MIAMILAW UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW
PUBLIC INTEREST RESOURCE CENTER
PUBLIC INTEREST PROGRAM
â€œThe Miami Scholars Public Interest Program represents dedicated and extraordinary students at Miami Law. Their passion for justice, intellectual curiosity and motivation drives them to effectuate change in agencies and communities near and far.â€? ~Marni Lennon, Esq.
Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono Director, HOPE Public Interest Resource Center Lecturer in Law
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
MIAMI SCHOLARS PUBLIC INTEREST PROGRAM Established in 1997, the Miami Scholars Public Interest Program brings exceptional students with a passion for public service and social justice to the University of Miami School of Law. Miami Scholars are selected based on their outstanding academic credentials and demonstrated commitment to public service and advocacy. The Miami Scholars Public Interest Program offers its students exclusive opportunities for legal advocacy training and advising from the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center team of attorneys, including individualized curriculum advising and career planning assistance. Miami Scholars receive mentoring by upper-class Scholars and public interest and pro bono attorneys. Miami Scholars are awarded an annual scholarship and are provided with a stipend for public interest work that is performed during their first or second year summer. Tuition awards are automatically renewed if the scholar remains in good standing.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019
The Miami Scholars Public Interest Program connected me with a network of students and professionals who share a passion for public interest and social justice work. I know I will always have a support system with my colleagues and mentors through Miami Scholars.
~Nejla Calvo, JD ’15
Legal Services of Greater Miami, Miami, FL
I was immediately welcomed by this small community and presented with unique viewpoints and opportunities. The Miami Scholars program gave me an outlet to apply in-class lessons to benefit the local community. I was able to do far more hands-on legal work than I would have otherwise been able to do had I not been invited to join this cohort.
~Bennett Blachar, JD ’16
Arnstein & Lehr
As an alumna with a legal career dedicated to public service, I am excited to watch the continued expansion of the Miami Scholars Program. It now affords even more students the opportunity to find their passion, do what they love, and serve our community with vigor and spirit.
~Fara Gold, JD ‘03
United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section, Washington, DC
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
The Miami Scholars Program gave me the ability to take internships in disability law and attend a dual degree program in my field of interest, Public Health. My reasons for my lifelong support of the Miami Scholars Program continue to multiply. Law school can be a challenging place for those who envision themselves as civil servants. The support of the other Miami Scholars and Dean Lennon kept me focused on my ultimate goals and helped me pinpoint one-of-a-kind opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.
~Kathy Walker, JD ’13
United States Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section, Washington, DC I enrolled in the University of Miami specifically to be a part of the Miami Scholars Program. I wanted to find a place where I would be unconditionally encouraged and assisted in my desire to practice public interest law. The Miami Scholars Program allowed me to do this along with a dedicated cohort of like-minded students.
~Abraham Rubert-Schewel, JD ’14
Law Clerk to the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York While I was attracted to Miami Law for many reasons, it was the school’s commitment to developing and supporting the next generation of public interest lawyers through the Miami Scholars Program that solidified my decision to relocate from Washington, DC for law school. From judicial internships to exclusive networking opportunities, the experiences afforded to me through the Miami Scholars Program have had a tremendous impact on my professional development and have also resulted in meaningful ties to the bench and bar, great friendships and a supportive network across the public and private sector.
~Kevin Probst, JD ’07
Legal Services of Greater Miami, Miami, FL
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Ian Bertschausen graduated from Wagner College in Staten Island, New York in May 2015 with a B.A. in Government and Politics and a minor in History. He was a member of national honor societies for leadership and political science and sang in the Wagner College Choir. He served as a Government and Politics tutor and also worked with the college’s Office of Institutional Advancement. Ian held several leadership roles with Generation Citizen, a national program in which undergraduate students teach a civics course at a low-income high school and assist the high school students in creating a project they can use to solve pressing issues in their community. As a Democracy Coach, he led students through the process of making tangible, systemic changes in the community, while also teaching them lifelong advocacy skills. He also served as Advocacy Director and Chapter Executive Director for Generation Citizen. Ian served as a Citizenship Intern with the YMCA Center for New Americans. In addition to leading a weekly citizenship class, he assisted immigrants with completing paperwork necessary for the citizenship process. During his 1L summer, Ian interned at the Florida Justice Institute, a public interest civil rights law firm focused primarily on prisoners’ rights. He has also interned with the Honorable Darrin P. Gayles in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and during his 2L summer, worked with the Florida Supreme Court in the Office of the Reporter of Decisions within the Chief Justice’s chambers. Ian has served as a Dean’s Fellow, a legal intern with the Children and Youth Law Clinic, as an Articles & Comments Editor for the University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, and as Vice President of the Society of Bar & Gavel.
Laura Connor graduated from the University of Missouri in May 2015, with a B.A. in English. She was a Walter Williams Scholar, a recipient of an Honors Certificate, and a member of the University of Missouri Leadership Academy. She was president and founder of the campus chapter of the International Justice Mission, which is dedicated to eradicating modernday slavery and forced labor around the world while planning local events and educational efforts to bring awareness to the surrounding community. In addition, she organized Mizzou Stand for Freedom, an event to enhance a national effort to end human trafficking. She was also a member of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, a community organization that works to raise awareness and money in order to prevent and end forced labor through advocacy, education, and community engagement. During the summer of 2013, Laura worked in Dublin, Ireland as a corporate fundraising intern for the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation. She also served as a tutor and a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club. During her 1L summer, Laura served as a judicial intern with Judge Sue Myerscough of the Central District of Illinois and Judge John J. O’Sullivan of the Southern District of Florida. As a 2L, she participated in the Innocence Clinic, served on the Honor Council and worked as a Writing Dean’s Fellow. During her 2L summer, she worked at a law firm in Ft. Lauderdale and is studying abroad in Germany during the fall of her 3L year.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Ellen Degnan graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics in May 2012. While at Yale, she was a co-coordinator of Jews for Justice, linking the Jewish community to social justice causes. She was also a member of Fierce Advocates, a student organization working for equality in the LGBTQ community, and participated in the Community Voter Project with the Connecticut Center for a New Economy. During the summer of 2010, Ellen served as an intern with Catalyst Miami, where she worked on a campaign to mobilize Miami-Dade voters against county budget cuts to jobs and social services. She developed messaging strategy, presented to stakeholder organizations, and facilitated leadership training workshops on themes of poverty, civic engagement, and community activism. The following summer she served as an intern with the Detention Unit of Americans for Immigrant Justice in Miami. She worked to provide pro se assistance to immigrant women detained at a Broward County detention center. Beginning in 2012, Ellen worked full-time as a research analyst with Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit dedicated to rigorous evaluation of social programs and policies. She cleaned, managed, and performed econometric analysis of data from field experiments in South America and West Africa on topics including microfinance, education, and health. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, Ellen interned with the Legal Wellness Institute at The Family Center, providing holistic representation to low-income New Yorkers affected by illness or loss. As a 2L, she was a member of the Environmental Justice Clinic. During her 2L summer, she interned with the Economic Justice Project of the Southern Poverty in Montgomery, AL, supporting lawsuits to eliminate debtors’ prisons, predatory court costs, and civil forfeiture. During her 3L year, Ellen is serving as a Fellow in the Environmental Justice Clinic and a member of the Public Interest Leadership Board.
