Wayne State University

News and Announcements Archive

Return to News Listing Bookmark and Share

Studentís dedication to public service leads to Wayne Law

July 28, 2011

DETROIT (July 28, 2011) – When Eric Shovein begins classes at Wayne State University Law School in August, he will continue down a road of public service he began shortly after receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2009.

Shovein teaching in Guadeloupe

Shovein is interested in human rights law, specifically “helping people who don’t always know all the resources available to them,” he said, and his work over the past two years reflects those concerns. He spent a year with an AmeriCorps program in Lansing, Mich., promoting the availability of vacant lots owned by the Ingham County Land Bank for use by residents as free community gardens. He helped find materials for the gardeners and worked with them throughout the year.

“The land bank used a brilliant ideology,” he said. “Instead of mowing the lots, the county could use the money from mowing to better the communities with gardens. The gardens would not only raise property value, they would bring more unity to the community, more food into peoples’ homes, therapy for the people who enjoy gardening, and education to other neighbors. I was able to help create 20 sustainable gardens and feed a couple hundred people. The program is now in its second year and flourishing.”

After completing that program, Shovein taught English at an elementary school on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. “I figured I would be opening up the children’s eyes not only to the English language and American culture, but also to the ideas about the expansive world outside their small island,” Shovein said. “That job was incredibly fulfilling. My students went from writing a sentence or two here and there to writing an entire letter, expressing themselves coherently in English by the end of the academic year.”

After moving back to the Detroit area in April 2011, Shovein started working with another AmeriCorps program called BrightStars at Development Centers Inc. in Detroit. According to Shovein, BrightStars helps prepare children under the age of 5 academically and socially for school. Both parents and kids come to BrightStars, where they attend classes ranging from music to reading to even gardening. Shovein also is helping two friends with a Detroit urban farming project called Food Field.

According to Shovein, Wayne Law’s emerging prominence in the field of public interest law was immensely appealing when choosing a law school.

“I chose Wayne Law because of its outstanding reputation in the Michigan legal community, huge emphasis on public interest work and prime location in one of the country’s most storied, hopeful and relevant communities in terms of public interest,” Shovein said. “Wayne Law offers externships within those interest areas, and has staff more engaged within the broad human rights category than most other law schools.”

Shovein believes that his service work combined with his education will help him achieve his future career goals. “I’d like to be a lawyer who can help people learn and understand their rights so they can avoid being taken advantage of,” he said. “You don’t have to go to an exotic place to change the world. There’s enough exoticism and diversity within our own culture that you can have the best of both worlds – familiarity and the unknown – all right here at home.”

- ### -

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

For more information about Wayne State University Law School, visit law.wayne.edu.

Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan