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Michigan Law 2Ls Named Recipients of Jenny Runkles Award

By Lori Atherton
Nov. 8, 2013

This year's Jenny Runkles Memorial Award recipients—2Ls Samantha (Sami) Hall and Danielle (Dani) Krumholz—are known not only for their leadership roles in numerous student organizations, but also for their personal interactions with peers.

 2l Sami Hall

 2L Sami Hall

Hall and Krumholz were named the Runkles Award winners during a Nov. 7 banquet at the Original Cottage Inn sponsored by Michigan Law's Women Law Students Association. The award was established in Runkle's honor after her death from an automobile accident in 2001 following her 2L year. Runkles was known for her commitment to improving the Law School community, and society as a whole, through her devotion to public interest and diversity. Nominees must be 2Ls and possess those same characteristics. The winners receive a $500 scholarship.

A merit scholarship recipient, Hall boasts an impressive resume for a 2L. She is a student attorney in the Human Trafficking Clinic; student note coordinator for the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law; co-president of the Family Law Project; secretary of Law Students for Reproductive Justice; treasurer of the Black Law Students Alliance; and student leader in the Michigan Access Program (MAP). She also traveled to Arizona last spring as part of the LAW Breaks trip, during which Michigan Law students performed pro bono work related to immigration reform in Phoenix and Tucson.

Hall's ability to identify with a diverse array of students and foster frank dialogues about difficult issues, particularly through her involvement in MAP, was singled out by her nominators as noteworthy.

"Sami has an incredible ability to bring students from a wide variety of backgrounds together," wrote 2L Brian Howe, a fellow MAP participant and one of her nominators. "Frequently during [MAP] discussions, controversy would spark and tension would naturally ensue. Although many of us hesitated to delve into these greater societal problems, Sami went out of her way to make everyone feel comfortable to speak candidly about race, sex, and sexual orientation. My fellow MAP students all experienced a terrific bond with each other precisely because we were able to have such an open and constructive dialogue throughout the year on sensitive issues of diversity and social justice. Sami, of course, played no small role in this."

Noting Hall's sunny disposition, Sarah Zearfoss, '92, senior assistant dean for admissions, financial aid, and career planning, and a member of the selection committee, added that "Sami is one of those students who never fails to bring a smile to my face when I see her in the halls—always full of energy and good humor. The amazing support she received from her fellow students for this award was a pretty clear suggestion that I have plenty of company!"

 2L Dani Krumholz

 2L Dani Krumholz

Like Hall, Krumholz also has a resume that shines. A merit scholarship and Dean's Public Service Fellowship recipient, she serves as associate editor and selections committee member on the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law; co-chair of the Pro Bono Student Advisory Board; events chair of the Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association; and pro bono chair of the Organization of Public Interest Students. She also was a trip leader on the LAW Breaks Arizona excursion and serves as co-chair of JDs in the D, which recently sponsored Detroit Month at the Law School.

Krumholz's efforts on behalf of JDs in the D stood out to her nominators and fellow 2Ls Sara Ginsberg, Milo Madole, Daniella Regencia, and Gracie Willis. "The beginning of the semester would have looked a whole lot different without Dani's leadership," they wrote. "There would have been no donation to support two bus tours to Detroit—one for 1Ls at the end of orientation and another open to the Law School student body. These tours brought students out of the Ann Arbor 'bubble' and were designed to dispel myths many of us believed about the city. It was a huge success, helping to gather steam for JDs in the D's second-annual Detroit Month, a series of events over the month of October that Dani was instrumental in planning."

Alyson Robbins, Michigan Law's public interest director, noted that "Dani is a great choice to honor Jenny Runkles" because of her commitment to public service. "Since the very beginning of her 1L year, Dani has been an integral part of the MLaw public-interest community," Robbins said. "She has taken a leadership role with various student groups, and she's done this while also taking every opportunity to become an effective advocate for immigrant populations through summer internships, clinics, and LAW Breaks."

In addition to Hall and Krumholz, other 2Ls nominated for the award include Mary Soo Anderson, George Barchini, Cari Carson, GeDa' Jones, Samantha Kirby, Kathryn Schoff, Hannah Swanson, and Gracie Willis.

View an image gallery from the event.

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