Alumni Making an Impact

College of Law alumni are leaders in the legal industry. Our recent graduates are making an impact in the world as they embark upon their careers. Read their stories and see how your investment has helped them reach personal and professional goals.

UC Law fellow Shantya Goddard finds her purpose

Shantya Goddard '23

Shantya Goddard '23, Dinsmore Procter & Gamble OIP Fellow

Ever since she was a little girl, Shantya Goddard’s North Star was being intentional about the choices she made. One could say “being intentional” is what defined her.  

“I’ve always been very intentional about having a career that I would love… which classes I would take, what to major in, and which experiences to apply for,” she said. This mindset stemmed from watching what her mother went through while Goddard was growing up. Her mother worked several jobs she hated and that paid little money. “She could never quite figure out what she wanted to do,” Goddard said. “I saw how this impacted her mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. My siblings and I also lived through the impact of it. So, I knew I wanted to do something different.”

UC Law names Jenn Dye assistant dean of inclusive excellence and belonging

Business diversity - An inclusive team composition

Dr. Jenn Dye has been named assistant dean of inclusive excellence and Belonging at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. This new position is in addition to her role as director of the Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.

“Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is an area important to me personally, to the higher education industry and to the legal field,” said Dr. Jenn Dye. “This new role brings an opportunity to shine a light on this work as we take definitive steps to make progress in this area.”

Dye brings to this new role over 10 years of experience in the areas of social justice and community advocacy, as well as extensive interdisciplinary scholarly work in this space. She will serve as the strategic leader to develop and advance the college’s initiatives in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). Through her work, she will lead the development of a culture that supports DEIB, building the foundation to construct and shape the strategic direction. This will be done through strategic planning and data gathering; working with key college stakeholders to gather ideas; putting into place broad goals and accountability measures that help define the college’s path forward; and initiating programming for students, faculty, and staff.

Externships, summer work experiences helped James Gravely find his purpose

B2B, support and handshake business people welcome, partnership and hiring contract success deal or networking. Trust, thank you and collaboration lawyer shaking hands for corporate meeting review

Becoming an attorney was always loosely part of James Gravely’s life plan. His strategy was simple. Work for several years after college; then go to law school; then on to a career in government affairs or politics. “I was told by mentors that a law degree would give you a step up in any field—even those unrelated to law,” said Gravely. “At the time I wanted to be active in politics, so getting a law degree was something I thought would open a lot of doors for me.”  

While attending The Ohio State University (OSU) for his undergraduate degree in political science, he had the opportunity to participate in a summer work opportunity at law firm Katz Teller. He returned to the firm during law school, using this time as an opportunity to explore career options through UC’s Externship Program.  

"James took full advantage of the experiential learning opportunities offered through UC Law by extending his summer clerkship into a semester-long externship, allowing him to expand the depth and breadth of his practical training,” said Christine Szydlowski, Director of Externships at UC College of Law.

Today, Gravely, a 2023 graduate, is excitedly looking to the future. “I’ll be working in the corporate group at Katz Teller; it’s the perfect match for me,” he said. “It was a natural extension of the political work I did prior to law school, and also gives me the flexibility and opportunity to develop my own unique practice.”  

Law Fellow Kanisha Ervin finds fulfillment through work with the Ohio Innocence Project

Kanisha Ervin standing in her office

“My family knew I would be an attorney when I was 12. I stood in court reading my victim impact statement to a defense attorney who was representing my cousin’s killer,” said Kanisha Ervin (JD, ’21). “I read my letter calmly and passionately, pausing for emphasis and looking directly at the attorney so he knew I was the author of the work and had memorized every line. It was then that I showcased my desire to be an orator and an advocate…”

Upon graduation from Cincinnati Law, Ervin had the opportunity to return to the law school, this time in a new role. The Elk Grove, California native became the inaugural Fellow for the Dinsmore and Procter & Gamble OIP Fellowship, a unique Fortune 500, Am Law 200 partnership for recent law grads to join one of the most successful Innocence Projects in the country. The partnership—the brainchild of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP)—is designed to give recent graduates the opportunity to hone lawyering skills and gain experience in civil rights litigation and policy making.

“This fellowship felt like a perfect fit for my goals and needs,” said Ervin. “I wanted to engage in a criminal defense environment that would take the time to nurture the skills I had gained in law school. (And) I wanted to learn from some of the most successful innocence attorneys in the country and personally witness their determination and grit to the cause of wrongful conviction.”