NAPLA - The Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors


The NAPLA Nomination Committee 2018-2019 is honored to present the following slate of Executive Board and At-Large Board positions.

NAPLA Nominations Committee: Recommended Executive Board – 2019

  • President: Nancy Gibson (Bowdoin College)
  • 1st Vice President: Rita Ralston (Boston University)
  • 2nd Vice President: Phillip Mink (George Mason University)
  • Treasurer: Michelle Yingling (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Secretary: Lauren Dropkin (Brandeis University)

    Slate of Self Nominations for At-Large Board Positions – 2019

    • Alex Jablonski (Binghamton University)
    • Scott Boddery (Gettysburg College)
    • Christopher Brooks (East Stroudsburg University)
    • Sara Whitfield (Colby College)
    • Tom Foley (Widener Commonwealth Law School)- Associate Member
    • Stephen Brown (Fordham University School of Law)- Associate Member
    • Matt Dillard (George Washington University Law School)- Associate Member

      BIOS of Recommended NAPLA Executive Board Members

      President: Nancy Gibson (Bowdoin College)

      Nancy has served as First Vice-President of NAPLA for the past year, and been a member of NAPLA’s Executive Board for the past 4 years. She is co-chairing NAPLA’s 2019 Conference. Nancy was a practicing attorney for almost 20 years, practicing at a large Boston firm and teaching in Pritzker Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic and at the University of Maine Law School. She is the Director of Career Advising and the Pre-Law Advisor at Bowdoin College in Maine.

      1st Vice President: Rita Ralston (Boston University)

      Rita Ralston has seved for the past year as 2nd Vice President of NAPLA and was previously an At-Large Board Member. She has been a pre-law advisor at Boston University for the past sixteen 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 has co-chaired the Boston Connect pre-law advisor professional development program (2013-present). She has been a regular participant and presenter at NAPLA conferences. Rita is a Co-Chair of NAPLA’s 2019 Conference in Boston.

      2nd 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.

      Treasurer: Michelle Yingling (University of Pittsburgh)

      Michelle Yingling currently serves as an At-Large Member of the NAPLA Board 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 five 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: 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.

      BIOS of Recommended NAPLA At-Large Board Members

      Alex Jablonski (Binghamton University)

      Scott Boddery (Gettysburg College)

      Scott Boddery is a political science professor and pre-law advisor at Gettysburg College.  He joined Gettysburg College in 2017 after spending several years at Davidson College as a visiting professor.  Scott is also the editor of The Law Journal of the Liberal Arts, which aims to cultivate undergraduate legal scholarship from students throughout the country.   He writes extensively for both academic and popular audiences. His op-eds have been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, and The Hill, and he has been the point of contact for numerous other media outlets.  His scholarship—which focuses on judicial behavior, legal decision making, and court legitimacy—has appeared in a wide array of peer-reviewed publications and has been cited in political science, economics, and law journals, including the Harvard Law Review.  Scott is committed to liberal arts education and seeks to prepare students for a lifetime of active citizenship and to help them achieve careers in law, public policy, and government service.  Scott lives in northwest Maryland with his wife, Sara Anne, and their two English Labradors, Kennedy and Teddy.

      Christopher Brooks (East Stroudsburg University)

      Professor Christopher Brooks received his BA and MA in US History from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. He then received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to Edinburgh University (Scotland), where he studied British influences on the US judiciary. After 2 years at Edinburgh, Prof. Brooks went on to complete his doctoral work at Kassel University in Germany under Prof. Dr. Horst Dippel (note: only 2 people ever succeeded in completing their dissertation under Dippel, and Dr. Brooks is one of them). He worked with Prof. Dr. Dippel on his Modern Constitutionalism project, which had Dr. Brooks editing and translating constitutions from German to English. His doctoral work explored the suability of US states. While in Germany,  Prof. Brooks was an active member of the Center for North American Research, where he focused on constitutional and legal history, especially as it pertained to jurisprudential matters. He also worked for a number of mid- to large-sized law firms teaching legal English. Prof. Brooks also did legal translation, including some for Germany’s Bundesverfassungsgericht, that nation’s highest court. Dr. Brooks is currently professor of history at East Stroudsburg University where he teaches transatlantic, legal, constitutional, US and African-American history. He also serves as the University-wide Pre-law Advisor, among several other committees and clubs. Beyond publishing several articles, his dissertation, and co-authoring two law books, his current research deals with a local lynching that took place in 1894. He is also revisiting his work on John S. Rock, the first African-American attorney admitted to argue before the US Supreme Court. That work has attracted the interest of a major university press, as well as the Institute for Justice.

