NAPLA - The Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors


The NAPLA Nomination Committee 2019-2020 is honored to present the following slate of Executive Board and At-Large Board positions.

NAPLA Nominations Committee: Recommended Executive Board – 2020
  • President: Rita Ralston (Boston University)
  • 1st Vice President: Phillip Mink (George Mason University)
  • 2nd Vice President: Lauren Dropkin (Brandeis University)
  • Treasurer: Michelle Yingling (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Secretary: Alex Jablonski (Binghamton University)

Slate of Self Nominations for At-Large Board Positions – 2020
  • Pam Brown (Brooklyn College, City University of New York)
  • Christina Butler (Villanova University)
  • Tina Coco (Baruch College-CUNY)
  • Heather Frederick (Slippery Rock University)
  • Ana-Cristina Medal (University of Vermont)
  • Mark Miller (Clark University)
  • Greg Shaffer (University of Maryland)
  • Montgomery Thomas (Northeastern University)

    BIOS of Recommended NAPLA Executive Board Members

    President: Rita Ralston (Boston University)

    Rita Ralston has served for the past year as 1st Vice President of NAPLA and was previously 2nd Vice President and an At-Large Board Member. She has been a pre-law advisor at Boston University for seventeen years. Rita advises hundreds of students each year on the path to law school, supports several pre-law student organizations, and is an instructor for the First Year Experience Program. As a member of NAPLA, Rita co-founded and co-chaired the Boston Connect pre-law advisor professional development program for six consecutive years (2013-2018). She has been a regular participant and presenter at NAPLA conferences. Rita Co-Chaired NAPLA’s 2019 Conference in Boston.

    1st Vice President: Phillip Mink (George Mason University)

    Phillip Mink is Director of Pre-Law Advising in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is also Director of the Patriot Pre-Law Program, an assistant professor in the Schar School, and an assistant professor in the School of Business. Professor Mink advises a diverse group of students at Mason, including many underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students. Because of his background in writing, Professor Mink specializes in helping his pre-law students perfect their personal and diversity statements. Prior to his work at Mason, Professor Mink was director of the Legal Professional Preparatory Program at the University of Delaware and an assistant professor in English and Legal Studies. He was also the university’s primary pre-law advisor. Professor Mink’s main research interest is the methods used to teach legal writing, and he has presented papers on the topic before the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisers, the Association for Business Communication, and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. He joined the Board of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors in 2017, and by participating in this organization he has become a far more effective resource for his students.

    2nd Vice President: Lauren Dropkin (Brandeis University)

    Lauren Dropkin practiced family law for 13 years in Chicago before transitioning to her current roles at Brandeis University.  While Lauren serves as a general career counselor, she specializes in advising students who are considering a career in law, as well as those who seek to continue their education in other types of graduate school programs. In addition her role at the Hiatt Career Center, Lauren is a teaching fellow for the Legal Studies Department. She is also very active in the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors (NAPLA), currently serving as the Secretary on the Executive Board and multiple.  At the annual NAPLA Conference, Lauren runs the mentorship program and has presented on writing personal statements and other essays as well as on Letters of Recommendation.

    Treasurer: Michelle Yingling (University of Pittsburgh)

    Michelle Yingling currently serves as Treasurer and the Chair of the Communication and Strategic Initiatives Committee. She has been a pre-law advisor at the University of Pittsburgh for the past six years where she advises students on all aspects of the pre-law process including applying to law school . Michelle has served on the conference planning committee for the conferences in Pittsburgh, North Haven (Quinnipiac) and Boston and has presented at many of the past NAPLA and PLANC conferences. She has a Master of Science in Professional Counseling from Carlow University and currently works in the Career Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

    Secretary: Alex Jablonski (Binghamton University)

    Alex Jablonski is currently an At-Large member of the Board.  He earned his Master's in History from Binghamton in 2013 and, after some time as a general advisor, assumed his current position in 2017.  He has been an active member of NAPLA since 2018, first serving on the 2019 Conference program committee then joining the NAPLA board in the fall of 2019. He currently Chairs the Strategic Planning Committee on Advocacy.

    BIOS of NAPLA At-Large Board Candidates

    Pam Brown (Brooklyn College, City University of New York)
    20 years of progressively responsible experience demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of career development, job search strategies, employer relations. As the Pre-Law and Global Internship Advisor, managing/ supervising college research assistants; creating learning objectives and metrics of success for all programs; seeking out professional development opportunities; establishing and maintaining internal and external partnerships; Evidence of working creatively and effectively with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and employers; provide guidance and support for campus interning abroad activities. Developing international partnerships, oversight of short term and semester long programs, as well as third party programs. Management of small international internship stipend award budget. Develop new procedures to double the number of students going abroad. Accomplishments: increased interning abroad student participation by 10%. Organized the vision for the first "Going Global Student Expo Exhibit on Campus, Brooklyn College Library. Plan and promote student videos for “Interning Abroad.” Organized student photo shoots with the college’s Office of Communications to help support and promote what students are doing abroad.