KATHRYN DELLA FERA
Kathryn Della Fera graduated cum laude from the University of Florida in 2011 with a B.S. in Psychology. She was on the Dean’s List/President’s Honor Roll and an active member of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. She also worked as a research assistant in the Health Psychology Research Lab and studied abroad in both Panama and Rome. Upon graduation, Kathryn joined Teach for America and became a middle school science teacher in Miami. Her students earned the second highest scores in the district on interim exams and she was nominated for New Teacher of the Year. After two years, she took a position as an Instructional Science Coach. She then relocated to Madrid, Spain where she became a language and culture assistant at a secondary school. For this work she received the CIEE Teach in Spain Grant. During her 1L year, Kathryn worked with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative where she served as the Legal and Education Specialist, a position she continued during her 1L summer. As a 2L, she served as a legal intern with the Health Rights Clinic, the Larry Hoffman|Greenberg Traurig Startup Practicum, and the Cyber Crimes Division of the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. She also served as the Legal and Education Specialist for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Practicum, was a member of the Race and Social Justice Law Review and was a research assistant for Professor Donna Coker. During her 2L summer, she continued her work with the State Attorney’s Office. As a 3L, Kathryn is serving as a Health Rights Clinic Fellow, Litigation Skills Fellow and Startup Practicum Fellow. She will also continue to intern at the MiamiDade County State Attorney’s Office and will serve as an articles and comments editor for the Race and Social Justice Law Review.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Nalani Gordon graduated from the University of Central Florida, summa cum laude, in 2013, with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. She was also awarded certifications in Criminal Profiling and Victim Advocacy. She received her Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida in May 2015. Throughout her time at UCF, she was on the President’s Honor Roll, received numerous awards and scholarships, and became a member of several honor societies. As part of Knight Advocates, she was involved in clothing and food drives, safety fairs and service projects. She was also a member of the Student Advisory Council and the Student Conduct Review Board. In the community, Nalani volunteered at a United Cerebral Palsy charter school, where she tutored students and completed a Teachersin-Action project to improve the school’s library. She also worked with the Palm Beach County Health Department to initiate Reading Counts, an incentive program that encouraged reading in a 4th grade classroom. She continued her volunteer work with the Health Department by participating in toy drives, clerical work and interpretation services. During her 1L summer, she clerked for Colson Hicks Eidson in Coral Gables. As a 2L, she took part in the Investor Rights Clinic and served on the Public Interest Leadership Board (PILB), the Race and Social Justice Law Review, and the Black Law Students Association. During her 2L summer, she was a summer associate with Gunster in West Palm Beach. As a 3L, she will serve as submissions editor for the Race & Social Justice Law Review and will be returning to the PILB and as a Fellow with the Investor Rights Clinic.
Jordan Gray graduated from Johns Hopkins University in December 2014, with a major in Psychological and Brain Sciences and a minor in Music. During her sophomore year, she was a finalist for the Mt. Sinai Medical School Humanities and Medicine Program. She served as performance director and president of The JHU Sirens, an all-female a cappella group, was a teaching assistant for a class entitled Psychological Profiling of the Mass Murderer, and worked on numerous community service initiatives as a student leader. She also served as a mentor/tutor for local Baltimore students since 2011. In 2013, Jordan interned with the Mother and Infant Care sector of the Baltimore City Health Department and, during the summer of 2014, she worked with the Baltimore City Law Department. As an intern, she assisted in drafting and editing motions and depositions and helped to draft a paper on social media in the municipal law workplace that was published and distributed at the International Municipal Lawyers Conference. She also created the In Good Health Blog, a healthy living blog for which she is the primary writer. During her 1L summer, Jordan interned with the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, NC as a part of their Children’s Defense Team. As a 2L, she participated in the Innocence Clinic and joined the University of Miami Law Review. During her 2L summer, she clerked for a firm in Ft. Lauderdale. As a 3L, Jordan is serving as an extern with the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, a research assistant and Fellow with the Innocence Clinic, a member of the Moot Court Executive Board, and is organizing a charity race with the Society of Bar & Gavel.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Joshua Gutter graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in May 2009, with B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Fisher School of Accounting. He was a student ambassador with the Florida Cicerones, a research participant in the University Scholars Program, and upon graduation, he became a Certified Public Accountant. Shortly thereafter, Josh began volunteering as a development and external affairs intern with the human rights organization Calling All Crows. He then joined AmeriCorps/ City Year Miami, where he served as a mentor and tutor at Miami Jackson Senior High. At City Year’s graduation, he received the “Ubuntu” Award, which is named after a South African proverb meaning “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.” After City Year, Josh returned to life as a CPA. During that time, he also participated in Jewish Federation of Broward County’s Horizons Leadership Program, and in 2013, he served as Director of Community Outreach for AIGA Miami, a professional association for design. This led to his engagement in Miami’s start-up ecosystem and these experiences introduced him to areas of interest such as intellectual property and venture capital. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, Josh interned with Vermont Legal Aid, where he worked on the organization’s Elder Law Project and Disability Law Project. As a 2L, Josh participated in the Investor Rights Clinic, served as a legal extern with the MacArthur Foundation, and became a member of the University of Miami Law Review. During his 2L summer, Josh worked at the Internal Revenue Service in its Office of Chief Counsel in Washington, DC, where he served as an intern with the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. As a 3L, Josh is externing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Daniel Hales graduated from the University of Maine in 2014 with a B.S. in Marine Sciences. He was a member of the Track and Field team and a student coordinator of Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV), a peer education program designed to challenge social norms and institutions that actively or implicitly condone and promote violence, domestic abuse, and harmful stereotypes about masculinity. After studying abroad in Australia, Dan interned with the Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Program in at the University of New England, where he educated and engaged the public in marine conservation efforts. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, Dan served as an intern with the Miami City Attorney’s Office on administrative and environmental law issues raised by power plant construction and regulation. As a 2L, Dan joined the Environmental Law Society e-board and participated in the Environmental Justice Clinic. Following his 2L year, Dan served as a summer law clerk for Earthjustice’s Miami office, and will continue working in the Environmental Justice Clinic as a Fellow during his 3L year. Dan is pursuing a joint MPS degree through the law school and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Bradley Jarrett graduated cum laude from The Citadel— The Military College of South Carolina in 2008 with a B.A. in Political Science: International and Military Affairs. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate. Following graduation, he began his career with the United States Army. He took part in the United States Army Basic Officers Leaders Course and the Naval School for Explosive Ordnance Disposal before deploying to Iraq in 2009 as an Operations Officer and Platoon Leader. He spent a year in Iraq, coordinating all combat operations for his company and engaging in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2010 to 2012, he served as a Commander, Assistant Operations Officer, and Security Manager at Ft. Drum, NY, where he oversaw EOD programs and supported military personnel throughout the country. He later served as Commander of the 761st Ordnance Company in Ft. Sill, OK, and Zabul Province, Afghanistan. He directed operations for a 6,000-person task force during 16 multi-national operations, oversaw training, and served as a mentor and liaison officer to Afghan National Army personnel. He has received many awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and medals for his service overseas. Following his 1L year at Miami Law, Bradley interned with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in the Major Crimes Division. As a 2L, he served as an intern in the Immigration Clinic and was Vice-President of Miami Law’s Student Veterans of America Chapter. During his 2L summer, Bradley participated in the U.S. Department of Justice Summer Legal Internship Program as an intern with the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch and the Antitrust Division.
