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Graduate Anne Mulhern earns prestigious Fulbright-Clinton Student Award

Dec 13, 2016

Anne Mulhern, a recent graduate of the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law, has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship beginning this fall. She has been assigned to work in Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as a member of the Fisheries Inspection Department. Also known as East Timor, Timor-Leste is a southeastern Asian nation that occupies half of the island of Timor, just north of Australia.

The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship program provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to serve in professional placements in partner governments. Fulbright-Clinton fellows serve in “special assistant” roles for senior-level officials. Mulhern is the third ONU student to be named a Fulbright recipient and the second law student in the last five years. Chemistry major Christopher Lemon earned a Fulbright Study/Research Grant to New Zealand in 2008, and law student Daniel Bey earned a similar award to Kosovo in 2011.

Mulhern graduated from ONU’s College of Law in spring 2016, earning juris doctor and LL.M. (Master of Laws) degrees concurrently with magna cum laude honors. The LL.M. in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law program allows students to study with lawyers worldwide who have a shared interest in law and governance reform. The Newton, N.J., native earned her bachelor’s degree from the United States Coast Guard Academy.

The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship continues Mulhern’s zeal for adventure and public service.

Prior to attending ONU’s law college, Mulhern was an active duty officer in the Coast Guard. “It was during this time that my desire to commit my energy and career to public service was solidified,” she said. “The LL.M. program’s focus on public service through developing effective rule of law in transitional and post-conflict states offered an avenue for combining my goals of public service, law and learning about other cultures into a fulfilling career.”

Pursuing her LL.M. degree at ONU opened doors of opportunity for Mulhern to define her passions and make them her profession calling.

“Through the LL.M. program, I interned with a judicial reform project in Macedonia and a private business-enabling project in Kosovo,” Mulhern said “In different ways, both of these internships helped prepare me for my upcoming Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship. My internships were my first experiences living and working in cultures that are completely different from my own.”

The blend of theory and practical application that is stressed in ONU’s law program helped prepare Mulhern for her future pursuits.

“Generally speaking, all of my LL.M. classes played an important role in understanding the world in which I would be working,” she said. “I learned how to better analyze a seemingly impossible situation by asking critical questions and trying to keep a holistic picture in my mind of a developing country’s progress toward effective governance and rule of law.”

“This may seem strange, but my classes also taught me to not strive for perfection. Democracy is a messy process that does not ever go according to plan, and when you wait to make a project perfect, you can miss out on opportunities to make a positive impact in unforeseen areas,” she explained.

The internships she pursued as part of the LL.M. program offered an ideal laboratory for Mulhern to put classroom theory into action.

“Besides the opportunity to apply the legal theories I learned in my classes, I also got a better understanding of how reform projects fit into the overall goals of the host country. Additionally, I learned important and necessary professional skills, including patience, flexibility and remaining open to situational challenges that are unimaginable in the United States.”

The international aspect of ONU’s LL.M. program prepared Mulhern for her current endeavors.

“Studying with foreign lawyers was a priceless experience,” she said. “I was fortunate to hear so many different points of view and different experiences that challenged my own.”

Mulhern intends to continue to pursue a path that makes a difference.

“My ultimate career goals are based in using my training, education and real-world experiences to assist developing and post-conflict countries develop their rule of law effectiveness. My ultimate career path will take the route to follow the opportunities that allow me to do the most good around the world.”

“We are tremendously proud of Anne and her commitment to public service,” said Karen Hall, director of ONU’s LL.M. program. “We are very happy that an education gained in Ada, Ohio, will benefit the people of East Timor. We look forward to hearing more about Anne’s experiences in Asia.”