meaningful, as I have formed a great support system of friends, peers, and alumni who provide mentorship and guidance. Beyond that, we also have a great time socializing and hitting people – on the field of course!

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
Law school is not easy and can be intimidating. It is a lot of work and competitive and requires discipline and perseverance. But know this: you belong here and there are people in your class, the faculty, and the administration who want to see you succeed and enjoy your time in law school and in the profession. Join one of the many organizations on campus and you will find a group of people wanting to help you be the best lawyer and student you can be!

Why did you choose Albany Law?
I chose Albany law because of its location in New York State, reputation and connections with lawyers across the state, and because of the wonderful financial aid package. The City of Albany is close enough to opportunities in New York City and Boston, merely three hours from home, and I can easily escape on the weekends to Montreal or the Adirondacks. Most of the lawyers and judges I know from home who I look up to went to and highly recommended Albany Law. Albany Law also made law school affordable for me. As someone who has grown up and lived in a trailer park my whole life, an esteemed and noble profession such as one in the law seemed inaccessible to me. It’s because of the generous community members who want to give back that allowed me to come here.

Matthew Walsh

Graduation Year
2022
Hometown
St. Albans, Vermont
Undergraduate School
Southeastern University, Florida
Undergraduate Major
Major in Legal Studies, Minor in History
E-mail

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
The overall atmosphere of the school. Most people think of law school as cutthroat and competitive but here it is very easy to get involved and branch out and make friends.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
Do not panic and take things one step at a time coming in to the school. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first but all of the professors and other students want to help you out. It is a community here!

Why did you choose Albany Law?
My first time visiting the school on accepted students day I had no idea what to expect and knew almost nothing about the area. Everyone at Albany Law was very friendly and welcoming! Several of the admissions staff even knew my name coming in. This made a big impact on me in choosing a school and that coupled with the many opportunities in the area, I knew Albany Law was the place to be.

Tai White

Graduation Year
2024
Hometown
Middle Grove, NY
Undergraduate School
SUNY Cortland
Undergraduate Major
Sociology
E-mail

Career Goal upon Graduation:
Upon graduation I hope to create more learning opportunities for students who wish to further their studies. I believe that law professors have the ability to positively impact the lives of their students. I want to be able to assist, inspire, and educate others.

What has been your most meaningful experience thus far?
I finished my first semester of my first year this past spring and I knew what was expected from me as a law student however the first month and a half was challenging. My most meaningful experience was pushing myself to understand completely new material and taking advantage of office hours hosted by my professors and my teacher assistants. Their positivity and constructive criticism allowed me to have more confidence in myself to overcome the difficulties I dealt with while managing an entirely new course load.

What insight can you give prospective students about Albany Law?
The first year is challenging and you may often find yourself buried in school work but always reserve time for yourself. Remember that if you do not take a break or rest, your body will do it for you. Managing your time while prioritizing your mental health is very important. Although law school is very demanding, you are capable and you are going to meet amazing professors, teacher assistants, and other students who will give you whatever push or advice you may need.

Why did you choose Albany Law?
Albany Law was my first choice, I felt as if the programs provided to students prepared them for the legal field that they wished to enter. I am aware that studying law and practicing law are very different, however I believe Albany Law gives students the proper insight and experience they need to succeed.