Portrait of William Ahee standing in front of a water fall

William Ahee: The road to Harvard Law

Alumnus William Ahee has made a habit of taking on challenges. From Detroit’s food economy to global climate change and now Harvard Law School, Ahee is using his Wayne State education to address important issues facing Detroit and the world.

Ahee graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in philosophy, but his WSU education was multidisciplinary, extending to urban planning, agriculture and law. As a student leader for SEED Wayne, Ahee helped build sustainable food systems in Detroit communities for more than two years, securing two undergraduate research grants in the process. He also conducted an extensive examination of human rights and climate change as part of a senior research project.

“Coming into college, I had no idea what I wanted to study,” he says. “But being able to see how my knowledge was applicable by working in the city helped guide my learning.”

Ahee says it was Wayne State’s unique level of diversity and its involved faculty that afforded him opportunities he might not have found elsewhere. 

“Every school talks about diversity, but at WSU it’s not just racial or socioeconomic — it’s a diversity of life experiences and worldviews. That level of diversity continues to help me in everything that I pursue.”

Faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are deeply invested in the success of their students, and Ahee was no exception. Professor Katherine Kim helped him define his goals, make important connections and become a research advisor. And Dr. Brad Roth worked extensively with Ahee on his senior research project, helping define his understanding of the law and its role in climate change.

“I found that Wayne State faculty will go out of their way to help you achieve your goals,” Ahee says. “I think they realize that students at WSU often go to greater lengths to pursue a degree.” 

Ahee credits Wayne State’s real-world experiences for helping him discover what he wanted to do with his life and the kind of life he wants to live broadly.

“You’re not just learning about the subject matter. You’re learning about your role in the world,” he says. Wayne State is a university that’s engaged in the world, where you can plug into any number of opportunities and use learning to have a social impact.”

Ahee will attend Harvard Law School in fall 2014. But in the meantime, he’s been farming in upstate New York, teaching LSAT prep courses and trying to relax. He hopes to use his law degree to further investigate the intersection of human rights and climate change, and he plans to attend a delegation on the topic in Nicaragua this summer. 

“I want to use the law as a tool for social change rather than a means to exacerbate existing problems. I want to use litigation as a way to help people in the developing world,” Ahee says.

William Ahee is poised to make an impact on the world. And his path was paved in Wayne State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.