Akua Akyea, the former assistant dean for public service, was named the Law School’s new associate dean for career development in October 2021 after her predecessor, John DeRosa, was named dean’s special advisor on career affairs. She seeks to lead a reimagined office focused on supporting students and alumni in all practice areas.
“I want to thank Dean DeRosa for his many years of dedication to Cornell Law School students and alumni,” says Akyea. “He has left a great foundation I look forward to building upon.”
“I am very happy to see a friend and colleague like Akua stepping into my past role and making it her own,” says DeRosa. “I know she will energetically bring all of her talents to bear on behalf of our students and alumni and I wish her the very best of luck.”
As assistant dean for public service at the Law School, Akyea counseled students and alumni on both domestic and international public interest opportunities and on ways to incorporate pro-bono efforts in a corporate practice.
Before coming to Cornell Law School, she was assistant dean of career services at the University of Iowa College of Law. Prior to that, she was director of public interest at Yale Law School for five years. And before that, she was at Columbia Law School’s Social Justice Initiatives—where she directed several public interest summer programs.
Akyea is a graduate of the University of Iowa Law School, where she served on the Journal of Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems and was a member of the Legal Clinic working on asylum petitions and §1983 cases. She has presented on international public interest careers, working with public interest alumni, and supporting students’ social justice goals at the National Association for Law Placement and Equal Justice Works conferences.
Akyea has also worked on issues of cross-cultural communication and diversity, is a trained mediator, and served as a counselor for at-risk high school students through the Upward Bound Project. She has traveled and lived in several countries in Europe, East and West Africa, and North America.