Intended Majors in Political Science & Environmental Studies
Daniel Bien, who just completed his first year at Knox, spent part of his summer at the IIT Chicago-Kent Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program. He hasn't yet declared a major but intends to double-major in political science and environmental studies. He also plans to attend law school.
Why did you want to participate in this program? How did you find out about it?
I wanted to participate in this pre-law program because I plan to go to law school after my undergraduate studies, and I knew it would allow me to learn about the many fields of law, both in and outside of the classroom. The Knox Pre-Law advisor who happened to be my Constitutional Law I 362 professor, Professor Lane Sunderland, forwarded the program information via email to the Pre-Law Club email list. I applied for it in late February, and it was a selective application process. I was fortunate enough to be selected. There are 24 students in the program including myself. All of the students are from all over the United States, undergraduates ranging from second year to fourth year.
Do you think your Knox experience helped prepare you for this?
The Knox experience definitely prepared me for this program. The academics at Knox are rigorous and fast and you must keep up with coursework. Similarly, the program I was in was an intensive three-week program where the workload was more than what I had during my first year. The work I did in the program was a lot of reading and writing and having required classes like First-Year Preceptorial prepared me to take on the PLUS program. In addition, the program I was in embraced diversity, and I believe Knox College strives to do the same and succeeds.
What have been some of the program's highlights for you?
Many of the highlights happened out of the classroom. Visiting the Dirksen Federal Building was interesting and fun. That is the United States District Court for The Northern District of Illinois. We had the privilege to hear part of a terrorism case. Visiting the Criminal Court Building in Chicago was both fun and interesting. We visited Jones Lang LaSalle HQ in Chicago—the 44th floor of the AON building and DLA Piper. Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is a corporate real estate company and we had the privilege to talk to their in-house law firm. DLA Piper is a global law firm. Some in-class highlights are trial advocacy, which is mock trial, and learning about family law, criminal law, contracts, and intellectual property.
Has there been anything especially surprising, memorable, or beneficial about the program?
Networking is very important in all fields, especially in the law field. While visiting the two corporate law firms, I was able to gain some networks with some of the employees and summer interns. Throughout my three weeks, I have gained so many connections on LinkedIn, email addresses, and people who want young people like myself to reach out to them. Being exposed to the different law fields has helped narrow what specialization I want in the law field.