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Spectrum Fellowship Helps Make Summer Dreams a Reality

Spectrum Fellowship Helps Make Summer Dreams a Reality

By Amy Spooner
Feb. 13, 2015

When Henry Grix, AB '70, JD '77, and Howard Israel, BFA ’72, created the Spectrum Fund in 2011, the goal was to provide fellowships and scholarships to enable Michigan Law students who are passionate about LGBT equality to pursue research, impact litigation, and do policy work.

Fast-forward to 2014. Lauren DesRosiers was entering her 1L summer with the possibility of landing her dream job at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), but uncertain as to how she could afford to live in one of the world's most expensive cities with an unpaid internship.

Enter the Spectrum Fellowship.

"The fellowship aligned really well with my interests, so OCP [Michigan Law's Office of Career Planning] encouraged me to apply," said DesRosiers, now a 2L. "Finding out I'd received it was incredibly exciting."

Prior to law school, DesRosiers did a lot of volunteer advocacy work with survivors of domestic violence, and she is passionate about LGBTQ rights. So she jumped at the chance to work at AVP, an organization that addresses hate, sexual, and intimate-partner violence within the LGBTQ community. "A lot of literature related to domestic violence is very gendered and heteronormative, but it's really an issue that happens within LGBTQ relationships as well," DesRosiers explained. "AVP is at the forefront in advancing inclusive policies for LGBTQ violence survivors, which is one of things that drew me there."

During the summer, DesRosiers conducted intake interviews and made referrals, wrote an amicus brief in support of a New Jersey state court case, aided a victim of intimate partner violence with her U-visa application, and helped a gay man who was a longtime victim of intimate-partner violence with his asylum application. She also appeared before a judge to secure a protection order for a client. "Taking the knowledge I gained in my first year of law school and applying it in order to help somebody else was empowering," she said. "It helped me trust my own intellect, and it made me see how what I'm learning has an actual effect out in the world."

To be considered for the MLaw Spectrum Fellowship, students must submit an application by Feb. 23, 2015. Applicants do not have to have a position secured before applying for the Fellowship. Learn more at the Spectrum Summer Fellowships page.

If you'd like to make a gift in support of the Spectrum Fellowship, contact Krissa Rumsey, regional director of development, at rumseyk@umich.edu or 734.764.0373.

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