Joshua Mandel graduated from Oberlin College in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a minor in Law and Society. He was a three-time All-America quarterback on Oberlin College’s varsity football team, and received the Yeomen Academic Excellence Award—a high honor for studentathletes. He volunteered with the America Counts program as a tutor for fifth-grade students, and served with Habitat for Humanity. Following graduation, Josh began working as a Project Assistant with Norton Rose Fulbright in Austin, Texas, as a member of the Life Sciences, Healthcare, and Product Liability mass tort litigation team. During the first half of his 1L summer at Miami Law, Josh interned at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida with the Honorable John J. O’Sullivan. During the second half of the summer, he served as an Executive Intern with the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office, where he conducted research regarding Sixth Amendment issues within Miami-Dade’s misdemeanor courts. He was also a Summer Research Associate with the Anti-Defamation League. As a 2L, Josh served as a Dean’s Fellow for Professor Irwin Stotzky’s 1L Elements course, and as an intern in the Health Rights Clinic. He was also elected Editor-in-Chief of the University of Miami Law Review, a position he will hold during his 3L year. During his 2L summer, Josh worked at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Cleveland, Ohio in the areas of corporate, litigation, education, and patent law.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Sarah McConnell graduated from the University of Florida in May 2015, with a B.A. in English. She was on the Dean’s List and a member of an International English Honor Society. She previously attended George Washington University, where she was a member of the Honors Program and the Dean’s List. She was also involved with GWU Invisible Children and College Democrats. During the summer of 2010, Sarah interned with Project Vote Smart in Montana whose mission is to increase the accessibility of free, unbiased information about local and national political candidates. Her work included researching political candidates in order to promote transparency in the political process. As an intern with No Labels, a Washington, DC agency focused on government accountability, she worked to mobilize citizens and government officials in the interest of bipartisanship. Both of these internships have highlighted the importance of equal access. In 2012 and 2013, Sarah served as a Press and Events Intern with Dewdrop DC, a Washington, DC agency offering a platform for local charitable organizations to emphasize sustainability. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, she was a legal intern with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Miami District Office. During her 2L year, she completed an externship at the National Labor Relations Board in Miami, and she served as an intern with Southern Legal Counsel during her 2L summer. She is a member of the Race and Social Justice Law Review and will serve as an Article & Comments Editor during her 3L year.
Haley Moss graduated from the University of Florida in May 2015 with a B.A. in Criminology & Law, a B.S. in Psychology, and a minor in Disabilities in Society. She was in the Honors Program and was an Anderson Scholar. She served in the UF Student Government Cabinet and received the Gators of Tomorrow Award. Haley has written two books and many articles about her experiences with autism and is committed to furthering awareness and education in order to help disabled individuals and their families. In July 2016, Haley received the BlogHer Voices of the Year Award for her writing on autism in The Huffington Post. In January 2017, Haley illustrated the cover of and contributed an essay to the anthology What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew, which won the Dr. Temple Grandin Award for Outstanding Literary Work of the Year from the Autism Society of America in July 2017. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, Haley interned for a legal advocacy center for people with disabilities and, as a 2L, she served as an intern with the Honorable Vance E. Salter at Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. She also served as a Burton Young Fellow in Miami-Dade’s Family Court and participated in the Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program (PREP). Haley spent her 2L summer as a law clerk at Zumpano Patricios & Winker, P.A. She is a member of the Honor Council and the Public Interest Leadership Board. During her 3L year, she is serving as President of the Child Advocacy & Family Law Society, Secretary of the Society of Bar & Gavel, the Chief Notes & Comments Editor for the Race & Social Justice Law Review, and a PREP Fellow.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Nicole Portnov graduated from Boston College in 2007 with a B.A. in International Studies. While at Boston College, she held leadership positions in a number of public service and mentoring organizations. She organized service trips to New Orleans and Bosnia in 2007 and 2011, respectively. After earning an M.A. in Education from Hunter College in 2011 she taught social sciences in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan. Before beginning law school she was also an editor and contributor at policymic.com, and a volunteer docent with the Museum of Tolerance in New York. In 2015, she helped start the New York City chapter of Days for Girls International, an organization dedicated to providing sustainable sanitary products and health education to women around the world. At Miami Law, she has served as President of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, Executive Editor of the International and Comparative Law Review, and Fundraising Chair for the Public Interest Leadership Board. During her 1L summer, she was a legal fellow at the University of Maryland SAFE Center for Survivors of Human Trafficking where she did legal and policy research, and client intake. As a 2L, she served as an intern with the Health Rights Clinic and also volunteered with the ACLU of Florida, working on reproductive rights issues. During her 2L summer, she interned as a HOPE Fellow with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations in Washington, DC.
Carli Raben graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in May 2011 with a B.A. in History and a focus on Race and Gender in America. While at Berkeley, she served as a Peer Educator for the Gender Equity Resource Center. She developed original programming on prevention of sexual violence and stalking and presented workshops to campus organizations. During the summer of 2010, she worked in the Washington, DC office of Florida Representative Ted Deutch. She handled constituent issues, represented the congressman at briefings, and wrote a speech delivered on his behalf for Florida’s Democratic LGBT summer caucus. Upon graduating from Berkeley, Carli spent four years teaching at a public school in the Greater New Orleans area. As a Special Education Case Manager, she created, implemented, and oversaw the individualized education plans for 12 students with disabilities, and worked with counselors, teachers, administrators, and parents. During her 1L summer at Miami law, Carli served as an Ella Baker Fellow and a HOPE Fellow at the Community Justice Project in Miami. She attended protests planned by the Dream Defenders and Black Lives Matter Alliance as a legal observer. During her 2L year, she served as a legal intern in the Environmental Justice Clinic as part of their Housing Justice and Municipal Equity campaigns. She spent her 2L summer back in New Orleans at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, a non-profit law firm that provides public defense for indigent youth and advocates for policies aimed at decarcerating the youth of Louisiana. As a 3L, she is serving as an extern at the Florida Justice Institute working on civil rights litigation in the area of prisoner’s rights. She is a member of the Public Interest Leadership Board.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Blaine Remmick graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in December 2011. He participated in various Honors Programs, was on the Dean’s List and Chancellor’s List, received a number of scholarships, and was the Outstanding College of Business Administration Economics Major for 2011-2012. He served as a UNO volunteer tutor, a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the Obama Administration. Since 2010, Blaine worked with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, first as an intern and then as a full-time economist. He worked on issues such as flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, water control, environmental quality, and social justice. He also served on the executive board of Year of the Start Up, a non-profit that selects entrepreneurs to live in a communal house and assists them with getting their businesses started while saving capital. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, Blaine interned with the Honorable Darrin P. Gayles for the District Court of the Southern District of Florida. During law school, Blaine has been a member of the Public Interest Leadership Board, the Society of Bar and Gavel, Phi Alpha Delta, the Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division Law Student Division, the Investor Rights Clinic, and is currently the 11th Circuit Editor for the University of Miami Law Review. During his 2L summer, Blaine worked as a summer associate for Bressler, Amery, & Ross in its Securities Defense group.
