University Community

Leighton Heiner introduces first-year students to pre-law community at OHIO

Leighton Heiner believes in the "community" part of being a pre-law learning community leader for first-year students who are new to Ohio University.

"I’m not a particularly social person by nature, so it was when I found 'community' at OHIO that I feel like I truly had that ‘ah ha’ moment. I will always remember the sense of connection I felt to my teammates after my first rugby game and mock trial tournament. It was incredibly comforting and empowering to my shy freshman self," said Heiner, who is a philosophy major pursuing a Law, Justice and Culture Certificate in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"I attribute most of my current situation in life today to my younger self and my parents. My father’s most important principle in his life has, for as long as I can remember, been kindness and decency. He passed this on to me, and my goal ever since I was a child has been to try and make as many people’s lives as easy and high-quality as possible. With law being such an efficient way to help people, I think it was a natural development that I ended up as a member of the Center for Law, Justice and Culture and the undergraduate pre-law community," Heiner said.

Larry Hayman, Esq., director of legal engagement and the pre-law program and Heiner’s learning community instructor, said, “Leighton is an enthusiastic, conscientious, and insightful student leader. She genuinely cares about the success of every student in the pre-law community and goes the extra mile to make sure her students have what they need to be successful. Leighton, who herself went through the Pre-Law Learning Community last year, serves as an important role model and mentor to first-year students as they are transitioning into Ohio University. I am delighted I get the opportunity to work with her.”

Q&A with Leighton Heiner

Q: Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

A: Larry Hayman, Scott Carson, and Alyssa Bernstein have been key figures in my academic journey. The work Larry Hayman does is phenomenal, and the care with which he executes everything he does is incredibly admirable. He is someone that I hope to emulate in my legal career. Scott Carson and Alyssa Bernstein are both fantastic professors who have taught me a lot about writing, critical thinking, and what it means to do philosophical work. I apply the knowledge I’ve gained from them every day, whether it’s in an academic, professional, or social setting.

Q:  What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

A: Hot take: I think the Bryan stairwell is tougher to climb than Jeff Hill. As for challenges at OHIO, something that I think is difficult for most college students is learning how to properly balance their lives so that they can focus equally on work, fun and health. I ended up feeling tired and anxious most of my first semester because I didn’t make time to exercise, eat healthily, or make time for myself. I think cultivating balance is a skill that can be fostered over time, and it’s something I’m still working on. Being deliberate with time management and planning is a good first step, though, as well as trying to make time to relax and briefly forget about your to-do list.

Q: What are your favorite OHIO memories?

A: Last May, the Ohio Men’s Rugby Club had its 50th anniversary. To celebrate, OHIO rugby players and rugby alumni spent a weekend in Athens where the storied history of OHIO rugby was celebrated and commemorated. I met some wicked cool alumni and got to make a lot of memories with my team, so it’s definitely one of my favorite OHIO memories.

Q: What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

A: I’d tell a new OHIO student to take advantage of all the cool talks and guest speakers. Those types of events are unique to a university environment and can be ideologically and professionally formative. Also, this part of Ohio is beautiful and wrought with history. I think it’s worthwhile to take time to enjoy nature or learn some of the stories of the communities in this area.

November 17, 2022
Staff reports