Reeve Lanigan

Major 1: Government & Law

Major 2: Women’s & Gender Studies

300 Word Statement

The Lafayette Ideal is a student who not only expands knowledge beyond limits of academic disciplines, but also through community engagement, influences others to be engaged civil servants for the betterment of society. Lafayette has provided me the opportunity to embody this ideal by constantly learning both in and out of the classroom. Whether it’s researching cyber-bullying and issues of freedom of speech on college campuses, understanding how sex trafficking is linked to poverty through work in the Easton community, or leading workshops on bystander intervention to prevent sexual assault, I have gained a nuanced understanding of how multiculturalism, power and access contribute to social injustices.

Challenging me to question who is missing from dominant discourse, and how I can be a better advocate, Lafayette has not only prepared me for my future professional career, but also taught me approaches to empathetic activism, shaping my love for public service. Throughout my time on campus, I have learned that this work is only possible because of our community’s strong, interwoven systems of support that have showed me the power of compassion—that assistance will always be there with a simple ask for help. These experiences have exposed me to interdisciplinary thought and multifaceted approaches to social political reform, which in turn have influenced my work and dedication in providing equity and inclusion on our campus.

Much of my involvement has surrounded issues of sexual misconduct and the breaking of silences that house gendered injustices. My majors have equipped me with a feminist and political transferable understanding of policy formation and institutional reform, which has led to my work alongside Lafayette administrators to develop more comprehensive sexual misconduct policies and better response mechanisms. These efforts were further empowered through the perseverance of brave survivors who helped me form a coalition to take action, and invite everyone to be a Pard Against Sexual Assault. Working closely with student groups, I have witnessed the power of peer education and collective voices of support, strength, and empathy that have made me feel honored to both be apart and serve this community.

Academic Activities/Awards – Total Years Involved

  • Joint Honors Thesis in Government & Law and Women’s & Gender Studies

My senior honors thesis looks at the governmental re-victimization of domestic firearm violence in the US. Using feminist and legal theory, I have investigated differences between federal and state domestic firearm laws with regard to their qualification(s) of the victim and abuser relationship, classifications of crimes, and the enforcement of surrendering firearms.

  • Minerva and Emil V. Novak Prize in Government and Law

Awarded this year, given “to major(s) in the Department of Government and Law who have demonstrated overall excellence in academic work and citizenship in the campus community.”

  • Professor Susan A. Basow Prize in Women’s & Gender Studies

Awarded this year, given “to a graduating senior who has made a significant contribution to the field of women’s and gender studies.”

  • Scholarship Finalist

I have been selected as a semi-finalist for the Fulbright Open Study/Research Grant to Maastricht University in The Netherlands for an MSc in Public Policy & Human Development. I have also been awarded the Saint Andrew’s Society of the state of NY’s Scholarship to fund my studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland for an LLM in Criminal Justice & Penal Change.

  • EXCEL Scholar (2)

I have been fortunate to work with the English Department and the Government & Law Department as an EXCEL research scholar for the past two years. As a junior, I worked with Professors Tatu and Falbo in the English Department as they launched the Lafayette Study on Student Writing (LSSW). As a scholar for LSSW I helped prepare and transcribe interviews of first year students’ perceptions of college level-writing from pre-matriculation through their first year of writing across disciplines at the College. I also started working with Professor Murphy the summer of my junior yeas as an EXCEL scholar on the polarization and politicization of the Supreme Court. This has involved researching, analyzing, and summarizing historical newspapers and periodicals related to public opinions of the polarized nature of the Supreme Court, which will be used for future publication.

  • Independent Study on Cyber Bullying on College Campuses through Social Media Platforms (1)

During the spring and summer of my junior year I conducted an independent study looking at cyber bullying on social media and how free speech is accounted for online. This project was informed and in honor of Sarah Bramley, who took her life to cyber bullying during her first year at Lafayette. Using social justice journalism, I interviewed college-aged victims of cyber harassment, legal experts, psychologists, and school administrators on the repercussions (or lack thereof) of bullying incidents.

  • Mentor Writing Associate (3)

I have been privileged to serve as a Mentor Writing Associate for the past two years. As a mentor, I help oversee and coordinate the 70+ WA staff by running weekly staff meetings to discuss compositional theory and pedagogical approaches to assist student’s writing. As a WA for the past two years I have worked closely with Professor Murphy in the Government & Law department for his FYS on Trials of the Century and his two upper level law courses, GOVT 313 & 314. Having taken Professor Murphy’s classes, I work as a WA to assist Government & Law students as they navigate constitutional law and write judicial opinions. During my first year as a WA, I was selected to work with Dr. Kang to assist English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. As a WA for ESL students, I meet weekly with Dr. Kang and learned approaches to better support ESL students with their specific needs. I also held office hours specifically for ESL learners to provide individualized assistance and writing consultation. In addition, I helped produce the College’s first resource guide for ESL students, which is now used in WA orientation and staff meetings.

  • Member of Pi Sigma Alpha Government & Law Honors Society (2)

I was inducted into the National Political Science Honor Society as a junior.

  • Member of Triota Elipson Alpha Chapter Women’s & Gender Studies Honors Society (2)

I was inducted into the National Women’s & Gender Honors Society last year, which was also the first year that the College started the society.

  • Member of Order of Omega Rho Tau Chapter Greek Honors Society (2)

I was inducted into the society as a junior.

