ASU Law announces Mary Sigler Fellowship

December 17, 2019

At the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, students learn from some of the nation’s foremost scholars and innovative legal instructors. They have played an integral role in ASU Law establishing itself as one of the highest ranked public law schools in the nation, a leading center of scholarly exchange with a tradition of exceptional bar-passage and quality job-placement rates.

Among the notable faculty members is Associate Dean of Faculty Zachary Kramera professor who was recently honored with the Mary Sigler Fellowship. photo of Zak Kramer Zachary Kramer is the associate dean of faculty and a professor of law for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Download Full Image

According to ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester, “We have worked hard to increase opportunities to recognize outstanding faculty through awards of chairs, professorships and fellowships. I am so pleased that Professor Kramer has accepted this fellowship named in Mary’s honor.”

Mary Sigler was a lifelong academic, having earned her bachelor’s degree and doctorate from Arizona State University and a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. She was appointed to the faculty of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in 2003 and was a leading expert in criminal law and jurisprudence. In 2012, she was appointed as an associate dean at ASU Law. Sigler was a frequent contributor to leading law journals, with dozens of publications, and was a sought-after panelist at international conferences. She was part of the ASU Law faculty until her death in 2018 after a nearly three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

The philanthropist who donated to support the fellowship stated, “Professor Mary Sigler was a tremendous scholar, teacher and citizen. This faculty appointment will recognize and honor her many contributions to the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The appointment should be awarded to a tenured faculty member whose scholarship and contributions to the community of scholars at ASU best reflects Mary’s legacy.”

Kramer teaches and writes in the areas of property law and civil rights law. He is the author of "Outsiders: Why Difference is the Future of Civil Rights" (Oxford 2019). Before joining the ASU Law faculty in 2010, Kramer taught at Penn State (2008–10) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (2006–08). He began his teaching career as the inaugural Charles R. Williams Teaching Fellow at UCLA School of Law. A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, Kramer served as the editor-in-chief of the University of Illinois Law Review.

“It’s an honor to hold a position that bears my friend Mary’s name,” Kramer said. “I’m humbled by the appointment.”

Among faculty honors, a professorship requires a minimum endowment of $1 million. At present, the Mary Sigler Fellowship has raised more than $600,000. The goal is to convert the fellowship into a professorship. If you would like to honor Sigler's legacy and help make this a reality, please consider making a gift, whether cash or estate plan. 

Read more: New book 'Outsiders' offers insights into identity, equality and discrimination

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Starbucks partner finds her passion for justice studies in ASU Online classes

December 17, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

Contrary to the busy morning bustle as a shift supervisor at Starbucks, Britta Grant says “don’t rush through your classes ... take time to relish and ponder over the lessons learned in class.”  ASU Online student Britta Grant Download Full Image

It was only once she began classes through ASU Online that she realized justice studies was her passion. She found her courses thought provoking and believes this career path will help her not only to be a more well-rounded person, but help others seeking assistance.

“After taking some of the first classes within my degree program, I realized that this topic would help me in being a well rounded person,” she said.

And while being an online student means completing your work away from campus, Grant's local library, the Hamilton East Public Library, is her favorite place to study.

According to Grant, “their quiet rooms are the perfect place to be free of distractions and focus on my work.” 

Graduating with a BS in justice studies and a minor in anthropology, Grant credits the Starbucks College Achievement Plan as the driving force in completing her degree.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? 

Answer: I realized justice studies was the field I wanted to study after finishing the Intro to Justice Studies class. The information was so enthralling. Learning about the principles and philosophies pertaining to the subject was so thought provoking. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I enjoyed Dr. (Nancy) Jurik's Justice Theory class. In the class, there was one thing I learned that was very surprising. The philosopher John Locke influenced the founding fathers quite a bit. His viewpoint on property helped pave the way for the dispossession of indigenous inhabitants in America. The ramifications of this is felt to the present day. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: First, I chose because Starbucks had partnered with the university to provide tuition coverage to its partners. Second, on closer examination of the credentials of the university, I knew that I would receive a solid education that supported me in being a free thinker and innovative.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Don't try to rush through your classes too much. Take time to relish and ponder over the lessons learned in class. Soon enough the time will come for you to graduate. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Q: As an online student, what was your favorite spot to study or to just think about life?

A: I loved going to study at my local library. The Hamilton East Public Library in Fishers, Indiana, is perfect for studying. It had plenty of space and comfortable chairs. Also, it has plenty of quiet rooms. I would find a spot, put my headphones on and listen to my lo-fi beats. All was perfect and I could focus on my work.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: My dream career is to work in diversity and inclusion for a business/corporation. I will be focusing on my path to this goal.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would want to work on building sustainable ways of bringing fresh, drinkable water to all who don't have it. So many illnesses are brought on by people having no choice but to drink water that is not drinkable.