Three sibling graduates of Capital University include 19-year-old with law degree
Upon graduating from Capital University Law School on May 23 at age 19, Danya Hamad became one of the youngest people in the country to earn a law degree.
Academic achievement runs in the family: Older sister Summer, 22, and younger brother David, 17, also recently graduated from Capital University.
Summer Hamad earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry this year and participated in Capital’s May 8 commencement.
David Hamad earned a bachelor’s degree in biology last year. Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, he and his classmates participated in Capital’s class of 2020 commencement May 9.
Danya Hamad said her parents passed on their work ethic to their children.
“My parents were always stressing the importance of education and how important it is to be a well-rounded, knowledgeable person,” she said. “They didn’t have the opportunity to pursue post-high school studies when they were our age, so they stressed the importance of us pursuing education.”
Danya, Summer and David Hamad grew up in Canal Winchester. Summer graduated from Canal Winchester High School, and Danya and David transferred to and graduated from Reynoldsburg High School through interdistrict open enrollment.
Danya Hamad said it was just before enrolling in Reynoldsburg that she became aware of Ohio’s program that enables high school students to take college courses, with tuition costs covered by the state.
“At the end of my eighth-grade year, when I was 13, I started at Columbus State (Community College),” she said. “I took one course, which was government and law. I absolutely loved it. I continued taking college courses during my high school years.”
Danya Hamad earned an associate degree at age 15 and transferred to Capital University, where she enrolled in the university’s 3+3 program. The accelerated program enables students to earn their bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees in six years, instead of the seven required by other Ohio law schools.
Although she was considerably younger than most of her classmates, Hamad displayed a maturity beyond in her years, said Mark Brown, Capital University Law School’s Newton D. Baker/Baker and Hostetler chair of law.
“She was a wonderful student,” Brown said. “She took three of my classes. She was in my common law 1, 2 and an advanced course on constitutional litigation. Not many students take that class. She was always prepared.
“You would never have known that she was young. She was always asking great questions and expressing curiosity.”
Danya Hamad said she gained valuable experience in how the law is applied in daily life through an externship with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and by clerking for the Columbus City Attorney's Office.
“My supervisors were very helpful in showing me how to correctly research things and apply them to real-world issues,” she said. “I was able to see a lot of the work I was doing coming to life.”
Danya Hamad said she plans to spend the summer studying for the bar exam before beginning a job search. If earning a law degree at 19 wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, she also completed a master’s degree in international studies through American University on May 8.
“I’m really interested in international law and human rights,” she said. “That’s really what I want my career path to be in.”
Her siblings, Summer and David, also are matriculating to graduate school. Summer Hamad plans to research solutions to prevent commonly found infections in hospitals when she continues her studies at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy this fall. David Hamad is applying to medical school, with plans to become a heart surgeon.
The siblings were fortunate enough to discover career paths at an age when many youths are still deciding where – or if – they want to go to college.
Danya Hamad's advice to young people who may be struggling to focus is to pursue what they feel passionate about.
“When I was younger, I loved debating people. I loved geography and world history,” she said. “Eventually, that passion led me to international studies, and international studies led me to international law. People who are struggling to find a major, they don’t need to decide right away.”