First Generation Professionals Fellow Rae Schlueter L’24 is both a deeply analytical thinker and a curious adventurer interested in understanding the complexities of the world around her. Throughout her life, she has taken it upon herself to embark on paths that challenge her views with new perspectives and information.
“My undergraduate degree is in Economics, and I chose that because I didn’t really understand the world very much,” Schlueter said. “I thought that studying Economics would be a good way to start to understand — not necessarily the rules of the world, but how the world functions.”
Now, as a first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Schlueter looks to increase her knowledge even further.
“I can’t wait to do something that is meaningful to me,” she said. “Fulfilling.”
Paving a path to law school
Studying Economics was not the first time she elected to expand her academic horizons. While she was in high school, Schlueter decided she would like to study abroad — despite the fact that no one from her high school had ever done so before. Since there were no established programs, Schlueter had to advocate for herself and spearhead the logistical arrangements that allowed her to spend a year living with a host family and studying in Japan.
“Every time I meet someone from a new culture it helps me see things in a different way,” she said, “and I really enjoy that because it helps me make better decisions.”
Schlueter grew up on a small, family-run dairy farm in northeastern Iowa. While working in the barn one day, her brother suggested that she would excel in a law school environment, presumably as a nod to her precise and systematic problem-solving skills. Schlueter ran with the idea.
During her freshman year of college at Brigham Young University, she sat in on a Torts class at the J. Reuben Clark Law School and became enthralled by the class discussion.
“I didn’t really understand anything that was going on, except that they were talking about a car malfunctioning and whose fault it was, but I enjoyed the conversation,” Schlueter said. “I liked the way the professor was leading the class and the way that different ideas were being thrown back and forth. I enjoyed the atmosphere, so I thought, ‘Okay, this is what I’ll do. I’ll go to law school.’”
Forming relationships as a First Generation Professionals Fellow
The FGP Fellowship, which is administered by the Center on Professionalism (COP) and made possible by a generous gift from David Silk L’88, offers practical guidance designed to support Fellows as they grow as legal professionals. In total, the Law School now supports nine FGP Fellows across all class years, who, through the Fellowship, have access to personalized one-to-one career readiness coaching, exclusive professional networking events, and opportunities to build valuable relationships with mentors in the legal field.
Schlueter expressed appreciation for the guidance by COP that will help her to navigate both her time in Law School and her transition into her legal career.
“Even now, I still don’t know much about law school,” she said. “Coming in, I had little to no idea about anything. I’m starting to pick up on things, but still, I hear about things and I’m like ‘Oh, okay, I didn’t know that was an option. I didn’t know that was a thing that happened here.’”
For Schlueter, one of the most interesting parts of the Fellowship experience has been learning from and finding community among the other Fellows. She noted that it “is exciting to see that, even though we have that common First Generation title, our backgrounds are still extremely different.”
“It’s exciting to see the diversity. Even though we all come from really different places, we all have a lot of commonalities. It’s a very reassuring thing,” Schlueter said. “[The FGP Fellows’] knowledge and awareness of the world seems so different than that of people who aren’t FGP students. It’s a different perspective –and it’s more similar to my perspective, so it’s both comfortable and exciting to be with people who ‘get it.’”
Instead of looking forward to any one particular aspect of law school, Schlueter prefers to explore and discover all that the Law School has to offer. Though she is potentially interested in international arbitration and dispute settlement, she is still not sure where she will eventually choose to focus her career. For Schlueter, allowing herself the space to explore the myriad of opportunities a legal education presents is essential.
Ultimately, her overarching goal remains what it always has been: to continue to expand her knowledge about the world and to let her path unfold.