Diversity @ Widener Law: Claudia Bustamante
Through her own experiences emigrating from Peru, Delaware student Claudia Bustamante developed a fascination with the law.
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The Value of Perseverance
“The paralegal program here and the Trial Admissions Program gave me a great foundation for my first year of law school,” says Delaware student Erie Coney Jr., who took an alternative route to law school by pursuing a paralegal degree first through Widener’s Legal Education Institute.

When Erie applied to the JD program, he was accepted to the Trial Admissions Program, or TAP, which provides an alternative avenue to admission for some applicants. Applicants offered admission to TAP are given the opportunity to prove their ability to succeed in legal studies by participating in this unique conditional admission program over the summer.

Despite the challenge, he says that he would do it all over again, noting, “The reason that I say I would do it again is that now I have the opportunity to make my dream become a reality. I wanted to join a profession that is forever learning.”

Erie participates in several student organizations, including Phi Alpha Delta and the Black Law Students Association, both of which give him the opportunity to give back through community service. He is also a member of the Health Law Society.

“I wanted to do something with civil litigation, and I was always interested in health law. I always felt like health law would be the best route,” says Erie. A torts class with Associate Professor Thaddeus Pope confirmed his interest in health law.

Quick to single out Widener Law’s faculty for praise, he says that his experience so far has “exceeded his expectations,” adding, “The open door policy has allowed me to speak with my professors on a one to one level. They really care about you and want you to succeed.” In addition to Professor Pope, he cited Patrick Johnston, Kathleen Turezyn, and Mary Ann Robinson as professors who have had a particular impact on him.

Erie encourages new students to “Take advantage of the willingness of those professors who love to teach,” by seeking them out for advice and assistance, as they truly are interested in the success of their students.