A lifetime of learning has prepared Danya Hamad, J.D., M.A., to make an impact in international communities. In college-level courses since she was 13-years old, she is about to move from the classroom to commencement for the final time in her academic career. On May 22, Hamad will graduate from the American University Washington College of Law with her LL.M. in International Legal Studies.
“I’m always of the opinion if you want to go into a field, make sure you’re well educated. I really wanted to immerse myself in International Law because it’s what I’ve always been passionate about,” said Hamad. “Plus, I got to have the Washington, D.C., experience.”
In 2021, Hamad graduated from Capital Law School with her J.D. and Pro Bono Legal Honors. She was 19 at the time, one of the youngest lawyers in U.S. history. Her experience at Capital helped lay the groundwork for future educational pursuits.
“It’s been a really great learning experience. Everything that we are learning pertains to the conflicts that are happening right now. For me, it was important to get a specialized education in human rights, humanitarian law, and international criminal law because that’s the kind of law I want to do,” said Hamad. “I think my Capital degree really gave me a foundation. I’m really happy with the education that I’ve received, and I think my Capital degree and this LL.M. degree go hand in hand.”
Capital offers a 3+3 Bachelor of Arts/Juris Doctor Program. Enrolled students can earn an undergraduate and law degree in six years. An accredited ABA private law school, Capital University Law School is located in downtown Columbus.
“Going into Capital, I knew that international law wasn’t their specialty, but I knew Capital would get me a J.D., and that’s the first step,” Hamad said. “Capital was a smaller school, and I think that was the best option for me at the time, just given all of my demographics. I just thought a smaller school that’s close to home would be much easier to manage and just like ease into the experience.”
Hamad passed the bar exam in July 2021 and was sworn into the Ohio State Bar Association by Judge Sheryl K. Munson in February 2022. The catalyst moment was made even more special by those in attendance.
“That was the biggest part for me when I was finally sworn in and became an official attorney. I didn’t just get to see my dreams realized, but I got to see my parents, and they were so happy,” Hamad said. “I was raising my hand, and I looked over at them and they were smiling so big. For me, it was just raising my hand and saying a couple of sentences, but to see them so happy, I realized just how important that moment was for them. They sacrificed so much for me.”
Hamad had a strong support system off-campus, from big family barbecues every Sunday to a house full of five siblings.
“I’m a first-generation college student. On my dad’s side, I’m a first-generation American. My dad is from Palestine. My mom’s parents are from Palestine as well, but she was born and raised in Chicago,” said Hamad. “My parents work so hard in their life, and that was something that they had always instilled in us. To pursue an education. Follow your dreams and do whatever it is you want to do.”
While she’s passed significant milestones at a unique age, Hamad insists it’s often the least interesting thing about her.
“I have done school continuously, and a lot of people have told me, ‘Oh, you must not be happy, you’ve sacrificed your social life, your happiness.’ I’m like no, I’m so happy. Guess who gets to retire early,” said Hamad. “I just got an early start to my life and I’ve enjoyed everything so far.”
To learn more about Capital University Law School, go to https://law.capital.edu/.
To read more about Danya, go to https://www.american.edu/sis/news/20210615-at-nineteen-danya-hamad-is-youngest-ever-sis-master-of-international-relations-graduate.cfm.