Law students Dr. Dona Stevens and Dr. Barrett Vaughan represented Abraham Lincoln University’s Park Senate this past summer at Delta Theta Phi Fraternity’s (DTP) 60th Biennial Convention & Leadership Conference in New Orleans. For three days, the law fraternity brothers and sisters from all over the country met at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (many for the first time) for a special blend of networking, education, and programming designed to encourage them to become more effective practitioners and leaders. Barrett and Dona came back from their trip with plenty to report!
First of all, a little background on these two accomplished students.
Barrett earned his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. While attending his undergraduate program, he noticed that many of his older classmates were considering law school after graduation. This planted the initial idea of how a legal education could benefit his career, leading him to actually take the LSAT. It wasn’t until some twenty years later, however, that, as a professor, Barrett decided to take the plunge and work toward his J.D. He wasn’t about to give up his career in the process though, which is what lead him to research online law school options.
And then there’s the ambitious Dr. Dona Stevens. She attended California State University where she earned her BA in Liberal Studies & Education as well as her MA in Educational Leadership. Later, she attended Nova Southeastern University and earned her Ed.D in Educational Leadership. After a fruitful career as an administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District and an adjunct professor for California State University, Dona decided it was time to pursue another one of her academic passions: the law. ALU’s online platform and the flexibility that she knew it would afford her convinced her that ALU would be the perfect fit.
Though neither Dona nor Barrett have ever been apart of any other Greek-life organizations before, they were both equally enthused to be invited to join such a large and prestigious law fraternity.
When I asked Barrett about what he was particularly excited about, he explained,
“Most Greek-letter organizations have chapters nationally and internationally, and DTP membership could connect many of the remote, online students to other like-minded student groups. For example, there are five Senates of DTP in my state of residence, two thousand miles from L.A. Also, DTP, uniquely, as a law fraternity, offers students the opportunity to both publish in their law review, the Adelphia, and to also host it. I was very much interested in the opportunity to publish in the law review, which would be beneficial for my academic and legal career.”
Outside of the great networking and publishing opportunities that DTP offers, they also organize educational events like the leadership convention. Dona noted,
“I didn’t know what to expect at the convention. I found everyone to be welcoming, interested in ALU’s unique approach to law school, and very willing to provide any help needed for the success of our fraternity. I met several southern California delegates who are going to be great resources for us and have offered to involve us in their activities.”
When I asked Barrett what he thought of the conference he said,
“The DTP conference was awesome. I don’t use that term lightly, and I have been to a lot of professional conferences in the last quarter-century. It was a blessing that this conference occurred in the same year that ALU’s senate was chartered and that it was only a five-hour drive from where I live. I knew that our Senate Dean (Chapter President) Dona Stevens would be flying in from California, and I had not seen her in person since the Baby Bar in 2015. I got to the conference, a little late, to see that there were students and alumni from across the country and from other countries present. I got a chance to meet a lot of the students from California and from my state of residence. The conference gave ample opportunity to interact with fraternity members not only in the professional events but also on several social occasions, a few of which I attended. It was very well organized for the express purpose of student and alumni members getting to know each other.”
But this was, as it turned out, definitely not a vacation. Barrett commented that the highlight was that they actually got some work done! Dona even said that there were multiple speakers and activities planned for the Senate members and everyone was very lively and engaged. Barrett is already excited about the next conference for the purpose of renewing the relationships that he formed this summer and remaining active in the organization. As an educator, Dona sees Delta Theta Phi as being invaluable to Abraham Lincoln University’s law students and looks forward to helping the university gather more members and create more opportunities for leadership.
If you are a law student at ALU and interested in becoming a member of Delta Theta Phi, please inquire about our senate’s application process by calling 213-252-5100.