Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Highlighting accomplishments among paralegal professionals and students in Philadelphia

SETTING THE BAR: Peirce paralegal students and alumni are
making great strides in their industry in Philadelphia
Lately, we've seen many new and soon-to-be paralegals in Philadelphia make great strides in their industry. Several of them are students and alumni of Peirce College, and we wanted to extend a round of applause for some of the achievements they've accomplished recently. Here's a roundup of some of their milestones that are helping to strengthen the paralegal industry in Philadelphia.

Top honors 
  • Soheila Nikpour, a student in our Paralegal Studies post-bachelor certificate program, has been awarded the South Jersey Paralegal Scholarship for 2013. The South Jersey Paralegal Association is one of the oldest and most active paralegal associations in the area, and the scholarship will go toward Sohelia’s education here at Peirce. 
  • In April, we welcomed 24 Peirce students into the National Paralegal Honor Society. They joined the Peirce chapter of the organization -- Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) – which now has 120 members. 
  • Nataly Nguyen, a student in our Paralegal Studies bachelor’s degree program, was named one of the 2013 national scholarship winners in the LEX Essay Competition. 
Giving back to the profession 
  • Co-presidents of our Paralegal Student Association, current students Ashley Marie Arntz and Kat Salvaterra, have been incredible leaders this past year. Both attended the South Jersey Paralegal Education Conference this spring, which helped them get real-world experience that will benefit them in their careers. 
  • Four Paralegal students recently joined the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) for Student Lobby Day, an annual event held in Harrisburg, Pa., where students, educators, and administrators come together to talk about specific issues in higher education. That was a great initiative to see in the spring session. 
  • Many of our alumni are also active in giving back. Lisa Dean and Desiree Purvenas-Hayes took over leading the Pro Bono committee of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals. They’ve been tremendous in partnering with our Paralegal Student Association at the College and helping our current students get involved in pro bono work. Some of the organizations we’ve worked with include Wills for Heroes, the Support Center for Child Advocates, and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. Jo-Ann Ann Williams, Vivian Luckowitz, Monica Londo, and Babette Pace are also some standouts that continue to head committee initiatives at the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals and stay connected with us here at the College. 
  • Alumni members, Becky Reedy and Judith Alvelo, will be taking on key leadership roles with the South Jersey Paralegal Association (SJPA). Becky Reedy, NJCP, has recently been elected to serve as SJPA’s President for the 2013-14 term, and Judith Alvelo, NJCP, has been elected to serve as treasurer of SJPA. 
Honing knowledge and skills 
  • Alex Sullivan is a Peirce College alumnus and one of our advisory committee members. He recently took the Paralegal Core Competency Exam (PCCE), a test meant for a student that has just graduated from a degree program to help them differentiate themselves in the marketplace when starting their career. He passed the exam, and will be sharing his experience with our student base for how they should prepare and what they should expect from this exam. 
  • Alumna Doreen Ziccardi is also one of our advisory committee members. She recently sat for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam to earn her National Advanced Paralegal Certification offered by NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations). Doreen has extensive knowledge and experience in the paralegal field. She sat for the exam to illustrate her competency and improve her professional standing. She passed the exam and earned the coveted credential of R.P. (Registered Paralegal). 
  • And a special congratulations to Paralegal Studies alumna Natalie Price, who just conferred her master’s degree in Criminal Justice at St. Joseph’s University and alumnus R. Christopher Campbell, who also completed his law degree at Widener University. 
New ideas and innovations 
  • The Paralegal Student Association launched advising sessions for current students this year. Now there are specific times for paralegal students to meet with faculty and other association members to chart out their academic plan and see how it relates to their overarching career goals. Many students have asked for this sort of advisement, so we were happy to implement this additional support structure. 
  • Another initiative by the Paralegal Student Association was piloting legal citation workshops. These are structured as an additional support base for students to help them with their proficiency, competence, and comfort level with the legal citation process. One of our alumni members and paralegal tutors with the Walker Center, Charles Scavitto, worked with Professor Gentile to design this workshop support series that we’ll now be offering each term. 
  • We also want to thank all the students and alumni who participated in our American Bar Association (ABA) site visit this year. The ABA reapproval process is structured on a seven-year cycle, and this was our year to host a visit with ABA Approval Commission members. Our students and alumni were a key part of the visit, and it was a wonderful experience to work with them and help them understand the importance of this re-approval process. They represented us so well! 
We also wanted to let you know about our paralegal symposium for the fall session. This year’s symposium will focus on the importance of connecting with professional associations, and why it matters for students and professionals.

We are lining up representatives from the local and regional professional associations to participate in this major event. Our keynote speaker will be Bob Hrouda, President of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. It’ll be a great opportunity for our Paralegal Studies students to connect and network with the professional associations, which can have a lasting impact on career prospects after they’ve graduated.

Great work from all of our Paralegal Studies students and alumni this year! Thank you to everyone who made it a resounding success. We can’t wait to see what great things are in store for us next year.