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Meet this year’s First Generation Professionals Fellows: Trevor Kirby L’23 and Virinchi Sindhwani L’23

January 06, 2021

Trevor Kirby L’23 and Virinchi Sindhwani L’23 have been named as the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s second class of First Generation Professionals (FGP) Fellows. The FGP Fellowship is designed for students who are the first in their families to attend professional school.

“The Center On Professionalism is excited to be working with our two newest Fellows and to add to our Fellowship family,” says Joseph Glyn, Director of the Center On Professionalism (COP), which administers the Fellowship. “Trevor and Virinchi will benefit greatly from the Fellowship, and we are excited to see what the future holds for them.”

Trevor Kirby L’23

A native of Ventura, California, Kirby comes to the Law School after a stint with Teach for America in eastern North Carolina, which inspired him to look to the law to achieve a greater impact. He witnessed firsthand the “outdated educational structure that perpetuated inequitable and oppressive systems” and sought an alternate way to address the issues.

“Rather than attempt to create an adequate education from inadequate resources, the legal profession promised the opportunity to reimagine equity in education regardless of a child’s zip code or family income,” said Kirby.

Kirby is grateful to have been chosen for the FGP program.

“As a first-generation college student, the FGP Fellowship provides for an invaluable and transformative legal experience, helping to fill a critical gap between my familial experience with higher education and the world of opportunities it affords,” he said.

Kirby credits his law professors – Legal Practice Skills Senior Lecturer Jessica Simon, Professor of Law Jean Galbraith, Jefferson B. Fordham Professor of Law Tobias Barrington Wolff, and Senior Fellow and Academic Director of the Quattrone Center Paul Heaton – with leading especially engaging courses during a deeply challenging time.

Kirby is a graduate of Kenyon College, where he majored in philosophy, minored in Classics, and learned how to read and write in ancient Greek. His honors thesis, “Expanding Personal Responsibility: On the Importance of Institution & Education,” reflected his burgeoning interest in political and ethical philosophy and was inspired by Kenyon Professor of Philosophy Yang Xiao.

Virinchi Sindhwani L’23

Sindhwani knew from an early age, growing up in small communities in Louisiana and Oklahoma, that law school was likely in his future. A son of immigrants, he moved around with stays in Ohio, California, and Iowa as well. Sindhwani landed at the University of Southern California for college, from which he graduated with a degree in Law, History, and Culture and a minor in Marketing. He was a Trustee Scholar at USC.

He said he is “honored and humbled” to be at the Law School and to have been selected as a first-generation fellow. He specifically praises the collegial atmosphere of the institution.

I’m blown away by how helpful everyone is at Penn Law,” Sindhwani said. “Older students really try to look out for you, and your peers are all rooting for you. I’m looking forward to paying it forward when I am a 2 and 3L.”

He believes his “multifaceted background acts as a connective tissue over any cultural fissures,” provides him “a perspective on insular bubbles that most do not have, an appreciation for people from various backgrounds with views that might differ from mine, and a desire to nurture empathy and appreciation for different cultures, beliefs, and perspectives in all settings.” He also noted that this “connective tissue” came in handy while knocking on doors as a field organizer during the 2020 election.

Sindhwani enjoyed his classes with Professor Wolff, Legal Practice Skills Senior Lecturer Gayle Gowen L’98, Visiting Professor Sandra Mayson, and Michael A. Fitts Professor of Law R. Polk Wagner.

More on the FGP Program

The Center on Professionalism (COP) oversees the FGP Fellowship. The Fellowship supports its Fellows in four primary ways: (1) direct mentorship connections for Fellows to have confidants from whom they can receive feedback, have dialogue about decisions, and reflect on past situations; (2) one-on-one professionalism coaching opportunities, such as in financial education, executive communication, and time management; (3) introductions to the alumni community to build a professional network, and (4) exclusive opportunities to meet “on-campus” speakers.

After receiving a generous donation from Penn alum David Silk L’88, COP was able to create a sustained mechanism and programming curriculum to support first-generation law scholars. The ultimate goal of the FGP program is to provide first generation law students mentorship and a professional network that otherwise may not have been available to them.

In addition to administering the FGP Fellowship, COP provides all Law School students with co-curriculum programming focused on developing the professional skills necessary for success in a modern legal environment. Students can carry these skills – such as project and time management, executive communication, resilience, and techniques for building a professional network – into any workplace.

Read more about COP’s efforts and programming.