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Jenny Runkles Aware recipients Megan DeMarco and Jessica GingoldMLaw 2Ls Named Recipients of Jenny Runkles Memorial Award

By Jenny Whalen
Nov. 17, 2014

Recognized by peers for their compassion, leadership, and steadfast commitment to diversity and public service at Michigan Law, 2Ls Megan DeMarco and Jessica Gingold have been named this year's Jenny Runkles Memorial Award recipients.

The Runkles Award is presented annually to second-year students who have exhibited, as the award's namesake did, a "selfless commitment to improving the Law School community, and society as a whole, through devotion to public interest and diversity." The award was established in honor of Michigan Law student Jenny Runkles following her death from an automobile accident in 2001.

DeMarco and Gingold accepted the award, which is accompanied by a $500 scholarship, during a Nov. 13 banquet sponsored by the Women Law Students Association.

"Listening to Dean (David) Baum and Judge (Judith) Levy​ discuss the history of the Jenny Runkles Award, and the amazing person that Jenny was, elevated for me just what an honor this award is," said Gingold, who focuses her own public interest work on programs and organizations that support youth.

"I think all 19 of us who were nominated would do all that we do without any recognition—many of us came to law school to serve others and fight injustice," she added. "Still, having the Law School and our fellow students pause and celebrate our commitments to diversity and community engagement is incredibly special."

The award held similar meaning for DeMarco, who said, "I am honored to be recognized by fellow students and faculty, and was humbled to be nominated with so many accomplished, hard-working, and kind students who contribute so much to the Law School."

It was namely DeMarco's public service career goals, community involvement at the Law School, and sensitivity to students' differing backgrounds that led 3L Tim Ford to nominate her for the award. "Megan's actions showcase her commitment to public service and inclusiveness," wrote Ford.

Inclusiveness was also a leading factor in 2L Adrienne Darrow Boyd's nomination of Gingold.

"While many law students try and sometimes struggle to find their place among students and groups, Jess made her place, and a place for other students craving a space to discuss and implement principles of social justice at the law school," Darrow Boyd wrote in her nomination. "She has challenged herself to learn from others, and challenged others to thoughtfully consider issues of social justice from multiple perspectives."

Also nominated for this year's award were 2Ls Timothy Cross, Marquita Davis, Ryan Garber, Kya Henley, Mallory Jones, Julie Kornfeld, Britney Littles, Nikita Mehta, Amanda Merkwae, Kyla Moore, Meredith Osborne, Megan Richardson, Rebecca Salley, Miriam Schachter, Jessica Shaffer Wightman, Karima Tawflik, and Kelsey VanOverloop.

Pictured above: Jenny Runkles Award recipients Megan DeMarco (left) and Jessica Gingold (right).

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