Announcing the 2013 Public Interest Scholarship Winners!

Ms. JD received a record number of submissions for this year's Public Interest Scholarship program, and we were thoroughouly impressed with the applicants and their commitment to public service.  Thank you to all of this year's outstanding applicants.

Over the next few weeks, we will share many of the outstanding essays we received over the past few months. But today, we would like to share our remarkable scholarship winners.  You can read all about their adventures this summer, but today we have a brief description of from each winner about her plans.

Aurora Heller

Hello everyone!  I am first-year student at the University of Virginia School of Law, my furthest venture into the South of our country. I was born and raised in snowy Albany, NY and went to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY where I majored in Political Science and French.  I want to work in government upon graduation in hopes of continuing my work towards acceptance in regards to various social causes and minorities.  Currently, I am the Vice President of the Secular Legal Society, the Treasurer of Lambda Law Alliance, a case manager for the Virginia Innocence Project Student Group, the News Editor of the Virginia Law Weekly, and a member of the Virginia Journal of International Law.  My other (non-legal) interests include Hello Kitty, video games, superheroes, and alternative rock music.  With my position this summer, I will work with the Charities Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office in an attempt to protect the people of the State of New York from unscrupulous practices and from those that prey on the good will of others.  I find the Charities Bureau to be one of the most fascinating and unique executive branch organizations in New York State.  As one of the attorneys put it during my interview, the office has the ‘distinct nature of being an entirely benign body for which the public has unfaltering support.’  

Janee Johnson

 I am currently a second year law student at Boston University School of Law.  I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, and I got my bachelors in Political Science and History at Truman State University in northern Missouri. This summer, I will be working at Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts in Boston. At PLS, I will help provide civil legal services to those who suffer from poor prison conditions in regards to mental and physical health, guard on prisoner violence, physical conditions of confinement, and segregation and isolation. After I graduate law school, I hope to continue to provide legal services for indigent clients. In my free time, I moonlight as an avid prime time television watcher, book collector, and nachos connoisseur. 

Samantha Morgan

My name is Samantha Morgan and I am a first year student at Vermont Law School. Originally from Massachusetts, I came to Vermont for college, and am delighted to be able to continue my education in this beautiful state. I am interested in environmental law generally, and climate change law and animal law specifically, and I hope to use my law degree to advocate for laws that will begin to effectively address the enormous issue of global climate change, while also protecting the interests of the animals with whom we share this world. Toward this goal, I have secured an internship with Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) for this summer. VNRC is a legal nonprofit that works to protect and restore Vermont's natural resources by initiating lawsuits to protect environmental interests and oppose any projects that threaten them, educating the public on activism opportunities, speaking at legislative hearings, lobbying state legislators, and organizing community meetings. VNRC focuses these efforts into four main program areas: sustainable communities, water, forests and wildlife, and energy and climate action. As an intern, I will be assigned to one of these programs, and will contribute to VNRC's goals in any way that I can. 

Kayla Connor

I am a second-year student at Northeastern University School of Law.  I am a graduate of Boston University, where I received a Bachelor’s degree in biology.  While I have spent the majority of the past several years in Boston, I am originally from New Jersey.  I returned to New Jersey for one year after law school to serve in an AmeriCorps program associated with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  I came to law school to ultimately practice public interest law, and my interests lie in legal services and health law.  In the last year, I have interned at Greater Boston Legal Services, where I worked on eviction and foreclosure defense work, and with the Honorable Norman Stahl on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. This summer, I will be interning at the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.  The Attorney General’s Office does many different types of work, including regulatory enforcement, prosecuting fraud, investigating and prosecuting some types of crimes, representing the Commonwealth and its agencies, officials, and employees, litigating on behalf of the public interest, and enforcing laws that protect the Commonwealth.  While I do not yet know what division I will be assigned to, I am sure serving the Commonwealth will be an educational and enriching experience!

Jennifer Li

I am a first-year law student at Fordham Law School. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, I graduated from New York University, where I majored in Politics and East Asian Studies. I developed my interest in human rights issues and public interest law working at the Global Public Service Law Project and Human Rights Watch. I later worked as a paralegal to a criminal defense firm in New York City, and served on the Criminal Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, where I was introduced to some of the most pressing problems facing criminal justice, including juvenile justice and sentencing reform. I will be interning this summer with the Strategic Litigation Unit at the Innocence Project in New York, where I will be working on impact litigation to help address the causes of eyewitness misidentifications, the single greatest source of wrongful convictions in the United States.


Liz Vaysman

I look forward to reading about the great work you all are doing this summer. Congrats!


Congratulations ladies! Great job! Can’t wait to hear more about how your summers go!

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