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Michigan Law students and alumni have been awarded a number of fellowships for 2013.

MLaw Students, Alumni Awarded Fellowships for Public Service, Research

By Jenny Whalen
May 7, 2013

With the aid of a wide range of merit-based fellowships, many Michigan Law students and alumni will have the ability this year to continue their studies abroad, provide legal assistance to underserved populations, and pursue government work that may have been impossible without financial assistance.

Recently awarded postgraduate fellowships include the Clara Belfield-Henry Bates Overseas Fellowship, Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowship, Robert B. Fiske Jr. Fellowship, and Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship.

Through the Bates Fellowship, also offered for summer work, several MLaw students and alumni will receive financial support to pursue academic and professional projects abroad. The fellows are Jessica L. Finz, '12, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Brazil; Catherine B. Glazer, '12, Nansen Initiative under the UN Secretariat, Switzerland; Anna M. Hill, '13, ITAM Law School Human Trafficking Clinic, Mexico; Daniel B. Rubin, '13, comparative study of health law and policy, Germany; Sogoal A. Salari, '12, IFC, Turkey; Jessica L. Soley, '13, Global Workers Justice Alliance, Mexico; Alisa R. Whitfield, '13, Asylum Access, Ecuador; Sarah Gibson, '12, Carter Center/Washington and Lee Transactional Law Institute, Liberia; Pauline Hilmy, '13, Human Rights Watch, Belgium; Chaka S. Laguerre, '13, UNHCR Representation to the European Institutions, France; and Madeline S. Thoman, '14, Arbitration Council Foundation, Cambodia.

As EJW Fellows, Katie Kersh, '13, and Lara Finkbeiner, '13, will receive financial support for their work providing legal assistance to underserved populations and causes at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Ohio and Urban Justice Center in New York, respectively. Kersh's work will be sponsored by the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, while Finkbeiner's sponsor is Getnick & Getnick LLP.

The Fiske Award, established by Robert B. Fiske Jr., '55, also supports law graduates who have chosen careers in public service. The 2013 Fellows are Sharon I. Brett, '12, U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), Civil Rights Division; Michael J. Adler, '11, Erie County District Attorney's Office, N.Y.; Caitlin R. Howitt, '13, U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps; and Christopher J. Perras, '11, USDOJ, Civil Rights Division; with Nina Zelic, '11, USDOJ, Executive Office of Immigration Review, named an alternate.

Selected as one of 14 Soros Justice Fellows, a fellowship administered through the Open Society Foundations, Kylee Sunderlin, '13, will work with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women in New York to combat the practice of leveling child abuse and neglect charges against pregnant women based on their enrollment in methadone maintenance treatment.

Summer Fellowships

A number of students pursuing public service work during the summer have been awarded the Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Fellowship, Cambodian Law and Development Fellowship, Dean’s Public Service Fellowship, Peggy Browning Fellowship, Perry Watkins Fellowship, Refugee and Asylum Law Fellowship, Cohn Summer Fellowship, Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship, and the newly established Spectrum Fund Fellowship.

A 2013 recipient of the Peggy Browning Fellowship, Rebecca Eisenbrey, '15, will receive a stipend to supplement her work with Community Legal Services in Pennsylvania.

Five fellows from MLaw’s own Program in Refugee and Asylum Law will have the resources to serve a summer internship at one of the program’s partner institutions. Betsy Fisher, '14, will work with the UNHCR in Jordan; Regina Garza, '14, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Washington, D.C.; Darren Miller, '14, with the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) in Belgium; Johnny Pinjuv, '14, with Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C.; and Timothy Shoffner, '13, with Asylum Access in Ecuador.

MLaw's Program for Cambodian Law and Development also will send its three fellows across the globe to study Cambodian legal institutions and the role of law in the development process. While in Phnom Penh, Callie Heller, '14, will work with Legal Aid of Cambodia; Rory Pulvino, '15, with Community Legal Education Center; and Andrew Wang, '13, with Sok Siphana & Associates.

Ten Dean’s Public Service Fellows will receive cash awards to supplement their work with public service organizations in the United States.

The 2013 Dean's Fellows are Amy Andreas, '13, Indiana Legal Services, Indianapolis; Katie Blair, '13, Southern Center for Human Rights, Atlanta; Charlie Gerstein, '13, mayor of Newark, N.J.; Joseph Michaels, '14, National Labor Relations Board, Washington, D.C.; Gina Myers-Schulz, '14, Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Minneapolis; Elena Peifer, '14, East Bay Community Law Center, Berkeley, Calif.; Lauren Reid, '14, National Resources Defense Council, Chicago; Megan Sanders, Dec. '13, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Amee Vora, '14, Bread for the City, Washington, D.C.; and Jessica Wall, '14, California Attorney General, Oakland, Calif.

Other public service fellowships were awarded to Wyatt Fore, '15, and Chas Mather, '14. Fore, who won the Perry Watkins Fellowship—awarded to a qualified student who obtains a summer internship to work on behalf of LGBTQ rights—will spend his summer with the Human Rights Campaign working as a McCleary Law Fellow.

As a Spectrum Fellow, Mather will receive financial support for his work with the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Seven students will focus their efforts on child welfare law as 2013 Bergstrom Fellows, working with MLaw's Child Advocacy Law Clinic as well as the Children's Law Center in Washington, D.C., Bronx Defenders in New York, and Kidsvoice in Pennsylvania. They are Cari Carson, Sara Ginsberg, Chris Kendig, Tao Li, Brian Nowinski, Nayda Verier-Taylor, all '15, and Courtney Potter, '14.

As recipients of the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship, Brittany Nash, '14, and Monet Brewerton, '14, will devote their summer to public interest work, serving at the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Georgia and Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, respectively.

With support from the Cohn Summer Fellowship, established by the Honorable Avern Cohn, '49, U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, Valerie Bieberich, '15, and Tim Ford, '15, have committed to public service work for agencies serving the State of Michigan. Bieberich joins the Ann Arbor City Attorney's Office, while Ford is bound for the office of the Michigan Solicitor General.

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