Ms. JD has awarded Fellowships to 13 law students. Fellows were selected based on their academic performance, leadership, and dedication to advancing the status of women in the profession. The winners reflect a full range of diverse interests and backgrounds, with women pursuing opportunities in public interest, academia, and private sector in every region of the country.
The 2015 Ms. JD Fellowship Winners are:
Jeanette Acosta, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Julie Alarcon, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Maleaha Brown, Howard University School of Law
Amanda Buxton, Emory University School of Law
Paige Cunningham, Northwestern University School of Law
Brittany Daniels, Villanova University School of Law
Fajer Saeed Ebrahim, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Paige Griffith, University of Montana School of Law
Sona Makker, Santa Clara University School of Law
Amber Mason, Howard University School of Law
Jeannette Ortiz Ortiz, University of Puerto Rico School of Law
Kendra Sandidge, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Kathryn-Ann Stamm, Cornell Law School
Ms. JD created the Ms. JD Fellowship in order to promote mentoring and professional development for future female attorneys. The mentors are taken from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Margaret Brent Award Winners and Commissioners. In addition to receiving financial support and invitations to ABA and Ms. JD events, each Fellowship winner is being paired with a mentor.
Participating mentors include:
Major. Laura DeSio
Deborah Enix- Ross
Michele Coleman Mayes
Col. Maritza Ryan
Please join us in congratulating Ms. JD's 2015 Fellows and their Mentors!
2015 ms. JD fellows
A Pasadena, CA native, Jeanette M. Acosta is a third year law student and Tony Patiño Fellow-Elect at UC Hastings College of the Law. She graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Master in Public Policy in 2012. Jeanette graduated cum laude as a Presidential Scholar from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology in 2008. This summer, Jeanette is a Summer Associate in the Los Angeles office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, & Hampton. During her second year of law school, Jeanette served as the Co-Chair of the La Raza Law Students Association, Student Attorney with the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, Staff Editor of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, and Legal Extern with the California Department of Justice's Executive Office of the Attorney General Kamala Harris. Last summer, Jeanette externed in the chambers of the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to law school, she served as the United Farm Workers (UFW) Foundation Immigration Reform Campaign Director in Washington, D.C., and as the Latino Vote Director with President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign in Iowa. Prior to graduating from the Harvard Kennedy School, Jeanette was a Graduate Intern with The White House Domestic Policy Council's Immigration Policy team, a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, Managing Editor of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, and a Graduate Consultant with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Migrant Education. She began her career in public service as an AmeriCorps VISTA-Cesar Chavez Fellow with the Cesar Chavez Foundation where she founded the Sí, Se Puede! Learning Center, a K-8th grade after school and summer program, in Hollister, CA. Jeanette is grateful for the support of her family, mentors, and undergraduate programs, such as the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and the USC McNair Scholars Program.
A third year law student at UC Hastings College of the Law, Julie Alarcon is part of the Constitutional Law Quarterly and a liaison for the Women of Color Initiative. Currently, she is a legal clerk for the National Labor Relations Board in Region 21 (Los Angeles), where she investigates unfair labor practices against employers and unions. Continuing on the path of advocacy and positive change, she will participate in the Hastings’ Civil Justice Clinic in the fall, representing employees in wage and hour claims.
As a passionate advocate for the rights of others, she has interned with ACLU Immigrant Rights’ Project and the California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General Civil Rights Enforcement section. Fluent in Spanish, Julie interpreted for the Legal Advice Referral and Refugee and Human Rights Clinics. Last summer, she served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Carlos Vazquez in the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court. Julie’s leadership is reflected in her pivotal roles as a founding member for Ms. JD at UC Hastings and Women of Color Initiative. In addition, she served as a Board member for La Raza and as a representative for student government.
Prior to law school, Julie attended UCLA where she majored in Political Science and Education. As an undergraduate student, she founded Changing Attitudes through Mentorship, Belief, and Inspiration (CAMBIO) Academy in Watts, CA. CAMBIO, now in its 7th year, helps at-risk youth focus on academics and Latino empowerment. Julie originally from La Puente, CA, is a first-generation American and credits her parents’ hard work for all of her success. In her free time, she enjoys quality time with her sisters and traveling.
Maleaha Brown is a third-year student at Howard University School of Law, where she is the Dean’s Fellow for the Legal Writing Center and a Student Attorney in the Child Welfare and Family Justice Clinic. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Maleaha graduated from Baylor University in 2013 with a B.A. in Sociology, and minors in Child and Family Studies and Spanish. While attending Baylor, she served as the President of Baylor’s NAACP Chapter.
With an interest in civil rights and family law, Maleaha has served as the President of the Howard Family Law Society and as a Staff Editor on the Howard Human and Civil Rights Law Review. Notably, Maleaha was awarded third place in the ABA Section of Family Law’s 2015 writing competition for her Comment, “When Pros Become Cons: Ending the NFL’s History of Domestic Violence Leniency.” Additionally, during her second year, Maleaha worked as a Research Assistant and Torts Teaching Assistant for Professor E. Christi Cunningham and as a Board Member on the Scholarly Writing Committee. While at Howard Law, Maleaha has interned with the D.C. Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and the Honorable Judge Danya A. Dayson at the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Currently, she is an intern for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Legal Counsel, where she assists in drafting federal civil rights policy.