Christina Robinson graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami in 2013, with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, received the President’s Scholarship, and was on the President’s and Provost’s Honor Rolls. While at Miami, Christina directed the LGBT portion of Tunnel of Oppression, an experiential program designed to challenge perceptions of oppression, discrimination, and hatred, and led a group of undergraduate students on an alternative break to New York City to volunteer with the Trevor Project, a national youth suicide prevention program. As a 1L at Miami Law, Christina was elected to the Miami Law Honor Council and was tapped into the Society of Bar & Gavel. Christina spent her 1L summer as a legal intern at The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Practice in New York working alongside the DNA Unit, where she copresented a CLE on the fundamentals of DNA testing. During her 2L year, she interned with the ACLU of Florida’s LGBTQ advocacy division, where she fought to provide a transgender prisoner with access to medically necessary hormone therapy. The following semester Christina interned with the Children and Youth Law Clinic, where she helped write a supplemental brief to the Third District Court of Appeals in Florida. During her 2L summer, she was a HOPE Fellow and legal intern in New York City with Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the nation. As 3L, Christina is serving as the Writing Competition Editor of the Race and Social Justice Law Review, President of OUTLaw, and the Vice-Chair of Mentoring for the Public Interest Leadership Board.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2018
Ashley Gomez-Rodon earned her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida in 2011 with a major in Marketing and a minor in English. She was a Florida Academic Scholar and a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. During college, she served on the Women’s Leadership Council and was Director of the Film Committee for Reitz Union Board Entertainment. She was also Vice-President and Marketing Director for Student Upstart Films, a student organization dedicated to helping its members create films. She also spent time as a research assistant for topics covering franchise law and a teaching assistant for a Legal Environment in Business course. Following graduation, Ashley joined Teach for America and taught high school math for three years at North Miami Senior High School. She created a curriculum derived from data of past student deficiencies and led students who never experienced success on exams to levels of proficiency on Florida’s standardized testing. She has also volunteered with the Guardian ad Litem program. Prior to law school, Ashley worked as a litigation assistant with a family law firm in Austin, Texas. As a 2L at Miami Law, she interned with the Children and Youth Law Clinic where she helped represent juveniles in the foster care system. She also taught 9th and 11th graders lessons on criminal procedure and human rights through Miami’s STREET Law program. During her 2L summer, she was as a summer associate with Cozen O’Connor in Miami. As a 3L, she is serving as an Executive Editor for the University of Miami Law Review and a member of Honor Council.
Carly Starkey graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University in May 2013 with a B.S.W. in social work and earned an M.S.W. in social work from Florida State in August 2014. While in Tallahassee, she worked as a social worker with homeless children and volunteered at an elementary school where she tutored at-risk students. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she became a researcher with the Florida Center for Reading Research where she assessed children with developmental disabilities to gather research data and help with the exploration of new teaching strategies. While in graduate school, she interned with the Institute for Family Violence Studies, assisting with research, writing, and developing trainings on domestic violence and sexual assault for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, and the legal community. Upon receiving her master’s degree, she became Project Coordinator, and developed and implemented trainings, worked on proposals to encourage policy changes, and engaged in fundraising to further the goals of ending family violence. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, Carly interned with the ACLU of Florida, where she advocated for transgender rights and criminal justice reform. As a 2L, she fueled her advocacy efforts into class action litigation and community organizing work with the Environmental Justice Clinic. During her 2L summer, she advocated for systemic changes to ensure gender equity as a HOPE Fellow and law clerk at Equal Rights Advocates, a women’s rights legal nonprofit in San Francisco. As a 3L, she is serving as a Fellow with the Environmental Justice Clinic and a research assistant with Professor Donna Coker, whose scholarship focuses on criminal law, gender and inequality.
The Miami Scholars Program is the reason I came to Miami Law, and has been the best part of my law school experience. The program provides a unique opportunity to connect with other law students and attorneys who share my passion for lawyering for the greater good. Being a Miami Scholar has afforded me the opportunity to pursue work in my area of interest, fighting for the rights of those who have been systematically oppressed. The Miami Scholars network provided a strong base of support in getting through the academic rigors of the first year of law school, and continues to provide an amazing array of opportunities to gain legal experience doing work that is important to me. Without the Miami Scholars Program, my law school career would be fundamentally different and much less fulfilling.
~Ian Bertschausen, Class of 2018
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019
Paige Bettge graduated magna cum laude from the College of William & Mary in May 2016 with a B.S. in Psychology and Philosophy. She was a member of the Dean’s List and the Psi Chi Honor Society. During the spring of 2015, she studied abroad in Adelaide, Australia. While in college, she had a leadership role with Students for Animals, and served as Sustainability Intern for dining services to promote sustainable and ethical food choices on campus. Paige was also a member of the Counseling Center Student Advisory Committee and a mentor to residents at a juvenile detention center. During the summer of 2014, she served as a fellow with the Campaign for Youth Justice, a non-profit dedicated to ending youth being criminally charged as adults, where she coordinated outreach and materials for Youth Justice Awareness Month. The following summer she worked with the Humane Society of the United States as a Farm Animal Protection public policy intern where she researched legal issues, drafted materials, and worked on campaign strategies for a 2016 ballot initiative. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, Paige worked on legal issues affecting farm animals as an intern with Compassion Over Killing. As a 2L, she is serving as an extern with the Florida Justice Institute, a public interest civil rights law firm, and a member of the Children and Youth Law Clinic. She is a member of the University of Miami Law Review.
Cecilia Criddle graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish in 2016. She was recipient of the Barnard Excellence Merit Scholarship and a reporter for the student newspaper. She studied abroad in Córdoba, Argentina during the spring of 2015 in order to conduct research for her thesis, A Comparative Study of New Indigenous Movements in Bolivia and Argentina. During college, Cecilia taught Spanish as a volunteer at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Lafayette County. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, Cecilia worked with Midsouth Immigration Advocacy in Memphis, TN, a local non-profit which represents victims of violence and abuse in the jurisdiction of the Midsouth Immigration Court. As a 2L, she is participating in the Immigration Clinic and the Race and Social Justice Law Review.
YADIRYS COLLADO GARCIA
Yadirys Collado Garcia graduated from Boston University in May 2014 with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. She was a member of the Dean’s List and winner of a Capstone Research Project. She served as a residential house leader, an assistant in the Alumni Office, a tutor in the Writing Center, and an alternative spring break coordinator. From 2011 to 2014, Yadirys worked as the Hispanic Liaison for State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez in Boston. She also served as an interpreter/translator for Greater Boston Legal Services where she assisted clients with documentation and in preparation for hearings. Following graduation, Yadirys worked as an interviewer with the Spanish in Boston Project, assisting with interviews and data collection to understand how Spanish is used in the greater Boston area. In May 2014, she began working as a research analyst with the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health. As a 1L at Miami Law, Yadirys worked with RAICES, a non-profit agency assisting immigrant
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019 families. During her 1L summer, she interned in the legal services department of The Door, an agency in New York City that provides comprehensive youth development services and assists unaccompanied minors with immigration matters. As a 2L, Yadirys is participating in the Health Rights Clinic and is the Events and Advocacy Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association UM student chapter.
