WSULaw announces fellowship recipients

Wayne State University Law School announced the 2011 Public Interest Law Fellowship recipients Wednesday. With the support of the $4,500 fellowships, 13 Wayne Law students will work for a variety of agencies and legal clinics in Michigan and beyond.

The Law School created the fellowships in 2009 to give students additional opportunities to gain practical experience before graduation, ease financial stresses and offer needed assistance to organizations providing legal services to underserved constituencies. Fellowship recipients will hold public interest jobs during summer 2011. A committee of Wayne Law faculty and alumni selected the recipients.

"Wayne Law is emerging as the leading public interest law school in the Midwest thanks to initiatives such as our Public Interest Law Fellowships, our clinics - including the first trans-border environmental law clinic in North America - pro bono programs, internship opportunities and, of course, the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, " said Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman. "The Public Interest Law Fellowships help us pursue our public service mission by providing yet another opportunity for our students to gain practical experience in public interest law and assist folks in need of legal help at a time of economic difficulty."

Ackerman continued, "On behalf of Wayne Law, I congratulate our 2011 Public Interest Law Fellowship recipients. We are thrilled to be able to offer these fellowships for a third year, and hope to be in a position to continue funding the program in future years as well."

The fellowship recipients and the organizations for which they will work include:

* Kimberly Adams, Washtenaw County Office of the Public Defender

* Manuel Barragan Arenas, Illinois State's Attorney's Juvenile Justice Bureau, Chicago

* Matthew Clark, Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project, and Wayne Law's Environmental Law Clinic

* Julianne Cole, Michigan Attorney General's Office, Civil Rights Division

* Zoila Del Castillo,, New York City

* Bradley Dembs, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Washington, D.C.

* Stephanie Karisny, Natural Resources Defense Council, Chicago

* Michael Kiehne, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

* Valentina Korkes, Office of the General Counsel, Detroit Public Schools

* Emily Patterson, Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, Detroit

* Natalia Vieira Santanna, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Kalamazoo

* Victoria Suber, Michigan Children's Law Center

* Victor Walbridge, Detroit Free Legal Aid Clinic

"I consider myself very privileged to spend the summer working on an area of law that is my passion -- public interest immigration law," Santanna said. "In light of the enduring issues regarding the treatment of immigrants in Michigan, I feel inspired to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the community through my work. I am grateful that Wayne Law cares for and supports students like me in projects that help the community."

"I appreciate being chosen to receive a Public Interest Law Fellowship because I believe that these fellowships provide both the financial and moral support that is needed to continue on the path of public service," Suber said. "I believe that children both need and deserve strong advocates in our society because they cannot advocate for themselves. I am eager to work for the Michigan Children's Law Center because I will have the opportunity to advocate for the protection and liberty of children who reside in one of the most impoverished communities in the country."

Added Dembs, "I am really excited at the opportunity to work for an organization that is highly influential in the field of disability rights. To have the chance to assist and learn from a group that shares the same passion and goals I have is the most I could have ever hoped for when looking for a summer internship. The fact that I will be helping people at the same time only sweetens the deal. These fellowships give students the chance to take great jobs without worrying about how they will cope financially. I look forward to representing Wayne Law in our nation's capital."

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Published: Thu, May 19, 2011