Kayla Satt joins the group announced last week that will be receiving a full tuition scholarship at NY Law School

Five recent graduates of the CSI Pre-Law program, Sandra Abdellal, Julia Adinolfi, Vanessa Belford, Kayla Satt, and Maxwell Velikodny, have received full-tuition scholarships from New York Law School.

Reacting to this wonderful news, Michael Paris, Associate Professor and Chair of the CSI Department of Political Science and Global Affairs (PSGA), as well as Pre-Law Advisor and Director of the Legal Studies Institute, says that they fit the profile of past awardees perfectly. “All come from families of modest means. All worked very hard and excelled at CSI. Sometimes it happens that virtue is rewarded. I am, of course, elated for all five of them. But I was hardly surprised.”

Paris notes that the College’s Legal Studies/Pre-Law program offers a minor in Legal Studies and exemplary pre-law advising. “The law school admissions process is competitive, both for students and for law schools,” he continued. “Law schools often offer significant financial aid awards, and sometimes even full scholarships, to entice excellent students to attend. CSI has a track record of proven success.  Area law schools know that CSI law school applicants have imbibed the character traits needed for success in law school and the profession beyond: resilience, determination, discipline, and the requisite skills and qualities of mind. New York Law School, in particular, knows that it can count on our students to succeed.”

And succeed, they do. Paris points out that CSI graduates are practicing law across the profession and across the region in careers such as Assistant District Attorney at the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office and the prestigious corporate law firm of Skadden Arps.

Now, let’s learn a bit more about these five outstanding CSI grads.

Sandra Abdellal ‘22

Sandra came to CSI in 2019 and graduated in 2022 in just three years. She majored in Political Science, and Philosophy and Economics, and minored in Legal Studies. A Verrazzano School student, she also participated in the Economics Club, and the Muslim Student Association, and volunteered on weekends with the Muslim American Society (MAS) with children at their weekend school.

Commenting on the scholarship at NY Law, Sandra said, “I am extremely excited to be given this opportunity. A full tuition scholarship means that I can attend law school without the monetary stress of loans, dues, and missing payments. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and without the help of God, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Discussing what she liked about CSI, she commented, “My favorite aspect of CSI was the College community that surrounded us. By this, I mean that the students were always willing to help their classmates and were very friendly from the start. The professors went above and beyond to ensure their students’ success. They made sure to follow up with us and send constant reminders to help us out.“

After law school, Sandra hopes to work at a law firm where she can improve people’s lives and make the world a better place, and eventually own her own firm.

Julia Adinolfi ‘22

After spending her first year at Pace, Julia transferred to CSI, saying that it was that best decision she could have made. She majored in English Literature with a minor in Legal Studies, graduating with a 3.95 GPA. Her extracurricular activities included membership in the Delta Delta Omega sorority and various part-time jobs at the College.

“I feel so incredibly lucky to have received a full tuition scholarship,” Julia states. “It feels like all of the hard work I have put in is paying off! I’m a first-generation college student, and like many others, the potential financial burden was overwhelming. It is such a weight off my shoulders to have a scholarship that covers the tuition and allows me to attend such an amazing school!

According to Julia, her favorite aspect of CSI was the professors. “I had mostly English and Political Science classes, and every single one of my professors genuinely cared about the students learning and understanding the material. I went to many office hours and study sessions, and always felt like they truly wanted me to succeed. I absolutely would not be where I am today without the incredible support I received from the English and Political Science departments, with a special shout out to Michael Paris, who always answered my millions of questions throughout the entire law school application process!”

After NY Law School, Julia hopes to work in intellectual property law, eventually as a legal counsel in the publishing or entertainment industry, focusing on copyrights or patents.

Vanessa Belford ‘22

A Macaulay Honors College student, Vanessa double-majored in English Literature and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and double-minored in Political Science and Cinema Studies. During her time at the College, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy, volunteered at the New York Public Library, and tutored. 

Regarding her scholarship, Vanessa says, “I feel very grateful to be afforded this opportunity, and feel fortunate that I am receiving full tuition so that I can focus fully on school. I look forward to attending in the fall.” 

Like Julia, Vanessa’s favorite part of CSI was her professors. “I have had so many great professors here and would not have been able to get here without their endless support and guidance.”

Looking to life after law school, Vanessa says that she hopes to pass the Bar Exam and serve her community.

Kayla Satt ‘21

Kayla majored in Philosophy and minored in Psychology, graduating cum laude. She was also the recipient of the CSI Auxiliary Services Corporation Award for Academic Excellence in Philosophy.

In regard to her award, Kayla reports that “I am thrilled to be receiving a full, unconditional scholarship to NYLS! As a first-generation, Latinx and Middle Eastern law student, I am so honored to be able to make a difference in the world and attend law school without burdening myself financially. I could not have done this without the support of my incredible family and friends.” 

Looking back on her time at CSI, her professors stood out. “CSI has professors that genuinely care about you as a human being– not just a student,” she said. “I had professors I became close with, and professors who guided me through so much. Additionally, the campus is beautiful and it’s such a warm environment in general.” 

Kayla is still weighing her future after graduate school, saying that she is interested in a number of legal fields. She is certain about one thing, however, “I do know that I want to end up supporting my community and giving back to the people who helped me get here today– that is my idea of success. “

Maxwell Velikodny ‘22

Another Macaulay Honors College student, Maxwell majored in Political Science/Philosophy and History, with minors in Legal Studies and Business. He graduated as the Class of 2022 Valedictorian with a 3.99 GPA and Honors in the major. He served as President and Founder of the Pre-Law Society, as a writer and editor for The Banner, and was a part of many different committees as a Student Government senator (2019), Academic and Curricular Affairs Commissioner (2019-2020), and the SG President (2020-2021). He also took part in various internships, including the Richmond County Surrogate’s Court, the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Pfizer, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, and Morgan Stanley, to have a broader understanding of what kind of lawyer he would like to be and whether law was the path he wanted to pursue.

For all of his efforts at CSI, he received a number of awards, including the 2022 President’s Dolphin Award for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Currently Enrolled Student, the CSI Auxiliary Service Corporation Award for Academic Excellence in History, the Excellence in Philosophy Award; the Excellence in Political Science Award, the Donna Mayer Award for Academic Excellence, and the CSI Alumni Association Award.

Remarking on having received the NY Law award, he notes, “I am deeply honored and thankful for the opportunity to attend such an acclaimed law school on a full-tuition scholarship. As a child of immigrants from a low-income background, I am the first person in the family to attend college and graduate school; the affordability of my education has always been at the forefront of my mind, which has made me very debt-averse. Fortunately, I graduated debt-free from college, and I am so blessed to continue being debt-free when I begin law school.”

Maxwell also turns to the faculty as the most important part of his CSI journey. “The professors are all very well-educated and fantastic teachers. I have always found the faculty ready and willing to help their students better understand the material, offer real-world and professional advice, and serve as staunch advocates for us. The CSI faculty are truly unique and exceptional professors who make CSI a great school. “

After law school, Maxwell hopes to become an attorney who “staunchly defends his clients while also serving as a community advocate, especially for those who cannot afford access to justice or are considered marginalized by society. My family, who came to the United States seeking asylum, were exceptionally fortunate as they were appointed a pro bono attorney who immensely cared about our well-being and supported my family’s uphill battle for temporary protected status. I want to repay that kindness tenfold toward others facing similar circumstances, regardless of the type of law I will practice.”

By: Terry Mares