Amanda is currently a third year student at Emory Law School, where she serves as President of the National Military and National Security Law Practice Society, Moot Court Society, and former Secretary of the Legal Association of Women Students. Amanda graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis on the varying interpretations of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and the political ramifications therein. Amanda also reconstructed and reorganized the dormant Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honor Society, later being elected President.
During her 2L year, Amanda researched veteran treatment courts, and the constitutionality of specialized court systems, while serving the First Lady's Joining Forces veteran policy initiative. While at Emory, Amanda has had the opportunity to intern with the White House, Department of Justice, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, pursuing a focus in national security law and government counsel. Outside of academic pursuits, Amanda participates in numerous Atlanta-based networking groups, including the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Levo League ATL, and the Daughters of the American Colonists. During her free time, Amanda pursues her passion for classical ballet.
Paige Cunningham is a rising third year law student at Northwestern University School of Law. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. Prior to joining Northwestern Law, Paige worked at The Center for American and International Law, helping to build continuing legal education programs in crucial fields such as actual innocence and capital criminal defense. While at Northwestern, Paige has served as the NU Human Rights Project President, the Public Interest Law Group Week Chair, and as an associate editor for the Northwestern University Law Review. During her 1L summer, Paige interned at Northwestern’s Children and Family Justice Center conducting policy research for juvenile sentencing reform, and advocating for youth in delinquency trials, pre-trial hearings, juvenile appeals, and various collateral proceedings. Paige is currently a summer legal intern at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation where she engages in civil litigation against perpetrators and facilitators of sexual harm, and advocates for appropriate and effective criminal prosecution of perpetrators. Paige volunteers with several organizations in the Chicago area, including the Uptown People’s Law Center, the Red Cross, and Chicago Youth Programs. In her spare time, Paige enjoys karaoke, loud and chaotic Skype calls with her family in Texas, and making futile attempts to play dress-up with her cat.
Brittany Daniels is a third-year law student at Villanova University School of Law. She graduated cum laude from Stonehill College in 2012 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science. While at Stonehill, Brittany was the Mock Trial President, a Student Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) recipient, a volunteer on three alternative break trips, Co-Director of the Into the Streets service program, and a Women’s Empowerment Coordinator. Brittany was a Girl Scout leader in Brockton, Massachusetts, and she was awarded the Keystone Partnership Award from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, a regional honor, for being an integral community-based partner over the course of four years. Brittany also studied abroad in Cameroon, and her Independent Study Project analyzing taxi driving mentality in the capital city of Yaoundé was only one of two chosen for publication. After college, Brittany served as an Augustinian Volunteer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she lived in community with two other volunteers and was a pro bono case manager at Philadelphia VIP, an organization that provides civil legal services to low-income clients and strives to support volunteer attorneys who accept pro bono cases. At Villanova, Brittany is currently a member of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society and the Production Editor of the Villanova Environmental Law Journal. Her Comment analyzing the EPA's December 2014 first-ever coal ash regulation will be published in Volume 27. Committed to becoming a public interest attorney after law school, Brittany is the Fellowship Coordinator of the Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program and has interned during law school at Community Legal Services, Inc., Homeless Advocacy Project, and Philadelphia VIP. Brittany enjoys traveling and photography.
Fajer Saeed Ebrahim
Fajer Saeed Ebrahim is an international student from the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East. She is pursuing a JD/MSW at Washington University in St. Louis where in addition to being involved in many student groups (including serving as President of Law Students for Reproductive Justice), she has also helped establish groups like the Middle Eastern Law Society. Fajer has served on search committees (i.e. for the Law Library Dean) and task forces (i.e. university-wide Sexual Assault Task Force) and has been involved in decisions that influence large student populations. She has taught both ‘Women and the Law’ to WashU undergraduates and constitutional literacy in an inner city St. Louis public school (as a Marshall Brennan Fellow). Fajer is interested in pursuing holistic advocacy focused on the legal and social work needs of indigent clients. She is interested in community organizing centered on social justice values and radical lawyering that inspires institutional change. She aims to serve indigent and minority populations, particularly transgender folks and adults with mental disabilities, who are not institutionally supported and whose rights are yet to be fully recognized.
Paige Griffith is a 3L at the University of Montana School of Law. After graduating magna cum laude with a double major in Economics and Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, Paige returned to her hometown of Missoula, Montana to attend law school. During her time at the University of Montana School of Law, she has been actively involved in the Women's Law Caucus and served as President during her 2L year. Paige dedicated over 200 hours of service toward the Women’s Law Caucus and helped raise approximately $12,000 at the 2015 annual silent auction to benefit the local YWCA Domestic Violence Program. Paige also participates in numerous organizations at her school including the Montana Law Review, the National Moot Court Team, and the UMSL Trial Team. She furthers her efforts within the school as a LexisNexis Student Representative, a Student Ambassador, and serves as a Junior Partner for the 1L Law Firm Program. While in school, she worked at a local Missoula firm, Williams Law Firm, and a regional law firm, Crowley Fleck. After law school, Paige will clerk for the Honorable Dana L. Christensen, Chief United States District Judge. In her free time, Paige loves to OULA (check outoulafitness.com), curl up and watch TV show marathons, go boating, go to the movies, eat spicy food, play pinochle with friends and family, make some delicious whirley pop popcorn, and drink red wine!
