Ms. JD has awarded Fellowships to 12 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 2017 Ms. JD Fellowship Winners are:
Lillian Alvernaz, Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana
Nykeeba Brown, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law
Paige Greene, Washington University School of Law
Shanice Hinckson, Howard University School of Law
Melissa Mikail, Harvard Law School
Akunna Ofodu, California Western School of Law
Claudia Ojeda, The George Washington University Law School
Britta Roosendahl, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California
Brittany Sims, University of Tennessee College of Law
Elizabeth Tolon, Fordham University School of Law
Lulu Wang, Harvard Law School
Rondayah Williams, CUNY School of Law
Participating mentors include:
Nancy Duff Campbell
Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly
Jude Margaret M. McKeown
Judge Vanessa Ruiz
Michele Coleman Mayes
Please join us in congratulating Ms. JD's 2017 Fellows!
2017 ms. JD fellows
Winchaxbi Wakan Wiya Ki Um Hawi (Sacred Star Woman Who Sits by the Moon) is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and traditional Assiniboine. Ms. Alvernaz works toward combatting violence against Native American women and children through holding offenders accountable and navigating the jurisdictional maze victims and survivors are subject to. To do this, Ms. Alvernaz is pursuing an Indian Law Certificate and joint Master of Public Administration to fill the gaps the marriage of law and policy leave in Indian country. Ms. Alvernaz coordinated Women in Indian Country: Indian Law Week 2017 and raised over $7,000 to educate the public on different issues that affect Indian people, like historical trauma, domestic violence, and environmental justice. Ms. Alvernaz is the Conference Editor and writes on Indian law issues for the Public Land and Resources Law Review. Ms. Alvernaz was the 2016-2017 Margery Hunter Brown Assistantship recipient where she researched, wrote, presented, and proposed Effective Advocacy for Addressing Domestic Violence throughout Indian Country in Montana. Last summer, Ms. Alvernaz was a Udall Congressional Internship recipient and interned for the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, Tribal Division. This summer, Ms. Alvernaz is spending her time working for the United States District Court, District of Montana, Great Falls Division, under the Honorable Brian Morris.
Ms. Alvernaz is the second oldest of five children and is honored to be the namesake of her maternal grandmother. Ms. Alvernaz enjoys lifting weights, attending and participating in powwows, spending time with her family, and participating in cultural celebrations, ceremonies, and community events.
Nykeeba Brown is a third-year law student at Barry university’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in Orlando Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology from Howard University in 2012. During her time at Howard, Nykeeba was selected from among her peers to engage with several phenomenal leaders from around the world, including the head of USAID- Haiti, the current President and CEO of PepsiCO, and a former candidate for the Cameroon Presidential Elections, Kah Wallah. Following her first-year of law school, Nykeeba was selected as a 2016 LCLD scholar, spending her summer in West Palm Beach as a summer associate at Akerman, LLP.
With service etched into Nykeeba’s DNA, she currently serves her community through her school’s chapter of BLSA, and is also the Executive Managing Editor of the Southern Journal of Policy and Justice, NBLSA’s southeastern regional law journal. An avid traveler, Nykeeba spent the summer following her second-year of law school studying International Business in South Africa, further honing her interest in International law, policy and development.
In addition to travel, Nykeeba enjoys African and Caribbean female literature, and providing music consultation on Independent film projects.
Originally from Baltimore, MD, Paige Marie Robinson Greene is a third-year law student at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, MO. Paige earned a Bachelor of Art in Public Policy and Law, and Hispanic Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 2013. After college, Paige was hired as a paralegal at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington D.C. where she worked on a variety of exciting litigation matters and investigations, gained trial experience and ultimately realized her desire to become an attorney. Upon completion of her first year of law school, Paige was hired as a summer associate and LCLD diversity scholar at Quarles & Brady LLP in Chicago, IL. In her second year of law school, Paige served as the President of the Women’s Law Caucus, the Social Chair of the Black Law Students Association, a Peer Adviser in the Center for Career Development and as a staff editor for the Washington University School of Law Journal of Law and Policy. Paige returned to the Windy City after her second year as a summer associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. Recently, Paige was selected to serve on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the law school, will serve as a Primary Editor and Board Member for the Journal of Law and Policy, and will continue working in the Career Development Center as peer adviser. Despite her litigation background, Paige plans to start her career in a transactional practice and is excited to be working in the Entrepreneurial and Intellectual Property Clinic at her law school this year.
Paige is passionate about maintaining rights, education, resources and opportunities for girls and women, particularly in communities of color and hopes to become a more active advocate in these spaces throughout her career. In her spare time, Paige enjoys baking, trying new restaurants, and working through her bucket list. Paige is also a fitness fanatic and can often be found running, cycling or taking a barre class. She is excited to give back to the Ms.JD community as a fellow especially because the organization has been instrumental to her experience as a law student.
