Kelze' Riley appears to be poised for a bright future as a lawyer, and she's doing all the right things to make that happen.
Riley, a junior political science and communication double major from Columbus, Ohio, plans to graduate in December 2020 and enter law school the following year. She participates in Bellarmine’s pre-law program, designed for students who are interested in a law career.
She credits Bellarmine’s coursework, as well as the faculty, with giving her the core skills she'll need for a career in law. In particular, she says she has honed her critical thinking and public speaking skills and her professors have given her the confidence and motivation to pursue a career in law.
“Lee Remington’s work in the Alberta Jones case truly has impacted my desire to become a lawyer and I met with her about the program and she motivated me further,” Riley said.
Jones, the first African American to pass the Kentucky Bar Exam, was murdered in 1965. Her case remains unresolved, but Remington led a successful campaign
to re-open the investigation.
Remington, associate professor of political science and director of Bellarmine's pre-law program, speaks highly of Riley. “Kelze’ is a student who impressed me from the get-go,” she said. “She has a quiet confidence and leadership about her. She is always prepared, always on point, and always insightful.”
Remington said Riley is someone who should make a tremendous impact on the field of law. “I wish we had thousands more just like her willing to go into the practice of law,” Remington said.
Riley's potential was recognized when she was accepted into the 2019 Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program at Duke Law School. The four-week residential program aims to introduce talented rising college sophomores and juniors to the study of law and to the legal profession. It targets students from colleges and universities in the Southeast region of the United States, with a focus on underrepresented minority students.
“I have always aspired to go to Duke’s law school and saw the program online while looking for something law-related to do this summer,” said Riley. “I knew I should apply for certain when I was on Bellarmine’s Alternative Spring Break in Selma, Alabama, and met the Rev. William Barber, a Duke graduate, who further encouraged me, along with a host of other Bellarmine faculty, staff and students.”
She said she was one of 26 successful applicants from a field of roughly 500.
Riley said she is looking forward to the program’s law courses and meeting other students who are interested in pursuing law. “I hope to have clarity about my future and gain a network of other college students of color who are pursuing the same career,” said Riley.
Article by Daniel Spitza, intern in Bellarmine's Office of Enrollment, Marketing and Communication