Adrienne Harreveld is a May 2014 graduate of Duke University, where she majored in History, minored in Political Science, and received a certificate in Documentary Studies. While at Duke, she served as an intern with the Office of Civic Engagement, a research assistant with the Departments of Political Science and Public Policy, and a columnist with the school newspaper. She also held leadership roles with Duke Students for a Democratic Society and College Democrats of North Carolina. In 2012, she received the College Democrats of America Rising Star of the Year and the Duke University Advocacy Award, given to the most outstanding campus activist. During the summer of 2013, she served as an economic affairs intern with the U.S. Department of State in Paris. Following graduation, Adrienne helped to found the Durham Living Wage Project, a voluntary living wage certification program for local businesses, and began working as a research coordinator with Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and UNC’s Initiative on Poverty and Inequality. She has also done work for the Institute for Policy Studies’ Black Worker Initiative and served as program coordinator for Duke’s Samuel Du Bois Cook Center on Social Equity. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, Adrienne worked on housing rights and prisoners’ rights cases at the Florida Justice Institute. As a 2L, she is taking part in the Environmental Justice Clinic, serving as an extern with the Community Justice Project, and is a member of the Race and Social Justice Law Review.
Nicole McLemore graduated cum laude in May 2016 from Florida State University with a B.S. in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Social Science. She earned certificates in Political Science Research and in Emergency Management & Homeland Security and was a member of multiple honor societies. She volunteered as a student advocate for FSU Day at the Capitol, as Vice President of the FSU Women in Pre-Law Society, and as an undergraduate representative for the ACLU chapter at the FSU College of Law. She was also a research intern in the Political Science Department. Beginning in 2012, Nicole worked as a bankruptcy assistant and file clerk with a Tallahassee law firm. She also volunteered with the Guardian ad Litem Program in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit, where she was appointed by the Court to advocate for the best interest of children in dependency cases. During her 1L year at Miami Law, Nicole was inducted into the Society of Bar and Gavel. She was also elected to serve on the University’s Honor Council. During her 1L summer, she interned at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Legal Unit in New York City. There she assisted trial attorneys representing the agency and its claimants in employment litigation pending in federal courts. As a 2L, Nicole is serving as President for the ACLU-UM Chapter. She is also active in the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, where she currently serves as Law School Liaison for its 2017-2018 Executive Board. Nicole is working as a judicial intern for a federal magistrate judge during the fall of her 2L year.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019
Douglas Morales graduated from Hunter College, City University of New York, in June 2016. He majored in Political Science and Women & Gender Studies. He was a member of the Dean’s List and the Pre-Law Society and was the recipient of the Mark Ladner and Julie Ross Public Interest Fellowship for Public Interest Law. During the summer of 2014, Douglas was a public affairs intern with Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast. There he worked with the organization’s lobbyist and supported political endorsements through research, data analysis, event planning, and fundraising. During the summer of 2015, Douglas served as a City Commission Intern with the City of West Palm Beach, working directly with Commissioner Paula Ryan. He attended meetings with non-profits and other advocacy organizations and assisted with projects aimed at uplifting vulnerable citizens. Douglas was part of the intern program at Hillary for America. He worked in the campaign management department at Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. He served as a liaison for the management department and helped prepare research, allot expenses, and supervise fundraising events. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, Douglas worked at the City Attorney’s Office for the City of Miami Beach. His work concentrated on the various legal issues surrounding the city’s land use and zoning decisions. As a 2L, Douglas is participating in the Health Rights Clinic.
Daniel Pollitt graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2013. He majored in American Studies and minored in History. While at UNC, he participated in the study abroad program and served as a legal intern with a local law firm, a student recruiting coordinator for the football team, and a media intern with a local radio station and website. Following graduation, Daniel joined the Mississippi Teacher Corps, serving as the sixth grade math teacher and head basketball coach in a critical needs school in the Mississippi Delta. While teaching, he started a book donation program for the school library and a gifted student identification program. He also served as an afterschool math tutor, a mentor for gifted students, and a team teacher for incoming teacher corps members. In May 2015, he received an M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Mississippi. In the fall of 2015, he began working for Harlem R.B.I., a New York City program that provides academic and sports opportunities to inner city youth. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, Daniel served as a legal intern in New York City with the Legal Aid Society's Harlem Community Law Office. He was a member of the General Housing Unit and represented lowincome tenants facing eviction in Housing Court. As a 2L, Daniel is participating in the Environmental Justice Clinic and STREET Law programs.
Mukiya Post graduated from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in May 2016 with a B.A. in History. He was a member of the varsity basketball team and received numerous honors for both his academic and athletic performance, including an Academic All-Canadian Award and regional and provincewide awards for his leadership on and off the court. In 2012, Mukiya founded Pass the Ball Foundation, a non-profit
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019 organization focused on collecting and providing sports equipment to underprivileged youth in Jamaica. He was motivated to start this project because of his experiences growing up there. He also served as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, acting as a mentor and role model for a “little brother” since 2013, and coached and taught basketball skills to local children in Montreal.
David Pringle received a B.S. degree from Florida State University in 2010. He majored in Political Science, History, and Interdisciplinary Social Science and minored in Political Philosophy. He was a member of the Dean’s List and held a number of leadership roles on campus. Following graduation, David joined the Direct Action Research Training Network as an organizer trainee in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked with local churches to unite them around the interfaith ideas of social and economic justice. In 2012, he joined the Fund for the Public Interest, working on campaigns to end subsidies to big oil, fund land protection legislation, and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on behalf of the LGBT community. In 2013, he became a Program Manager for City Year Miami, where he worked with at-risk youth in under-resourced public schools. He supervised AmeriCorps members in local middle schools and trained them to serve as mentors and tutors. In 2015, he was recognized as an Outstanding Community Partner Liaison by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. After City Year, he served as an Executive Intern at the Office of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender, working on research and policy analysis. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, David served as an intern with the Southern Poverty Law Center, working on criminal justice reform in Jackson, Mississippi. As a 2L, he is serving as Co-Chair of the Public Interest Leadership Board’s Legal Advocacy Committee, Community Outreach Director for the Miami Law Chapter of the ACLU, and as a 2L Senator of the Student Bar Association where he serves as Chair of the Public Interest Committee. During the fall of his 2L year, he is working with the Community Justice Project and will be joining the Immigration Clinic in the Spring of 2018.
