Wayne Law student Aisa Villarosa named Skadden Fellow

DETROIT, MI--Wayne State University Law School third-year student Aisa Villarosa has been named a 2011 Skadden Fellow. The Skadden Fellowship Foundation awards this highly coveted and competitive fellowship to just 25-30 persons nationwide each year. Villarosa, who was chosen from hundreds of applicants, is the first Wayne Law student to become a Skadden Fellow.

"The Skadden Fellowship is a very prestigious honor," said Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman. "Ms. Villarosa's leadership and involvement in dozens of well-executed, organized events and initiatives at the Law School has magnified the increasing interest in public interest and social justice law at Wayne Law. Those who know her or who have been touched by her energy and dedication to her community know the honor is well deserved. She is the kind of go-getter that sets the bar high, very high, inspiring her peers and improving her community every step of the way. I congratulate her on this outstanding achievement and look forward to following her career for years to come."

Villarosa is president of the Wayne Law Student Board of Governors and associate editor of The Wayne Law Review. Last year she served as president of the Law School's Asian Pacific Law Students Association (APALSA), SBG governor at large and secretary of the Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA). She has twice been named a Wayne Law Public Interest Law Fellow in a fellowship program that enabled her to gain practical experience at the Michigan Poverty Law Center (2009) and the Michigan Children's Law Center (2010) while assisting those who would otherwise not be able to afford legal assistance.

Villarosa, a 2010 recipient of the John W. Reed Endowed Scholarship, also co-led efforts to create The 313 Project at Wayne Law. This initiative, begun in 2009 by board members from APALSA, HLSA and the Black Law Students Association, collaborates with organizations in and beyond the Law School to aid in public service, revitalization and charity efforts in the Detroit area. As part of the project, and in addition to its fundraisers and community clean-up initiatives, Villarosa and other students volunteer weekly as Detroit Reading Corps volunteers at Maybury Elementary in Southwest Detroit.

As a Skadden Fellow, Villarosa will receive a two-year grant to continue her work at the Michigan Children's Law Center, where she worked with a Public Interest Law Fellowship last summer.

"My project at the Michigan Children's Law Center has two main components: direct representation of minors in delinquency proceedings and a service-based outreach initiative linking Detroit service groups with local youths," Villarosa said. "The service component, and the organizations I will be working with, grew largely from the spirit and ideas behind The 313 Project. I'm proud to be a Detroiter, and I hope that my project will help the city and its youth."

For now, Villarosa is focused on exams and upcoming projects and looks forward to continuing her work in public interest law.

"I am thankful for this special opportunity, and extremely grateful to my faculty mentors here at the Law School," Villarosa said. "I am especially thankful to Professor Amy Neville and Professor Adele Morrison for guiding and supporting me through the entire application and interview process."

According to the Skadden Foundation website, "the 2010 class of fellows brings to 591 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks the firm has funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations." Approximately 90 percent of past fellows remain in public interest work after their fellowship.

"Besides the financial support it offers, a Skadden Fellowship is an extraordinary honor," said Wayne Law Assistant Professor Christopher Lund. "Past fellows include some very incredible people doing very important work. Ms. Villarosa is well deserving of this great honor."

Published: Thu, Dec 16, 2010