Sona is currently a 3L at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she is specializing in Privacy Law as an Emory Merit Scholar. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011, and graduated with highest honors. While at Berkeley, Sona conducted research on consumer Internet privacy trends with the current Chief Technology Officer of the Federal Trade Commission, Ashkan Soltani. In addition, Sona previously interned at California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office in the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit, and with the Privacy and Public Policy Team at Facebook. She is currently working with the Privacy Team at Sensity Systems and serves as the Privacy Editor of the Santa Clara Advocate. She is actively involved in promoting the career growth of women in her field. When she’s not juggling work and school, you’ll likely find her at a teahouse in the Bay Area, or at a yoga class, attempting to master the handstand.
My name is Amber Mason and I am a third-year law student at Howard University School of Law. I was born in Washington, D.C., but have lived in Germany, Spain, and Panama as well. I attended Old Dominion University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, with a focus in International Law and Latin American Studies. After graduating, I worked for eight years at A.P. Moller-Maersk as a participant in, and graduate of, the company's highly competitive International Shipping Education Program. Throughout my time at Maersk, I dreamed of returning to school and someday becoming a lawyer. A strong believer in following one's dreams, in 2012 I relocated to Washington, D.C. in order to attend the prestigious Howard University School of Law. Since becoming a member of the Howard family, I have been extremely active, serving on several executive boards and participating in myriad organizations. I am currently the President of the Goler Teal Butcher International Moot Court Team, the Vice President of Epsilon Sigma Iota Sorority, Incorporated, Co-Founder of Older Wiser Law Students, a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and past President of OUTLaw, Howard's LGBTQIA organization. I have found law school to be both daunting and satisfying at the same time, pushing me well beyond what I once believed to be my limit. I have also found that the rewards - such as being selected as a Ms. JD Fellow - make the long nights and grueling exams that much more satisfying. Whenever I am feeling tired or defeated, I push on, remembering the famous words of Mark Twain: "There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded."
Jeannette Ortiz Ortiz
Jeannette is a rising third-year law student at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the same University with a Bachelor in Business Administration and served on the executive boards of various student organizations, including the Pre-Law Society. As a 1L, she got elected class vice-president, while being actively involved in the Women’s Rights Organization. She also attended Ms. JD’s Passion Forward in 2014, where she was inspired to start the NWLSO chapter in PR. She attributes NWLSO's student mentorship program success, which benefited more than 60 students, to the Board of Directors and their commitment to empowering women. During her 1L summer, Jeanne worked at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate for the U.S. Army Reserve in Ft. Buchanan, PR. She also attended Ms. JD's Stronger Together in CA, where she was moved to keep working for Ms. JD's mission. She continues to be part of her school's Sexual and Reproductive Rights Pro Bono and currently works at Millennium Partners, a 100% woman-, minority-and veteran-owned law firm established in FL and PR.
Kendra Sandidge is a third-year student jointly pursuing her JD at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her MBA at the Wharton School. Kendra is an Institute for Law & Economics Scholar at Penn Law and a Nonprofit Board Fellow at Wharton, serving on the Spruce Foundation's Board of Directors for the upcoming year. Kendra served as a member of the law school's Custody and Support Assistance Clinic for the past two years, where she completed over 200 hours of pro bono work helping clients file petitions for custody, support and protection from abuse matters.
Kendra is the Editor-in-Chief of the 164th Volume of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She is the first African-American woman to hold this position.
Kendra spent her summer working in the Corporate Department of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. She split her time between the London and New York City office.
Prior to graduate school, Kendra was an independent consultant on Morgan Stanley's Supplier Risk Management & Monitoring Team for two years. In that capacity, Kendra facilitated the managerial review of the firm's vendors and services, collaborating with individuals across business units and synthesizing information from multiple sources. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Kendra worked at Guardsmark for three years, where she served as a Relationship Manager and managed the private security operation at over 6 client sites.
A native of New Jersey, Kendra holds a BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kathryn-Ann Stamm, is a rising 3L on the J.D-Maîtrise between Cornell Law School and the Sorbonne Law School (Paris I).
She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now considers Lyon, France, her home. She started her legal education at King’s College London (LL.B), and carried on with a Bachelor of Laws and Master I degrees from the Sorbonne Law School (Paris I), before heading to Cornell Law School.
At Cornell, she is a Notes Editor for the International Law Journal.
During the summer of 2015, she was a corporate summer associate at Cravath, Swaine and Moore splitting between the firm’s New York and London office.