MALIK THURGOOD RAMELIZE
Malik Thurgood Ramelize graduated cum laude from Florida Atlantic University in May 2015 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the College of Design and Social Inquiry. Following graduation, he joined the Broward County Office of the Public Defender as a legal intern, where he worked on a variety of cases including death penalty and juvenile matters, as well as sex crimes mitigation. Upon entering law school, Malik revived the Criminal Law Society and now serves as its Vice-President. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Miami Law Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and was inducted into the Society of Bar and Gavel. He has served as a mentor for the Empowered Youth Program, which helps young people learn the fundamentals to success inside and outside the classroom, and volunteered at local Sealing and Expungement events. During his 1L summer, Malik worked as a legal intern for the Palm Beach County Office of the Public Defender. As a 2L, he is participating in the Innocence Clinic and the STREET Law Program. He was recently awarded the Thomas S. Wilson, Jr. Scholarship, given to minority students who have shown a strong dedication to social justice and public interest.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019
Candelario Saldana graduated from the University of Utah with B.A. degrees in Political Science and Gender Studies. He was on the Dean’s List and a member of numerous academic honor societies. While at Utah, he took part in many community service activities on campus and held several leadership roles within the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center. He organized monthly service projects for students as part of the Freshman Service Corp. As Social Justice Coordinator, he trained student program directors and supervised their work with community agencies serving underprivileged populations such as the homeless. As Campus AIDS Project Director, he designed and implemented awareness campaigns, organized speaker events, and oversaw successful fundraising efforts. He also served as Fundraising Chair and Vice President of Public Affairs for the LGBTQ organization on campus. During his 1L year at Miami Law, Candelario participated in an alternative spring break program at the Mississippi Center for Justice in Jackson, MS, working on immigration and food stamp issues affecting the community. During his 1L summer, he was a legal intern at New York Legal Aid’s Immigration Unit, working with unaccompanied minors seeking immigration relief. As a 2L, he is participating in the Immigration Clinic and serving on the Race and Social Justice Law Review, International Moot Court, and as Social Chair of OUTLaw.
Katrina Tomas graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2016 with a B.A. in Art History, focusing on feminist performance art and urban architecture. Throughout her time at Penn, she was on the Dean’s List, served as a Residential Assistant, and was an active member of the Penn Dance Company. Her passion for environmental justice began at Penn, assisting doctors in clinics addressing the public health concerns that arose from lack of sanitation and access to clean water in impoverished communities in Peru. At Penn, she also conducted research on the eco-sustainability of slum dwellings and the accessibility of clean water in poor urban environments. As a 1L at Miami Law, Katrina served as a research assistant with Miami Waterkeeper. During her 1L summer, she worked as an environmental law program intern at the Sierra Club in their Oakland, CA headquarters where she helped attorneys draft litigation documents to shutdown natural gas pipelines and enforce sustainable energy regulation policies. As a 2L, she is serving as the President of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Community Outreach Chair for the Environmental Law Society. Katrina is also a member of the Public Interest Leadership Board, the Society of Bar and Gavel, and the University of Miami Law Review. During the fall of her 2L year, Katrina is working as a legal extern for Earthjustice in their Miami office.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019
Thomas Voracek graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland as a Banneker-Key Scholar in May 2016 with Bachelorâ€şs degrees in Womenâ€şs Studies, History, and Central European, Russian, & Eurasian Studies. As an undergrad, Thomas studied abroad in Trinidad & Tobago, Russia, London, and Australia, led an alternative break service trip to Knoxville, TN, focusing on domestic violence issues, and served as a Community Advocate for the University Student Judiciary, investigating and presenting cases of academic and behavioral misconduct to the University Student Judiciary. During the summer of 2015, Thomas worked as an investigative intern with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. During his 1L year at Miami Law, Thomas participated in an alternative spring break trip to Jackson, MS, working with the Mississippi Center for Justice. During his 1L summer, he worked as a legal intern with the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. He wrote several pleadings, helped prepare cases for trial, and wrote an appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also served as a research assistant for Professor Donna Coker. As a 2L, Thomas is participating in the Health Rights Clinic and the Race & Social Justice Law Review.
The Miami Scholars Program has given me a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact with a strong network of intelligent and forward-thinking individuals while effectuating social change in a wide variety of legal disciplines. The Miami Scholars Program was integral to my decision to attend the University of Miami and since joining I have been welcomed with a sense kindness and respect that has made my law school experience both fun and rewarding.
~Malik T. Ramelize, Class of 2019
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
Olivia Barket graduated from the University of Florida in May 2014 with a B.S. in Business Administration/Finance. She was recognized as one of three Outstanding Female Student Leaders and was both a Reitz Scholar and a Warrington Finance Scholar. She was inducted into the UF Hall of Fame and was a member of the Deanâ€™s List, the Golden Key Honor Society, and Florida Leadership Academy. She also served as chair of the Florida Blue Key Speech and Debate Tournament. During the summer of 2012, Olivia served as a congressional intern in Washington, DC and began working with the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, where she continued to work as an advance associate through early 2014. In this role, Olivia traveled to set up events and manage logistics for the office. She then took on the same role with the Office of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After a stint as a Federal Practice Analyst with Deloitte Consulting, Olivia joined Hillary for America in 2015. She served as Travel Coordinator, Federal Election Commission Reporting Specialist, and Deputy Federal Election Commission Reporting Director, working with legal counsel to ensure compliance with FEC Rules and Regulations. Olivia is passionate about working with foster youth and created a program in college to assist teenagers who were aging out of the system. She hopes to use her legal education to continue her advocacy for children and families.
Caitlyn Burnitis graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida in May 2017 with a B.S. in Telecommunications and a minor in Non-Profit Organizational Management. While in college, she volunteered with the University of Florida Student Legal Services, served as Vice President of Gators Against Human Trafficking for two years, and was a member of the PreLegal Honor Society, the University Minority Mentorship Program, and Christian Campus House. She worked as a television and radio reporter for the university stations throughout her time in college and also co-led a research project on the social media strategies of philanthropic student organizations. During her junior and senior years, Caitlyn served as an intern with Southern Legal Counsel, where she conducted legal research for the agencyâ€™s landmark education case Citizens for Strong Schools, Inc. vs. State Board of Education, which alleged that the state of Florida did not provide fair and adequate education to all its students. Caitlyn hopes to use her legal education to combat human trafficking and continue her advocacy in the area of human rights.
Stephen Davis graduated cum laude from the University of Florida in May 2014 with a B.S. in Telecommunication and a B.A. in Political Science. He was a Public Leadership Graduate of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and served as supervisor of student government elections and chair of the Recreational Sports Board. From 2008-2011, he held multiple positions with the Office of U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch, attending daily briefings, conducting policy research and analysis, and engaging in constituent relations. He also worked with the Obama for America and Mark Warner for U.S. Senate campaigns. Following graduation
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020 and a stint as a consultant in the Washington, DC area, Stephen joined Hillary for America as an Advance Site Lead. He traveled nationally to plan and carry out public press events for the campaign, serving as point of contact for large rallies, town hall meetings and other media events. Stephen has dedicated many hours to The Taylor Hooton Foundation, an organization that educates young athletes about the risks associated with performance-enhancing drug use. He researched policies and standards for health education in youth sports leagues, wrote a new policy, and successfully lobbied Broward County officials to implement it. This experience sparked his interest in public service and he hopes to use his law degree to continue to shape policy through his leadership and advocacy.
Amelia Daynes graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah in May 2015 with a B.A. in Economics. She was a Deanâ€™s Scholarship Recipient, a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society, a student assistant to the Director of Corporate Giving, and a member of the Womenâ€™s Lacrosse Team. In 2012, she traveled to Guatemala to volunteer with Story International, Inc., where she helped supervise a school construction project, taught English to children in an orphanage, managed donor communications, and participated in the creation of a community garden. Amelia also served as a volunteer teacher with LA County Juvenile Camps, tutoring and planning special events for young men incarcerated at a camp in Calabasas, CA. Beginning in 2015, she served as the junior varsity head coach of the Judge Memorial Catholic High School Girls Lacrosse Team, where she assisted in managing all aspects of the program. She hopes to use her law degree to pursue a career as a public defender.
