The Face(s) of 2006
by april otterberg '06
From left to right: Yu Lu, Chris Miehl, Shannon Miller, Thomas Hand, and Joyce Koo Dalrymple (Photos by: Suzi Camarata)
Many Roads Lead to Law School
Admissions had another precedent-setting year, as applications surpassed 7,800 and topped 2002’s record by nearly 600. The class of 2006 is academically talented—fifty students are members of Phi Beta Kappa (another BC Law record)—but what might be surprising are the varied paths students traveled before arriving at law school.
YU LU, who grew up in China, received a Harvard Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology in 1999. Yet two years into postdoctoral work, he realized his passion was for reasoning through problems, not making guesses and collecting data, as experimental science requires. Patent work appealed as a unique way to apply his science background, and, in 2001, he became a patent agent with Ropes & Gray. Lu maintains his ties to the firm and hopes to become a patent attorney.
CHRIS MIEHL always had an interest in the law, but after graduating from college in 2001, he decided to work for the New York City Office of Emergency Management, where he’d previously interned. When September 11 threw the city into chaos, he found himself inside the city’s command center, co-managing the victim hotline and gathering situation reports to coordinate the various agency efforts. The experience continues to affect him. “It put things into perspective,” he says. “I realize law school isn’t the only thing.”
SHANNON MILLER spent two decades as a gymnast before arriving at BC Law, winning nine world championship medals and seven Olympic medals to become the most decorated American gymnast in history. After retiring from competition in late 2001, Miller sought a different sort of challenge. Law school requires her to exceed her supposed limits—just as she always did in gymnastics. “When you’re at that level in competition, everyone expects you to coach or judge,” Miller says. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something else.”
THOMAS HAND, at forty-six, is the oldest first-year law student. As a foreign services officer for the US Agency for International Development, Hand spent much of his life abroad. Whether helping Nepal transform to a democracy in the early 1990s or setting up programs to assist nomadic peoples in Mali, Hand was acquiring a global perspective on justice. The desire for justice may be universal, he says, but people don’t always perceive the law as a way to achieve it. Hand believes a law degree will help him promote justice at home and abroad.
JOYCE KOO DALRYMPLE was a reporter for the PBS-affiliated New Jersey Network News, and though she was providing a community service in covering the news, she became dissatisfied with merely reporting others’ endeavors. After an interest in American adoptions of Chinese children led her to produce a one-half hour documentary, she decided to attend law school. “There was more I could do to effect change,” she says.