Shevlin '11 thrives on law and international affairs

When Lisa Pex Shevlin '11 graduates this spring, she will have both a juris doctor and a master's degree in international affairs; she has been able to accomplish this in three years due to an impressive feat of time management.

"My interests have always been in law and international affairs,” said Shevlin. “The integration of these disciplines here at Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs (SIA) has allowed me to efficiently accomplish my goals."

“I was accepted into a number of programs but have to say that Penn State offered the most opportunity. With the dual degree and the broader university community, the possibilities are endless,” she said. Her SIA focus is international law and global security, and within the Law School curriculum she is most interested in alternative dispute resolution. She participated in the Center for Immigrants' Rights clinic and was able to attend the Montreal Summer Study Program in Arbitration. As part of her SIA program commitment, she landed a summer internship with Human Rights First in Washington, D.C.

Time management and faculty guidance critical

Achieving these synergies did not happen by coincidence. “I had an elaborate spreadsheet so that I could be sure I was getting both the classes I wanted and needed in order to complete the two degrees within my time frame,” she said, adding that she took 17 credits per semester.

Shevlin credits both SIA and Law School faculty members with supporting her ambitious goals. “Because of my heavy course load I had to stay on top of my studies, and I frequently would drop by my professors' offices if I had a quick question,” she said. She particularly enjoyed classes taught by Professor Dennis Jett. His experiences as former ambassador contributed to "an honest and dynamic learning environment," she said. "The SIA students bring such diverse perspectives because of their different backgrounds and mindsets – it makes for great classroom discussion.”