Maia Dombey graduated from New York University in December 2016 with a B.S. in Journalism and Political Science. While at NYU, she received a Bronfman Center Jewish Learning Fellowship, served as communications liaison between campus activists and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and was president of TorchPac, an NYU advocacy organization focusing on Pro-Israel activism and the relationship between Israel and the United States. During the summer of 2015, she served as an intern with AIPAC in Ft. Lauderdale, where she developed political activism skills by bringing research, writing, and event-planning experience to a host of projects. In 2016, Maia began working with United Nations Watch, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations. She reported on UN Human Rights Council procedures, attended council sessions, conducted research on international human rights, and presented a statement to the UN Human Rights Council. She hopes to use her law degree to advocate for those facing human rights injustices around the world.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
Hawwi Edao graduated from the University of Miami in May 2017 with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Business Law and Health Sector Management & Policy. She received a number of academic scholarships, was a member of the Presidentâ€™s List and the Deanâ€™s List, and was named as a Civic Scholar through the Butler Center for Leadership & Service. She served as a resident assistant on campus, a student assistant with the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center at the School of Law, and a leader in Student Orientation and the College Council. While in college, Hawwi participated in numerous community service projects: the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative, assisting low-income residents of West Coconut Grove; the Portland Oromo Community Association, serving the Ethiopian community in Portland, OR; Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees; Switchboard Miami; and an adult home care facility in Portland. Along with her father, she started It Takes a Village Charity to collect school supplies, clothes, and toys for children in Ethiopia. During her junior year, she took part in a Mass Incarceration and Immigration Detention course, which led to her involvement with a comprehensive research project and national exhibit that explored the effects of mass incarceration throughout the history of the United States. Hawwi hopes to use her law degree to promote health equity through protection of health rights for vulnerable populations, including immigrants and the elderly.
Wifredo Fernandez graduated from The University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in International Relations. He was co-founder of the University Council of The Cuban American National Foundation and a member of the varsity football team. Following graduation, he joined Teach for America in Washington, DC and, in 2011, received a Master of Arts in Teaching from American University. In 2012, Wifredo co-founded The LAB Miami, a central hub for startups in the area. He and his team turned a warehouse into a collaborative campus, creating an organization which has advised over 100 local startups on product development and strategy and has produced over 300 events with over 40,000 participants. In 2012, he also joined Miami-Dade College as founding director of the Center for Research and Transformational Entrepreneurship and, in 2015, became the associate director of the Office of Innovation & Economic Development at Florida International University. He holds a leadership role with OurKids of Miami-Dade and Monroe, an agency that coordinates services for children in the dependency system, co-founded the Teach for America Startup Program, and has been involved with the Center for Ethics and Public Service at Miami Law. Wifredo has participated in many speaking engagements and panel discussions regarding his community involvement and hopes to use his law degree to continue his work at the intersection of entrepreneurial and civic leadership.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
Gianna Fina graduated from the University of Florida in May 2017 with a B.A. in Criminology and Political Science. She was a Florida Medallion Scholar and a member of the Pre-Legal Honor Society and the Criminology & Law Honor Society. Prior to entering the University of Florida, Gianna served as a judicial intern with the Honorable Beatrice Butchko in the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami. She shadowed the judge during all phases of litigation and assisted with case files and correspondence. During the summers of 2015 and 2016, she worked as an intern with the Office of the State Attorney in Miami-Dade County. She took part in witness interviews and depositions, attended trials, and participated in visits to the medical examinerâ€™s office, crime scenes, and the forensics lab. She also worked as a campaign intern for a local election during the summer of 2014. Gianna hopes to use her law degree to promote fairness in the criminal justice system.
Taylor Fox graduated from Tulane University in May 2016 with a B.A., magna cum laude, in Philosophy/Gender & Sexuality Studies. She participated in the Danish Institute of Study Abroad and received various scholarships to fund her public service internship, thesis research, and study abroad program. Her Honors Thesis addressed how poverty shapes the concept of choice for homeless youth in the sex trade. While at Tulane, Taylor worked as an intern with the Domestic Violence Department of New Orleans City Hall, where she collected crime data and created a report used to reduce gun violence. She later worked with the Justice and Accountability Center in New Orleans, where she developed a list of resources for women re-entering society after incarceration. During her final year at Tulane, Taylor was a research assistant with the Modern Slavery Research Project. She conducted, transcribed, and coded interviews with homeless youth. Data from the project was used to make recommendations to Covenant House and in a White House briefing on homeless youth. Taylor also volunteered with Eden House, an agency that provides services to women who have survived human and sex trafficking. She hopes to use her law degree to continue her advocacy for women and their families.
Damian Gonzalez graduated from the University of Florida, cum laude, in May 2016 with a B.S. in Journalism and a B.A. in Political Science. He was a UF Hall of Fame Recipient and a J. Wayne Reitz Scholar. He served as co-president of Pride Student Union and was responsible for supporting, educating, and highlighting LGBT issues on campus and in the Gainesville area. He managed the largest student-run LGBT Awareness Month in the nation and organized a statewide LGBT conference. With the help of the Alachua Migrant Education Program, he established the first executive board for Libros de Familia, an organization that matches UF students with undocumented migrant families to foster literacy among children. He also served as a communications and development intern for Southern Legal Counsel, a non-profit public interest law firm that focuses on the ideal of equal justice through systemic reform. He crafted press releases, wrote articles, and assisted the development team.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020 He later worked as a print editor and journalist for The Fine Print, where he educated readers on issues such as gentrification and racial inequality in Gainesville. Following graduation, Damian has worked as an English Learning Specialist at Palm Beach State College. He assisted with management of the supplemental tutoring program within the Student Learning Center English Writing Lab and worked with students who were struggling with reading skills. He hopes to use his law degree to speak for those whose voices have been silenced or forgotten.
Hannah Gordon graduated from Colgate University in May 2012 with a B.A. in Peace & Conflict Studies and Caribbean Studies. While at Colgate, she studied abroad in Jamaica and tutored English Language Learners at a refugee center in Utica, NY. Following graduation, she spent a year with the AmeriCorps Community Technology Project in St. Paul, Minnesota. She served as the Digital Education Coordinator at the Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning, where she ran a computer lab for adult learners. Many of her students were immigrants and refugees. While in Minnesota, she also participated in a program called College House, which was part of the organization Project for Pride in Living. She lived in a house owned by the program and mentored children living in low-income housing across the street. In 2013, Hannah returned to Colgate to work as a program assistant with the department of Africana and Latin American Studies. Beginning in March 2015, she worked as an English teacher in Honduras, where she taught middle school during the day and adult English classes in the evenings. Her experiences in Honduras shaped her interest in immigration and human rights issues, and she hopes to use her law degree to continue her commitment to this work.