    Christina Butler (Villanova University)
    Christina Butler has been a pre-law advisor at Villanova University in Villanova, PA since August 2018. She advises applicants on the law school application process, hosts numerous events, manages the pre-law newsletter, and hosts the Villanova Law School Fair in October, which attracts 60+ law schools. Before working at Villanova, Christina worked at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA for over 3 years as a career counselor and marketing specialist. She holds a M.S. in Higher Education Counseling from West Chester University and an NCC certification (National Certified Counselor), along with a B.A. in English from Penn State University.

    Tina Coco (Baruch College-CUNY)
    Tina joined the staff of the Starr Career Development Center of Baruch College in November 2011. She is a cum laude graduate of St. John’s University and St. John’s School of Law. After working for several years as a Staff Attorney for both the NYC Bar and CT Corporation System, she earned a certificate in Adult Career Planning & Development from New York University. Tina served as the Assistant Director of the Career Development Office at Pace University School of Law for over 6 years. She works part-time during the semester counseling students interested in attending law school.

    Heather Frederick (Slippery Rock University)
    Dr. Heather Frederick received her PhD in political science from West Virginia University and her BA from Hollins University where she majored in Philosophy and Communications with a minor in women’s studies. She regularly teaches courses in American Government, including The Presidency and American National Government. Dr. Frederick also serves as the Prelaw Program Coordinator for the university and offers courses in The Courts, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, and Constitutional Law. She is known by her students as a fun and informative lecturer, and by her upper-level majors as a tough, demanding, and thorough professor. She has taught at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania since 2004. She has been a member of NAPLA since 2011, has served on the NAPLA board since 2018, and is actively engaged in research to aid prelaw advisors, regularly and often presenting at NAPLA conferences.

    Ana-Cristina Medal (University of Vermont)
    Ana-Cristina Medal is a Higher Education and Student Affairs Professional focused in student development and concentrated in creating student enhancement programs centered around advocating for diverse student populations. She currently works at the University of Vermont as a Career Development Counselor with a concentration in Education and the Social Services and more recently serves as a Pre-Law Advisor. Additionally, she serve as a Co-Advisor for Alianza Latinx at UVM, as well as Membership Development Advisor for Phi Mu Delta. During the summer term, she stays busy by teaching Intro to College at the Community College of Vermont, where she focuses on identity, leadership, and professional development for all students transitioning into higher education. Her past experience includes a two-year graduate assistantship and Liaison for Business Student Organizations within the College of Business at Florida International University. In her previous roles, she managed and assisted over 15 student organizations in connecting them with resources available within the College of Business as well as served as a bridge between student leaders and advise over career management.

    Mark Miller (Clark University)
    Mark C. Miller is professor of American politics at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is also the Director of the Law and Society Program there and the university pre-law advisor. He received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University and his J.D. from George Washington University. He served as the Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States from 1999-2000, and he was a Congressional Fellow in 1995. During 2006-07, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Centennial Center for Public Policy of the American Political Science Association. He has had two Fulbright Grants, teaching at Leiden University in the Netherlands and at The University of Helsinki in Finland. His fifth book, Judicial Politics in the United States, was published in 2015. At Clark University, he has been named both Teacher of the Year and Advisor of the Year several times.

    Greg Shaffer (University of Maryland)
    Greg Shaffer currently serves as the Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising at the University of Maryland, where he has been the pre-law advisor for 17 years. Greg attended Maryland as an undergraduate, later completing a law degree at Notre Dame. He practiced corporate law for 5 years before returning to his alma mater. Greg has been part of NAPLA for 15 years and previously served on numerous NAPLA conference planning committees, as well as several terms on the Board. After a short time away, he is excited at the prospect of returning to the Board and contributing his experience, institutional knowledge, and connections within the law school admissions community to further the goals of an organization that has meant so much to his personal and professional development.

    Montgomery Thomas (Northeastern University)
    Montgomery Thomas serves as the Pre-Law and Graduate School Advisor in Employer Engagement and Career Design at Northeastern University. In his role, he supports the undergraduate, graduate, and alumni populations through the law and graduate school process as well as career exploration and development. In addition, he works to support first generation and low-income students, student-athletes, and the Honors Program. He is currently involved with the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors and Pre-Law Advisors National Council. He also served as on the NASPA Region I Advisory Board as the representative for the Student Career Development Knowledge Community regionally and nationally.
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