Lawyer Masthead_2013.png
Sharing the Experience
Student Ambassadors roll out the welcome mat to recruit prospective students.
The Obiter Dictum is but one function of the Ambassadors, a group of volunteers that comprises more than 100 students in any given year. Headed by an elected board of 10 1Ls and five 2Ls, Ambassadors work with the law school’s Admissions Office to host prospective students and answer their questions. Some travel to colleges to represent Vanderbilt. They also help the law school build and maintain relationships with alumni by making donor appreciation phone calls and working at alumni events. Once the new class arrives, they help ensure the positive experience continues by coordinating student mentors for each incoming 1L.
Ambassadors President Rachel Bevans, Class of 2014, likes the fact that “current students play such a large role” in recruiting the next class. “I wanted to be involved with Ambassadors because I’ve had a great experience at Vanderbilt and wanted to help ensure the warm, collegial environment here was evident to prospective students,” she said.
Ambassadors also help ensure the positive experience continues when students arrive as incoming 1Ls by coordinating student mentors for members of the new class. “Law school is a stressful experience wherever you go, but here you’re surrounded by people who make it less so,” said Devin Rourke, editor-in-chief of the Obiter Dictum. “We work hard, but we have fun together, too.”
Bevans often sees the impact of her role as an Ambassador in the halls of the law school; students she hosted during Admitted Students Weekend last April are now members of the 1L class. “Vanderbilt students host prospective students overnight for our two Admitted Students Weekends, and that’s rare,” said Ryan Willard, associate director of admissions and recruitment, who also serves as the Ambassador’s sponsor. “Most law schools give students the names of local hotels.”
The Ambassadors are a longstanding tradition at Vanderbilt. Willard recalls being happy to find the program in place when he joined the law school’s Admissions staff in 2004. “It’s nice to have a group of students you can call on to talk with prospective students and answer their questions,” he said. Although they face a demanding load of courses and other commitments, “it’s never hard to find students willing to support our admissions program,” he said. “Vanderbilt law students are happy with their experience here, and they want to share it with others.”
Ambassadors are divided into groups according to their interests. “In each area of responsibility for the Ambassadors, there’s a student leader who wrangles and coordinates with classmates to get things done,” Willard said. “It says a lot about Vanderbilt’s culture that students are so engaged in helping to recruit each new class.” In addition to Bevans, current officers, all members of the Class of 2014, include Briana Rizzo, who heads the Ambassadors’ mentoring initiative; Obiter Dictum editor Rourke, whose official title is vice president for admissions; Mitchell James, who heads the group’s alumni relations initiatives; and Rachel Stone, who serves as treasurer.
Rourke volunteered to edit the Obiter Dictum because she had worked in the admissions office as an undergraduate. Applying to law school can be a daunting experience, she emphasizes, noting that one of the Ambassadors’ most important roles is to make Vanderbilt accessible to prospective students. “I remember feeling awkward,” she said. “I wanted to reach out to other students who might be feeling the same way. Schools tend to undersell the feeling that you belong and that you’re wanted.” At Vanderbilt, the Ambassadors play a crucial role in assuring admitted students they will be welcomed here.
—Jennifer Johnston

Page 1  2
Winter 2013 • Vanderbilt Law School
VLS Community News
Firm Giving Honor Roll
Darrin Williams ’93
Fulbright Scholar  Sofie Indesteege, LL.M.  Class of 2013
VLS ranks among top 10  in entertainment law
Daniel Horwitz ’13  helps Volunteer Taxi
U.S. Attorneys convene  at VLS
ICC Prosecutor delivers Charney Lecture
Dean Chris Guthrie  on VLS priorities
Who's on the VLS  Board of Advisors?
Assistant Dean Scotty Mann offers giving update
Professor Don Hall,  1943-2012
Class of 2013 Orientation Week Photos
Reunion 2012 Photos
The View from the Top
It Is So Ordered
The Lowdown on VLS  and Nashvegas
Two Experts Join Law School Faculty
New Faculty Chairholders
Lawyer credits and contacts