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Academic Excellence Fellowship

The Academic Excellence Fellowship (AEF) program is dedicated to fostering a shared commitment to intellectual, professional, and personal community while developing foundational academic and professional skills among the 1L class. The program centers on the idea that to be successful, students must feel as though they have the ability to succeed and that they belong in the Willamette Law community. Fellows build a strong foundation for 1L students through Orientation programming, coffee conversations, group lunches, a Dean's Series, and more opportunities for connection and support. The Fellows are selected through a competitive application process during the spring semester. 

Upcoming & Ongoing Events

  • Coffees and Conversations: Fellows regularly have coffee with their 1Ls, meeting several times over the course of the semester. It's an important opportunity to talk about both general and specific successes, worries, and questions. 
  • Dean's Series: a monthly lunchtime series that covers popular topics including study aids and strategies, outlining, final exam preparation strategies, and registration. 
  • Group Lunches: once per semester Fellows take their 1L group for lunch. 
    • The fall semester lunch takes place after mid-terms and focuses discussion on the exam experience and how to prepare for finals. 
    • The spring semester lunch takes place after the fall semester schedule is released and prior to registration, the discussion focuses on course selection and scheduling considerations. 
  • Study Hall: beginning in week 3, the weekly one-hour drop-in sessions are staffed by fellows and serve as an opportunity for students to ask questions and work alongside other students. Snacks are provided. 
  • Fall Small Group Social: Fellows pair up across 1L sections and host an off-campus social event in late September/early October to create connections between 1L sections and develop friendships. 
  • Spot the Tort: every fall, AEF hosts a competitive 1L on-campus social event where a movie is screened and teams compete to "Spot the Tort." 
  • AEF Director Office Hours: Professor Kelly Gamble holds weekly drop-in hours on Wednesdays between 2:00-4:00pm in Collins 421.

AEF Impact

"Semesters can feel very long, so it's a good idea to pace yourself and set aside some time to do non-law school things you enjoy." -Rodrigo Fernandez-Ortega 

"It's really hard not to compare yourself to others, but it's a slippery slope. Focus on your own success." -Josh Baker 

"Do what works best for you when it comes to preparing, studying, and being ready for class. Everyone learns in different ways and you know yourself best! And don't forget to breathe." -Cole Edwards 

"Keep the habits that got you here. Law school gets so busy with academics and co-curricular involvement that it becomes easy to throw all the "tools" out the window. Stay disciplined enough to adhere to those habits that have helped you get to this point in your life." -Leo Ortega

"My biggest piece of advice for incoming students is to prioritize your mental health. Law school is a huge adjustment and it can take a heavy toll on you. It will affect you mentally, physically, and academically if you aren't taking care of yourself. It's important to take a step back and reach out to someone if you are struggling." -Teddy Krolczyk


Willamette University

Office of Student Affairs

College of Law
Willamette University
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Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.