Born in Queens, NY, Shanice D. Hinckson is currently a third-year student at Howard University School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Shanice received a Posse Foundation Leadership Scholarship and studied Philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. While at Trinity College, Shanice was the Community Service Dorm President, Philosophy Club President, and Community Service Chair for the Trinity College Black Women’s Organization. In 2014, Shanice studied abroad in Austria, Vienna and interned for Women Without Borders, the first female-based anti-extremism organization. In 2015, Shanice became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, received her B.A. in Philosophy, and graduated magna cum laude.
Shanice actively gives back to her community through her leadership positions at Mt. Hope Universal Spiritual Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY and previously as a GED tutor at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C.
While at Howard, Shanice proudly serves as the Managing Editor of the Howard Law Journal and is a Student Attorney with the Howard Law Investor Justice and Education Clinic. In addition, she works as a Research Assistant for Sha-Shana Crichton, Chair of the Howard Law Legal Writing Department. She is the recipient of the Howard Law Merit Scholarship and the Robert A. Shuker Scholarship. Shanice has had the opportunity to gain valuable legal experience through her internships with the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, Human Rights Watch- Women’s Rights Division, and the Honorable Phyllis Thompson of the D.C. Court of Appeals. Currently, she is a Summer Associate with Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett in their New York, NY office. In her spare time, Shanice enjoys attending karaoke events and listening to Soca music.
Melissa is a third-year law student at Harvard Law School. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, Riverside in 2015, where she majored in Philosophy and Law & Society. She served as the Commencement Speaker and was awarded the Dean's Academic Distinction Award. Throughout college, Melissa worked at a boutique estate planning firm in Redlands.
Melissa is a first generation college student in the U.S. after her parents emigrated from Egypt in the early 90s. Her interest in the law had its genesis in a dream her late father had for her, as a result of her passion for advocating and defending others. During her time in law school, Melissa has been involved in a number of organizations, including the Women's Law Association, the African Law Association, and Student Government. She also served as a chair for the Public Interest Auction during her first year. This summer she is working as a Summer Associate in the Litigation Group at Sheppard Mullin in Century City. During 3L, Melissa will serve as Executive Managing Editor of the Human Rights Journal, as well as the Director of External Affairs for the Women's Law Association. Melissa is passionate about making the voices of minority and women of color heard, and hopes to establish a platform to promote women and minorities in the legal community.
Akunna Ofodu is currently a third year student at California Western School of Law. While at California Western she has served as a mentor, active member of Black Law Student Association and recipient of the Robert J. Grey Diversity Scholarship. In 2015, Akunna received her Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Administration at Texas State University. While at Texas State, Akunna was the first black president of Student Foundation and organizer of multiple social injustice forums. During her presidency she changed the recruitment system and opened doors for minorities on campus. As the oldest of six, Akunna is passionate about mentorship especially with women and hopes to learn more throughout her fellowship with Ms. JD. Expected to graduate in 2018, Akunna plans on starting her own private firm, specializing in Employment law. Outside of school, Akunna enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Claudia is a rising 3L at The George Washington University Law School. She graduated with honors from the University of Florida and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Law and a minor in Philosophy. While attending the University of Florida, Claudia was President of the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a sister of Gamma Eta Sorority Inc., and an active competitor on the Phi Alpha Delta Mock Trial Team. Before starting law school she was selected to be part of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Career Law Class of 2015 and subsequently worked in the Washington, DC office of Shearman & Sterling. At her law school, Claudia is a George Washington Scholar, current Dean’s Fellow, past Writing Fellow, and serves on both the Moot Court Board and the Mock Trial Board. Last summer, Claudia worked as a Summer Associate at Bilzin Sumberg. This summer, Claudia is a Summer Associate at Greenberg Traurig, in Miami, FL. Having had many mentors along the way, Claudia takes every opportunity to be a mentor herself both to the women in her sorority and to other women in her field. In her spare time Claudia enjoys turning up the torque at Flywheel, Olympic weightlifting, and eating Cuban food.
Britta Roosendahl is a third-year law student at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law. Following her first year of law school, Britta served as a judicial extern for the Honorable George H. Wu, United States District Court Judge for the Central District of California. The fall of her second year of law school, she externed at the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. Britta was also the president of the Women's Law Association (WLA), where she developed a partnership between WLA and a local domestic violence center – in addition to organizing fundraisers benefitting the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and the Immigration Center for Women and Children.
