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KU Law selects new class of Dean’s Fellows to mentor incoming law students

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Dean's Fellows 2020-21

LAWRENCE — Thirteen students at the University of Kansas School of Law have been chosen as Dean’s Fellows for the 2020-21 academic year.

The Dean’s Fellows are a group of second- and third-year law students selected to mentor first-year peers. Fellows offer academic support and guidance, serving as resources for students navigating the transition to law school. Fellows are selected through an application and interview process that considers their academic performance, campus and community involvement, and rapport with classmates.

“The Dean's Fellows serve as mentors for first-year law students to help them navigate the transition to law school and the challenges that pop up. We work to foster an inclusive community and connect students to a variety of resources, whether they be academic, social or personal,” said Cori Moffett, head Dean’s Fellow. “This year Dean's Fellows are more important than ever because it is so difficult to form a coherent community for students that have never met each other. We have an incredible group that is committed to helping 1Ls through the unique challenges of this year and celebrating the victories."

The program is administered by the KU Law Office of Admissions. The 2020-21 Dean’s Fellows are listed below.

Olivia Black is a second-year law student from Wichita. Black earned a bachelor’s degree in health science with an emphasis in health administration from Wichita State University. She is the vice president of the Black Law Students Association, a member of Women in Law and a research assistant for Lumen Mulligan, Earl B. Shurtz Research Professor of Law. She is interested in business law, corporate law and health care compliance and regulations. Black graduated from Wichita East High School and is the daughter of Shonna Black and the late Michael Black.

Zack Combs is a third-year law student from Lexington, Kentucky. Combs earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Kansas State University. He is the president of the 3L class, vice president of International Law Society and a member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. He graduated from Trinity Academy in Wichita and is the son of Charlotte and David Combs.

Christian DeShazo is a second-year law student from Farmington, Missouri. DeShazo earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a student intern for the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies and a member of OUTLaws and Allies. DeShazo is the son of Debbie and Steve Lawson.

Karen Fritts is a third-year law student from Olathe. She earned a bachelor’s degree in personal financial planning from Kansas State University. Fritts is the chief justice of the Moot Court Council. Fritts was a finalist in the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition and won the first-place award for Best Overall Advocates. Fritts graduated from Olathe East High School and is the daughter of Bev and Jim Edwards.

Marisol Garcia is a third-year law student from Wichita. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Kansas State University. Garcia is the president of the law school’s First Generation Professionals organization. She is also a member of both OUTLaws & Allies and the Hispanic American Law Students Association. She graduated from Northeast Magnet High School and is the daughter of Martina and Baltazar Garcia.

Jared Jevons is a third-year law student from Manhattan. Jevons graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general geology from KU. Before coming to law school, he served as a naval officer for 11 years. He is editor-in-chief of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy and president of the Military Law Society. He graduated from Manhattan High School and is the son of Virginia and Keith Jevons.

Zachary Kelsay is a third-year law student from Independence, Missouri. He earned degrees in history and global & international studies from KU. Kelsay is a part of the Legal Education Accelerated Degree program. Kelsay was a finalist in the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition and won the first-place award for Best Overall Advocates. He is a staff articles editor for the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy and chief justice of the Student Senate Court of Appeals. He graduated from Blue Springs South High School and is the son of Beth Trosper and Brian Kelsay.

Cori Moffett, a third-year law student from Kansas City, is this year’s head Dean’s Fellow. Moffett earned degrees in both history and international studies from Kansas State University. She is a member of First Generation Professionals, Public Interest Law Society and the Moody Bluebooks. Last year, she was the vice president of Women in Law. Moffett is also a research assistant for Raj Bhala, Brenneisen Distinguished Professor of Law, and works at the front desk in the law library. She graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School and is the daughter of Marcey Moffett.

Riley Nickel is a third-year law student from Topeka. Nickel earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kansas State University. He is the managing editor for the Kansas Law Review, a legal intern for the Mediation Clinic and a member of the KU student chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He graduated from Seaman High School and is the son of Denise and Joel Nickel.

Abe Pfannenstiel is a third-year law student from WaKeeney. Pfannenstiel earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fort Hays State University. He is a member of the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council, St. Thomas More Society, Black Law Students Association and First Generation Professionals. He graduated from Trego Community High School and is the son of Donnell and Dale Pfannenstiel.

Grace Quinlan is a second-year law student from Kansas City, Kansas. Quinlan earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Colorado State University. She is a staff editor for the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy and a member of Women in Law. She graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School and is the daughter of Elizabeth Lawrence and Timothy Quinlan.

Blake Saffels is a third-year law student from Overland Park. He earned degrees in accounting and finance from KU. Saffels is the treasurer for the KU Midwest Innocence Project Student Organization, the business manager for the Kansas Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Council. He graduated from Shawnee Mission South High School and is the son of Susan and James Saffels.

Dahnika Short is a second-year law student from Topeka. Short earned a bachelor’s degree in life sciences from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from KU. She is a staff editor for the Kansas Law Review and a member of the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council. Short is also involved with the Public Interest Law Society, Federal Bar Association and Women in Law. She graduated from Hayden High School and is the daughter of Kathy Cheatham and Dave Sachs.