Penn State Law alumna honored with 2018 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Alumni Association will honor Penn State Law alumna Rebecca Buckley-Stein with the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of alumni 35 years of age and younger.

A 2015 graduate of Penn State Law, Buckley-Stein currently works as a staff attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. in Delano, California, where she fights for the rights and civil liberties of low-income individuals and their families.

“Penn State alumni are capable of going out and doing positive work so early in their careers because Penn State teaches students to believe in themselves,” said Buckley-Stein. “We know we can go out and do anything, even if the world says no.”

Buckley-Stein noted that while there is better representation of women in the legal field today, there are still too few women working in litigation, like she is. She believes that the support she received as a student at Penn State Law gave her the confidence to become a litigator, a role that allows her to fight for justice and individual rights alongside the most exploited communities of our society.

“Beginning law school was a scary experience, but I could tell from the start that my professors were so intelligent, such powerful forces shaping me to be something better than I was when I walked in,” said Buckley-Stein. “The students who come to Penn State Law are all so driven, and I think that culture of greatness really pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

While a student at Penn State Law, Buckley-Stein was a senior editor of the Journal of Law and International Affairs. She also co-founded the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic, and was a chair for both the Public Interest Law Fund and the Agricultural Law Society. All of these experiences helped to prepare her for her career in public interest law.

In her current role, Buckley-Stein has become an advocate for workers that the legal system often overlooks, in areas of housing and employment law and agricultural law, among others. Even now, she carries the positive mantra that Penn State Law instilled in her years ago.

“My clients are usually so beaten down. Part of my job is to remind my clients that they have power, they can stand up for themselves, and I will be right there fighting alongside them,’” she said.

Recipients of the Alumni Achievement Award are nominated by an academic college or campus and invited by the president of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students and the Penn State community at an award ceremony on March 22, among other engagements. Honorees demonstrate to students that Penn State alumni succeed in exceptional fashion at an early age. The Alumni Achievement Award began in 2005, and since then has honored 140 outstanding alumni, including this year's class.

Last year, the Alumni Association honored Penn State Law 2010 alumna Kelly Lloyd, assistant district attorney for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with the award.

In addition to her remarks at the Alumni Association events, Buckley-Stein will take part in an informal talk with law students regarding public interest and her career in California. The talk will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Room 336 of the Lewis Katz Building at University Park. 

Last Updated March 16, 2018