After her second year of law school, Britta joined the New York County District Attorney's Office as a summer law intern. She will join the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Preliminary Hearing Unit this fall as a Certified Law Clerk. Britta is passionate about combating violence against women and children; after studying child interviewing techniques during her 2L year, Britta will begin conducting forensic child interviews this fall. In her free time, Britta enjoys exploring Los Angeles and getting out of the city to spend the night in places where she can see the Milky Way.
Brittany Sims is a third-year student at the University of Tennessee College of Law pursuing the academic concentration in Advocacy and Dispute Resolution. While at UT, she has served on the executive board of the Black Law Students Association, as a student attorney representing indigent clients through the UT Advocacy Clinic, and as communications director for the newly formed Student Council for Diversity and Inclusion. She has also volunteered with the student-run service initiative, UT Pro Bono. Last summer, she interned for the Honorable Pamela L. Reeves, the first female federal judge in East Tennessee. Brittany is currently interning in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Brittany graduated cum laude from Hampton University with a B.A. in English. She joined AmeriCorps after college, which ignited her passion for social justice and public interest. She earned a Masters in Public Administration with a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tennessee State University where she worked in the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. As a graduate assistant, she wrote and edited grants and coordinated a youth mentoring program funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health. Brittany has held various leadership positions within the nonprofit sector over the past several years, primarily within organizations serving at-risk youth. Additionally, she has worked as the assistant volleyball coach at Fisk University and as a program coordinator and communications staff member with the Tennessee Bar Association.
Brittany is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Outside of school and work, she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling.
Elizabeth Tolon is a third-year law student at Fordham University School of Law. She attended George Fox University for her undergraduate studies and received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelors of Arts in Music, with a concentration in voice/opera and teaching. Between George Fox and Fordham Law, Liz worked for in variety of fields including professional sports, the wine industry, and mentoring at risk youth.
During her time at the Fordham Law, Liz has immersed herself in opportunities for growth and development. Liz is on the Fordham Law Review and is an Article and Notes Editor for the 2017-18 year. Liz is an active participant on Moot Court and was a Quarterfinalist oralist for the Mulligan Moot Court Competition during her 2L year. Liz also is on the Dispute Resolution Society and was a part of the International Alternative Dispute Resolution Team which won multiple awards. Liz is also a First Year Legal Writing Assistant and worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Michael Martin.
Liz has had the opportunity to work Ropes & Gray this past summer and will intern for The Honorable Paul Gardephe of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York this fall. In her spare time, Liz enjoys baking, hiking, playing with her dog Harlem, and reading murder mysteries.
Lulu Wang is a student at Harvard Law School, where she is a Fellow in the Law, Science, and Technology Program. Prior to law school, Lulu earned a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Harvard Medical School and a B.A. with honors in Biology from Harvard College. Throughout law school, Lulu has worked at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, both during the academic year and the summer. Her practice focuses on litigation, prosecution, and strategic intellectual property counseling for biotechnology startups, pharmaceutical companies, and venture capital firms in the life sciences industry.
Rondayah L. Williams is a rising third-year student at CUNY School of Law in Queens, New York. Rondayah graduated with honors from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. During law school, Rondayah remains an active leader as the 2017 Vice-President of the Black Law Students Associations, a Senior Staff Member of CUNY’s Law Review Journal, the Director of Programming for the Northeast National Black Law Student Association (NEBLSA), a member of the CUNY Moot Court Team, a member of the CUNY School Trial Advocacy Team, and a mentor of the CUNY Law Student Diversity Mentorship Program. She is also the 2016 recipient of the CUNY School of Law Summer Fellowship and the New York City Merit Scholarship. While at CUNY School of Law, Rondayah has had the opportunity to gain valuable legal experience through her internships with Brooklyn Legal services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Honorable Judy Harris Kluger and Honorable Carolyn Wade. Through these legal internships, Rondayah learned what to expect as a future attorney in the Family Court System and the efforts made to provide justice for individuals in an increasing challenging society, both socially and economically. Last summer, Rondayah took an international Human Rights class in Acura, Ghana for two weeks where she developed a critical prospective on the relationship between human rights ideology and international law. That same summer, Rondayah also completed a dual internship as a judicial intern for Judge Penda- Kirwan and a legal intern at the Administration for Children Services (ACS). Upon receiving her law school degree, she plans on being a family court attorney, who is committed to tailoring her advocacy skills to the unique needs of communities of color by providing outstanding representation and holistic services. In her spare time, Rondayah enjoys dancing, traveling, and watching Scandal with her family. As a proud new fellow of Ms. JD, Rondayah hopes to establish a platform to promote and encourage women all around the world, especially women of color, to enter into the legal profession.