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From the Lecture Hall to City Hall

Barkha Patel is currently a third year student in the Drexel University School of Law, but you might say that her career started in 1947. That's when her grandmother became one of only a handful of women licensed to practice law in India. With a role model like that, Barkha was bound to be ambitious.

Barkha was born and raised in New Jersey, where there are plenty of smart, accomplished women lawyers, but she's already found ways to distinguish herself, beginning with her acceptance to Drexel's combined BS/JD program. She chose Drexel because of the accelerated degree option as well as the location.

"Philadelphia is a great city for someone with an interest in law and politics," she says. "It's also located between two other major centers of law and politics — New York and Washington, D.C. — and they're both easy to get to from here."

While still an undergrad she participated in a co-op in the offices of Philadelphia City Councilmember Bill Green. It was supposed to be a research job, but it turned out to be something much more when she began exploring how the city could take better advantage of federal funding opportunities. Before she knew it, she was presenting her findings at council committee hearings, and she did so well that she was asked to stay on even after her co-op was complete.

One of the unique features of Drexel is that our focus on experiential learning doesn't end at the undergraduate level. Where graduate and professional students at other universities might immerse themselves completely in theory and specialize narrowly, Drexel graduate students are encouraged to continue exploring and applying what they've learned.

Since matriculating in law school, Barkha has been a judicial intern in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas as well as a clerk in both a private local practice and the Delaware Department of Justice. And she still has a year left before she completes her juris doctorate. We have a feeling you'll be hearing more from her. You might even get the chance to vote for her one day.