      Sara Whitfield (Colby College)

      Sarah Whitfield graduated from Colby College in 2009 with a major in government and spent the next five years in Washington, DC. In DC, she served in a number of roles at Equal Justice Works including traveling to law schools around the country to teach students about the benefits of Public Service Loan Forgiveness. While earning her master of public policy at American University, Sarah started working at the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. She participated in various research projects including a significant role in the Education Choice and Competition Index. Now back at Colby College in DavisConnects (formerly the career center), Sarah advises students interested in the areas of law, government, and policy, as well as national/international fellowships, and coordinates most of the communications work in her office. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine. Outside of the office and graduate work, Sarah runs an AirBnB, is in the process of starting an event venue rental business, plays the flute in the Harpswell Community Band, and occasionally preaches at her church where she serves as the president.

      Tom Foley (Widener Commonwealth Law School)- Associate Member

      After receiving my Bachelor’s in Communication and History, I landed a marketing position at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. It was there that I found my passion for professional school education, and it was then that I earned my Master’s in Education with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. A few years later, I accepted an admission and financial aid position at Regent Law School. In January 2018, I began my current position at Widener Commonwealth Law School as the Director of Admissions. I have over eight years of law school admissions experience and I plan to finish my career at Widener Commonwealth. I love the school, the people, the central PA region, and my work. I mostly enjoy visiting campuses and talking with prospective law students—they are bright, ambitious, compassionate and energetic. They will be terrific lawyers. Personally, I will be married 35 years in June and (we) have three sons. The older two have advanced degrees and are successful professionals, one is in Boston and the other in Arlington VA. The youngest is at Virginia Tech with plans to attend law school in the fall of 2020, which I think is wonderful!

      Stephen Brown (Fordham University School of Law)- Associate Member

      Stephen Brown is Assistant Dean for Enrollment at Fordham University School of Law. Prior to returning to Fordham, he served at New York University School of Law, most recently as director of student finance, planning, and institutional research. He worked in financial aid at Columbia Law School and NYIT. Steve is a frequent presenter at NAPLA, PLANC, financial aid, admissions, AALS, ABA, career and student services conferences and takes special interest both in policy and introducing new professionals to the field. He has served on LSAC Programs and Services, Newcomers and ad hoc financial aid subcommittees – basically been around a long time!  On the student side, Steve is a champion of informed decision making, the right school is the right fit at the right price for your long term goals! Steve has been a consultant to law school admission and financial aid offices, as well as nonprofit loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs). He earned his BS in psychology and philosophy and his MSEd in counseling from Fordham University. and EdM in counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Steve reports that his first career in mental health counseling has made his life in Law School administration so much easier!

      Matt Dillard (George Washington University Law School)- Associate Member

      I have a long-held interest in assisting students who are endeavoring to achieve their professional goals.  This stems from my own experience as a first-generation college student with limited resources.  I'm particularly interested in under-served populations.  I'd like to be an at-large board member of NAPLA in order to help facilitate consistent communication to students.  I also look forward to deepening my relationship with your terrific community of advisors and educators.  Communications and Strategic Initiatives are of most interest to me, but I am also eager to serve in whatever capacities work best for NAPLA. I have over a decade of experience in law admissions at a school with very high applicant volume.  This has given me a broad view of all corners of the pool of prospective applicants, and attuned me to nationwide trends and concerns among students, law schools, and employers.  I have a strong interest in service to students, and have been engaged with peers and faculty at numerous conferences related to higher education opportunity. NAPLA is comprised of collegial, committed, and service-oriented educators.  I hope to bring my experience, talents, and friendship to its Board. 

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