Campus Services/Activities and Awards – Total Years Involved

  • Co-founder and Member of Executive Board for Pards Against Sexual Assault (PASA) (2)

The summer of my sophomore year I helped formed the College’s first peer education group dedicated to ending sexual violence through advocacy programming and peer workshops. Over the past two years we have significantly grown as a student-led group and I have worked to select, mentor, and train student peer educators on Lafayette’s sexual misconduct response protocol while providing resources to my peers. As a member of the Executive board, I have designed workshops to meet specific needs of individual organizations including all NCAA athletic teams, Greek life chapters, and campus clubs. As a group we have established an annual Take Back the Night event where I have spoke about the importance of community engagement and taking a stance against sexual violence.

  • Title IX & Equity Intern & Student Research Assistant (2)

I developed an academic internship with the former Title IX & Equity Coordinator of the College to learn more about Title IX and sexual discrimination under the law. As an intern, I researched the history of the US Office of Civil Rights changes to Title IX and case law on equal protection and civil rights. I later stayed in the office as a student research assistant where I conducted peer institutional analysis on Title IX administrative structures, models, and response teams. This work led to my interest in creating programming specifically for sexual misconduct at the College, which resulted in my co-creation of the It’s On Us Campaign during the Spring of 2017.

  • Representative, Presidential Oversight Committee on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (2)

After working in the Title IX Office I was selected as the student representative for the Committee during my sophomore year. As a member of the Committee, I worked to revise sexual misconduct policies for the College and serve as liaison between student body and administration. I was also asked to run several meetings on options for reporting sexual misconduct to the College. This year, the Committee has re-joined and I was selected again to serve as a student representative.

  • Representative, Search Committee for Educational Equity Coordinator (1)

Served as student representative on Search Committee in summer 2018 to select new Title IX & Equity Coordinator (now Educational Equity Coordinator).

  • Senior Interviewer (1)

I conduct weekly interviews and evaluate candidates for admission to the College. As an interviewer, I am responsible for answering family questions, following up with the applicants, and providing formal, written feedback to the Admissions team regarding the candidates.

  • PARDner (2)

For the past two years I have welcomed a group of 18 first year students to campus and supported them with their academic endeavors.

  • Kirby Government & Law Society (1)

I have helped organize workshops like Voting 101 during the past midterm elections and have also worked with the Pre-Law Advisor to facilitate panels of law school Deans for students interested in pursing legal careers.

  • 2018 Marquis Aaron O. Hoff Award

My organization, PASA, won this award in our first year of establishing the group, which “recognizes exemplary leadership by a student organization or group of students for influencing the behaviors, actions or opinions of others toward a common goal or purpose.”

  • Recipient of 2017 Robert Beane’ 58 Intern Scholar Award

I won the Beane Award the summer of 2017 which allowed me to complete my internship at the Rachel Coalition, an non-profit that provides legal services to victims of domestic violence. I was also paired with an alumni mentor who helped me navigate my legal career interests.

  • Lafayette College Community Based Learning Expo Presenter

I presented the resources I designed and provided for teen mothers at the Roof Over Women’s Shelter at the Expo in April 2018.

Community Service – Total Years Involved

  • Autism Resource Community Hub of Lehigh Valley (4)

As a member of the College’s swim team I have worked with ARCH as a swim instructor guiding and improving stroke technique of autistic adults while focusing on the importance of physical fitness.

  • Volunteer at Roof Over Women’s Shelter (2)

While taking Professor Byrd’s Single Motherhood class I worked with directors at the local shelter to discuss, plan and craft resources for young women and teen moms. This involved producing brochures on signs of healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, avenues for court ordered legal protection and welfare services, as well as informative posters on mothers’ health concerns, including spotting signs of autism in young children. I have since continued to volunteer at the Shelter.

  • Alpha Phi Fraternity for Women (3)

I have been a member of Alpha Phi for the past three years. I have served as the Director of Ceremonies during my junior year and have also given informative workshops on sexual misconduct resources at the College.

Athletics Activity/Award – Total Years Involved

  • Member of NCAA Division I Swim Team (4)

I have been a member of the Lafayette College Women’s Swim team for the past four years.

  • Recipient of 2018 James F. Bryant ’40 Excellence Award 

“Awarded to a junior who meets standards of excellence, as did James F. Bryant, by demonstrating high academic achievement, lettering in at least one varsity sport, and showing noticeable and noteworthy evidence of community service.”

  • Recipient of 2016-2017 T. Gordon Yates ’29 Award for Swimming
  • Patriot League Academic Honor Roll all semesters

Special Interest – Total Years Involved

  • Internship & Legal Program Administrator at Rachel Coalition (2)

As an intern to the Director of Legal Services at the Coalition, I conducted interviews with victims of domestic violence, assisted with trial preparation for final restraining order hearings, and helped create training modules for pro-bono attorneys. I also worked at the Essex County family court in the Domestic Violence unit by sharing options for legal justice to victims. I was later asked back to the Coalition for the summer of 2018 to serve as the group’s Legal Program Administrator. In this role, I was responsible for intakes of potential clients and maintenance of electronic and paper files. I also was tasked with gathering data for grant reports, writing victim impact and adjournment letters, and assisted with co-managing the volunteer court advocates and response teams in Essex County, NJ.

  • Saturdays In Motion (9)

I have worked as a volunteer for the Saturdays In Motion organization which runs out of my local YMCA since middle school. When I return home for breaks, I still volunteer at the bi-weekly Saturday sessions where I assist as a swim coach for children with autism.

  • Head Swim Coach and Lifeguard (4)

During my freshman and sophomore summers in college I was the Head Swim Coach at a local country club in my area. As the Head Coach I led a team of 35 swimmers ages 6-15 in daily swim practices, communicated with swimmer’s families, and organized competition meets within the league. I have also served as a lifeguard every summer at the club and give private swim lessons assisting children with stroke technique.