UGA School of Law increases public interest fellowship support

School of law

36 students awarded fellowship grants totaling $68,000

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Writer: Heidi M. Murphy, 706-583-5487,
Contact: Alexander Scherr, 706-542-6510,

Athens, Ga. – In addition to providing first-rate legal training for its students, the University of Georgia School of Law is instilling in them the need to serve. The service comes in a variety of forms, and the benefits and communities served are just as diverse.

A record-breaking 36 law students will begin a summer of service in Georgia, Washington, D.C., New York City and locations around the U.S. and the world. Work placements include nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations; local, state and federal government agencies; state and federal prosecutor’s offices; and criminal defense practices, both trial and appellate. Five positions have an international focus.

Resources supporting School of Law students in their public interest endeavors this year also reached a high point-$68,000, an increase of $15,000 from 2016. The funding comes from a partnership with the Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation and the school’s Melburne D. and Jacqueline K. McLendon Endowment and the Edward D. and Carol J. Spurgeon Public Service Fellowship Fund as well as the Dean Rusk International Law Center Global Externship Overseas and student-run Equal Justice Foundation resources.

“This record number of student placements and financial support for public interest fellowships exemplifies our law school’s and our students’ strong commitment to public service,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “Our students are eager for opportunities to serve, and I am very pleased the school was able to count on alumni and alumnae and external funding sources to make our students’ dreams of contributing to state and society possible this summer.”

UGA Law School Fellowships

Below are the recipients of 2017 public interest summer fellowships. Each student’s anticipated year of graduation is indicated in parentheses.

Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowships
Recognizes students for their commitment to public service and potential for excellence.
• Dana M. Leader (2018), American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Washington, D.C.
• Gilbert O. Oladeinbo (2019), New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, Newark, New Jersey

Melburne D. and Jacqueline K. McLendon Fellowships
Provides funds for practical legal education and training in civil and criminal law.
• Jarrell Bogan (2018), Western Circuit Public Defender, Athens
• Austin Cohen (2019), Georgia Capital Defender, Atlanta
• Rachel N. Goldberg (2018), Atlanta Legal Aid Society & U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th Circuit Judge Jill A. Pryor, Atlanta
• Ted Huggins (2019), Fulton County District Attorney, Atlanta
• Vesselina Kotzeva (2019), DeKalb Juvenile Public Defender, Atlanta
• Deborah Nogueira-Yates (2018), Northern Circuit District Attorney, Danielsville
• Lyddy O’Brien (2019), No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium

Edward D. and Carol J. Spurgeon Public Service Fellowship
Supports a rising second- or third-year law student who has demonstrated a commitment to public service.
• Sarah A. Mirza (2019), Project South, Atlanta

Dean Rusk International Law Center Global Externship Overseas
Provides students with funds to travel to international placements for global practice preparation.
• Lauren Brown (2019), War Child, Amsterdam
• Rebecca “Becca” Wackym (2019), Legal Unit of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Israel

Equal Justice Foundation Fellowships
Provides stipends to support summer public interest law placements (funded by an annual auction conducted by the UGA law student organization)

• Michael L. Baker (2018), Atlanta City Attorney, Atlanta
• Kody Brown (2018), Hall County Public Defender, Gainesville
• Chanel O. Chauvet (2018), CARE USA, Atlanta
• Jennifer Cotton (2019), Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack & Human Rights Watch, New York City
• Robert Daily (2019), U.S. Department of Treasury, Washington, D.C.
• Brooke Dumont (2019), Western Circuit Public Defender, Athens
• Vesela Eminovska (2019), Georgia Department of Community Health, Atlanta
• Chase C. Graham (2018), Cobb County District Attorney, Marietta
• Madison Hahn (2019), Blue Ridge District Attorney, Canton
• Randall Hurston (2019), Georgia Capital Defender, Atlanta
• Conor Kruger (2019), Cook County State’s Attorney, Chicago, Illinois
• Jamie McDowell (2018), Fulton County Solicitor’s Office, Atlanta
• Shawn E. McKenzie (2018), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta
• Molly A. Munson (2018), U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Program, Atlanta
• Amanda Payne (2019), New York Attorney General, New York City, New York
• Claire H. Provano (2018), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta
• Robert “Cap” Russell IV (2019), Brunswick Circuit District Attorney, Brunswick
• Taylor Samuels (2019), State’s Attorney of West Palm Beach, Florida
• Jamila A. Toussaint (2018), Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.
• Alina L. Venick (2018), Georgia Legal Services Program, Gainesville
• Nicholas “Nick” Vretakis (2018), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.
• William H. “Liam” Ware (2018), St. Louis County Prosecutor, St. Louis, Missouri
• John “Jack” Van Why (2019), U.S. Attorney’s Office, Atlanta
• Yun Jung Yang (2018), Office of Public Advocacy, Anchorage, Alaska


UGA School of Law
Consistently regarded as one of the nation’s top public law schools, the School of Law was established in 1859. Its accomplished faculty includes authors of some of the country’s leading legal scholarship. Georgia Law is proud of its long-standing commitment to providing first-rate legal training for future leaders who will serve state and nation in both the public and private sectors. The school offers three degrees-the Juris Doctor, the Master of Laws and the Master in the Study of Law-and is home to the Dean Rusk International Law Center. For more information, see