Brittany Herbert graduated summa cum laude from The State University of New York at Buffalo in May 2017 with a B.A. in Social Sciences-Interdisciplinary and African-American Studies, with a concentration in Legal Studies. She was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, on the Deanâ€™s List, and an active member of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. She completed an honors thesis entitled The State-Sponsored House-to-Prison Pipeline: A Criminological Analysis of Public Housing and Its Contribution to the Prison Industrial Complex. During the spring of 2015, Brittany worked with SKIP of New York, an agency that provides respite services for children with disabilities. She later served as an afterschool programs volunteer with Seneca Street Community Development Corporation, a non-profit agency that provides services to one of Buffaloâ€™s underserved communities, and worked with atrisk youth as a volunteer with West Side Community Services. During the fall of 2016, she completed a federal judicial internship with the United States District Court for the Western District of New York as part of a university class. Beginning in May 2015, she worked as a legal assistant for a law firm in Buffalo. Brittany hopes to use her law degree to work in the areas of civil rights or criminal defense.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
Julie Hochsztein graduated with honors from the University of Florida in May 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science, Economics, and Sociology and a minor in History. She was awarded the Bob Graham Center for Public Service Certificate in Public Leadership. Julie received her Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2011. While at UNC, she conducted research on citizens’ academies and prepared her findings for a thesis entitled Citizens’ Academies: A Tool for Increasing Civil Engagement. In 2010, she began working with the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer and later became a policy analyst with the Retirement Services Division. She then joined the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a data analyst, where she managed Unique Identification Systems for schools and coordinated data collection for the Office of Civil Rights. In 2013, Julie became a research analyst with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and most recently worked as an independent contractor conducting data analysis for governmental and private entities. She also served as a precinct official with the Wake County Board of Elections since 2013. Julie hopes to use her law degree to advocate for government and election reform.
Alli Katzen graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science. She participated in the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, a competitive leadership program focused on writing and the arts, and studied abroad in Seville, Spain. While at Michigan, she served as a tutor with the Detroit Initiative/Latino Family Services. She also volunteered with Project Outreach at the Washtenaw County Jail Women’s Unit, where she led educational programming for inmates to prepare them for successful reentry into society. She was also a member of She’s the First Club, raising funds for girls in developing nations to be the first in their families to attend secondary school. During the summer of 2014, she served as an intern for Congressman Joe Garcia of Florida in his Washington, DC office. Following graduation, Alli became a paralegal at a firm in Washington, DC that specializes in food and drug legislation. She also volunteered with Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources, where she co-facilitated a weekly court-mandated program for men on probation for domestic violence charges. Alli hopes to use her law degree to give a strong voice to those who have been silenced.
Nina Lincoff graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Journalism in May 2012. During her senior year, she served as an investigative reporting intern for the Chicago Innocence Project, working with a team to gather information on a case of wrongful conviction. She also worked as a reporter in Washington, DC and an editorial intern in Los Angeles while in college. Following graduation, she held various positions in journalism, including with Martha Stewart Living, Linkwell Health, and Healthline. In November 2013, she relocated to Miami to join Miami Today as a reporter. She wrote stories on Miami environmental policy, healthcare, emerging tech, government, real estate, and business. Beginning in November 2014, she joined the
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020 South Florida Business Journal, reporting on banking, finance and insurance issues in Miami. Her work on the City of Miami’s cases against two banks, alleging that the banks engaged in predatory and discriminatory lending to minorities, influenced her decision to attend law school. She hopes to use her law degree to transition from serving the public through investigative journalism to engaging in advocacy for those who need a voice.
Theodore O’Brien graduated from the University of Oregon in May 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science. During his freshman year of college, he became the first employee hired by The Family Office Club, a fledgling conference provider and wealth management association. As marketing manager, he oversaw all marketing activities, developed original content, edited several books, and organized investment conferences. During his senior year, he interned with U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, where he assisted constituents dealing with Medicare and Medicaid issues. Upon graduation, he assumed the role of Managing Director at The Family Office Club, handling day-to-day operations and continuing to expand the conference business. In 2013, he earned his securities licenses and launched an investment division, performing investment due diligence and advising institutional investors on private company acquisitions. Since 2016, Theo has also served as Political Director of the Downtown Democrats, a political organization in Miami that supports progressive candidates and encourages civic engagement. He hopes to use his past business experience and his law degree to prevent financial crimes and advocate for the economically disadvantaged.
Nicholas Sconzo graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami in May 2017 with a B.A. in Criminology, Psychology, and Spanish. He wrote his honors thesis on the underlying causes of gang violence in Miami. He was a member of the Order of Omega Honor Society and the Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society in Criminal Justice. He participated in numerous philanthropic activities on campus, including events to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and the Special Olympics. During the fall of 2015, Nicholas served as a legal intern with the Office of the MiamiDade State Attorney, assisting with projects in the Insurance Fraud, Gang Violence, and Media Departments. While at the State Attorney’s Office, he also participated in volunteer events for Kristi House, a non-profit dedicated to healing and eradicating sexual abuse. During the fall of 2016, he was a legal intern with Catholic Charities Legal Services, where he translated and drafted documents and performed research for immigration cases. During 2016, he worked as a legal intern with a private firm in Palm Beach Gardens. Nicholas hopes to use his law degree to be a voice for those who cannot be heard.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
Madeline Seales graduated from Amherst College in May 2009 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and concentrations in Political Science, Sociology, and Black Studies. Following graduation, she moved to California for three years to pursue an acting career. In 2012, she joined the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the agency’s Seattle office. While in Seattle, she also served as a CourtWatch Monitor for the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. In 2014, she moved to IRC’s New York location, where she began as an Immigration Legal Intern and later worked as an Immigration Caseworker. She engaged in direct client services and was responsible for communicating with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services and the National Visa Center on behalf of clients. In January 2016, Madeline began working as an Immigration Case Manager with BronxWorks, Inc., a non-profit agency that helps individuals and families improve their economic and social well-being through food, shelter, education, and other support. She screened clients to determine eligibility for immigration benefits and prepared immigration applications. She also participated in immigration law trainings and courses in conjunction with the New York Immigration Coalition and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. Madeline hopes to use her law degree to continue serving clients in need of immigration assistance.
Justin Weatherwax graduated from Baylor University in May 2016 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. He was part of the University Scholars program and wrote an honors thesis entitled The Environmental Impacts and Social Trends of the Recreational Fishing of Sharks on the Texas Coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As a sophomore, he volunteered to assist with a graduate student research project regarding the consumption of plastics by fish. During the summer of 2015, Justin volunteered with Global Vision International in Seychelles, conducting research on coral recruitment for the local government. While there, he also taught environmental conservation lessons, assisted in organizing events for school children, and volunteered at an orphanage. Following graduation, he became a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a group that works to establish a carbon fee in order to reduce greenhouse emissions and encourage increased use of sustainable energy. Beginning in 2016, he worked for a land management company. Justin hopes to use his law degree to advocate for the health of the world’s oceans and address issues relating to climate change and conservation.
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
The Miami Scholars Program is the reason that I chose to attend the University of Miami School of Law, and I'm very happy that I did. The support and encouragement that I've received have enabled me to be active in the community while maintaining high academic standards. It's an exceptional thing when you're surrounded by a group of people similar to you in their passion for public service, but with an incredible amount of diversity of life experience.
~Madeline Seales, Class of 2020
MIAMI SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2020
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead
Interest MIAMILAW HOPE Public Resource Center UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW
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