Patricia Abrams Named Miller Research Fellow
FlexTime Student Patricia Abrams Named Inaugural Recipient of the Miller Research Fellowship
Patricia Abrams, the first Touro student to receive the Miller Research Fellowship, is a Registered Nurse who works while enrolled in Touro Law’s FlexTime program. She looks forward to her work as a Fellow and a bright future blending her knowledge of health care and the law.
This is the first year the Miller Research Fellowship is being offered at Touro Law. The Fellowship provides a prestigious opportunity for one student to work on a Project designated by the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience (CPR) at Rutgers University.
Patricia will intern under the mentorship of faculty, research scholars, and visiting fellows. During the 10- week fellowship, Patricia will have the opportunity to explore the policy and legal implications for vulnerable populations resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
What made you decide to go to law school?
My interest in law began when I worked for the New York State Nurses Association after receiving my Master’s degree. I had already been working as a Cardiac Catheterization Nurse for some time but was always pushing myself to grow and learn more. The timing in life was never quite right for me to pursue my interest until two years ago when I learned about the FlexTime Program at Touro. The program and where I was in life matched perfectly and so I did not hesitate.
Why did you choose Touro Law’s FlexTime Program?
I had been waiting for a flexible law program for years and was thrilled to discover Touro Law’s FlexTime Program. The program allows enough flexibility in doing coursework throughout the week while providing a robust education. As a law student who works in her first chosen profession, I needed a program that I could fit into my busy schedule without feeling like I was sacrificing my education or law school experience. In this program, I am able to complete coursework during the week and meet with the class and professors at designated times weekly throughout the entire semester. The professors are available during the week for office hours and through email so I never feel disconnected. My classmates have become a great network of support also. We have become familiar with one another, developed study groups, text chats and we are very much connected on our Zoom sessions.
What has been the most surprising thing about law school?
The most surprising thing has been just how connected we all are to the law even though it may not be perfectly obvious in our everyday lives. Through my classwork, I am able to reflect either on experiences I have had personally or through someone close to me that highlights just how much the law is around many, many situations, whether it be concerning our Constitutional rights or our State mandates.
Why did you apply for the Miller Research Fellowship?
I applied for the fellowship because I recognized that it was a great opportunity! My experience as a Registered Nurse provides me some knowledge base for our current pandemic situation. By becoming a part of this Fellowship that is related to COVID statistics, economics, and resulting policies, I believe I can add value from the perspective of a frontline healthcare professional while gaining knowledge. And, I am excited about becoming a part of history in helping to document this pandemic experience.
What work will you do as a Fellow?
Over the course of this ten-week summer fellowship, I will have the opportunity to explore the policy and legal implications for vulnerable populations resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I will be a member of the Visualizations and Assessments Team working to ensure data collected by the Analytics and Regional Teams is charted and displayed in a coherent, meaningful way for people to understand.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
It seems natural that I will follow in the Healthcare field after graduation by practicing Malpractice Law or even Compliance. I also have a great sense of "giving back" and so I hope to teach at Touro one day. However, the world is full of unknown opportunities and possibilities, any of which could present themselves to me. I have learned that John Lennon was correct when he said, 'Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Don't be afraid to start, don't be scared to take a chance, and never limit yourself! We only get one go-around.
Do you have a favorite class/professor/experience that you want to share?
In a short period of time I have come to have a tremendous amount of respect for Dean Berman (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law). She has shown compassion and strength to myself and many other students I have spoken to about her. She is a knowledgeable, strong woman who shares her skills with others in order to prepare us for the world and the world for us -- a real class act!