NWU Academics, Experiences Prepare Recent Grads for Harvard

In August recent Nebraska Wesleyan University graduate Jordan Klimek will move from Burwell, Neb., to Cambridge, Mass. where he will attend Harvard Law School.

That wasn’t the original plan for the biochemistry and history major and Huge-NWU Scholarship recipient who originally enrolled at Nebraska Wesleyan with plans for a career in healthcare. Now Klimek hopes to become a corporate tax attorney, and possibly get involved in politics.

Like many law school hopefuls, Klimek applied to 12 of the country’s top 14 law schools. While Harvard was his dream school, Klimek also considered schools in Chicago and Pennsylvania, but after learning he was accepted to Harvard Law School, the choice was clear.

There will be at least one familiar face waiting to greet him in Cambridge, Mass. Kaycie Rupp, a 2011 NWU graduate from Grand Island, is beginning her second year at Harvard Law School. She hopes to someday work with international food security or human rights litigation.

While at NWU, Rupp majored in political science and Spanish, and was involved in several campus organizations including Global Service Learning (GSL), Student Affairs Senate, International Relations Organization, and Senior Class Council. She studied abroad in Chile, and in the year between graduating from NWU and attending Harvard, worked for the organization Constru Casa in Guatemala — an organization she worked closely with during a GSL service trip there.

Both Rupp and Klimek cite Nebraska Wesleyan’s academic preparation and their professors’ support and encouragement as factors that helped them decide to pursue a graduate degree in law.

“English and history courses in particular built my confidence in my writing,” said Klimek. “I would argue that history majors are the most prolific writers on campus, and the sheer volume, as well as expected quality, of history writing I did will remain with me over the long haul. I was very blessed to stumble into that department.”

Both Rupp and Klimek gained valuable experiences beyond the classroom. Klimek lobbied for AARP Nebraska, and volunteered as a tutor at a local middle school, while Rupp interned in Washington D.C. at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Latin American think tank. She landed the internship through Nebraska Wesleyan’s Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP).

One of the best things about attending Harvard, said Rupp, is the abundance of opportunities given to its students.

“During my first year I was continually impressed by my professors and my fellow classmates,” she said, adding that she’s also gained experience outside the classroom in a variety of areas such as immigration, prison legal services, and international development.

For anyone wishing to follow in these NWU graduates’ footsteps, Rupp recommends reading “anything and everything you can get your hands on.” She said undergraduate grades and admission test scores are important as well.

“But so is being a well-rounded person, and proving that your time in undergraduate school and beyond has had a clear focus,” she said.

Her advice to Klimek as he prepares for Harvard:  “Enjoy your time with family and friends,” said Rupp, “because life is about to become pretty hectic.” 

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Kaycie Rupp, a 2011 NWU graduate, will soon begin her second year at Harvard Law School.
2013 graduate Jordan Klimek hopes to become a corporate tax attorney after earning his law degree at Harvard.