s a child, Kayla Stephen, JD `20, loved to read. She devoured books related to true crime — and dreamed about one day covering crime as a journalist. That outlook changed when she was in middle school, when her parents gave her a copy of “Dead Man Walking,” by Sister Helen Prejean. The powerful memoir of the nun’s compassion toward two death row inmates resonated with Stephen in a way other stories had not.
“’Dead Man‘ had a profound impact on my life,” she said. “Everything was centered on law after that.”
Prison and post-conviction reform soon became two of Stephens’ passions. She has jumped at every opportunity to explore them at Quinnipiac Law — both in and out of the classroom. Last year, she partnered with an attorney, researching post-conviction nuances across each of the 50 states.