Teach for America and Miami Law, from the Classroom to the Courtroom

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Kathryn Della Fera, Wilfredo Fernandez & Ashley Gomez-Rodon

Teach for America is a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequality through teaching and working with unwavering commitment from every sector of society to create a nation free of injustice. As a collective force, they fight for the aspirations of students and families.

Those words could equally describe many of Miami Law’s students, especially those who were and are Miami Scholars, many of whom are TFA corps alums.

Current 3L Kathryn Della Fera is a Miami Scholar Class of 2018 who has worked as a legal intern with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, Miami Law’s Health Rights Clinic and the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. She has also been a Books and Buddies volunteer and is on the Race and Social Justice Law Review.

First-year law student Wifredo Fernandez had a life changing Teach for America stint prior to law school. Now at Miami Law he has served on the boards of the Center for Ethics & Public Service, and OurKids of Miami-Dade and Monroe which teamed up with Miami Law on First Star Academy which helps foster youth. He is a Miami Scholar, Class of 2020.

Lauren Pettiette was a Miami Scholar who graduated from Miami Law in 2014. She came to law school after working as a Teach for America corps member teaching third grade in New Orleans. Pettiette says she came to law school committed to empowering parents and students as an advocate of education. While at Miami Law she was a Fellow in the Children and Youth Law Clinic and worked as a certified legal intern at the Miami-Dade Office of the Public Defender. She further advocated for children as a guardian to a teen in Miami-Dade and led the volunteer efforts for Empowered Youth at UM Law. She was also on the executive board of the student organization Bar and Gavel and chosen as the Chief of Iron Arrow – University of Miami’s highest honor society.  She now works in New York at Heartshare St. Vincent’s Services as the Senior Director of Education

Jenna Feldman, J.D. ’15 and former Miami Scholar, came to Miami Law from Tulane University, where she was a Public Health major before a stint at Teach for America. At Miami Law she was active in the Health Rights Clinic and helped save the life of an undocumented farmworker.

Ashley Gomez-Rodon is a current third year student who was a TFA in North Miami. She has been a guardian ad litem volunteer, has worked in the Children and Youth Law Clinic and the STREET Law Program, has served on the Honor Council and as executive editor of University of Miami Law Review. She is a Miami Scholar Class of 2018.

3L Carli Raben spent four years teaching at a public school in the Greater New Orleans area as a Teach for America corps member after graduating from Berkeley and before coming to University of Miami Law as a Miami Scholar Class of 2018. During her 1L summer she served as an Ella Baker Fellow and a HOPE Fellow at the Community Justice Project in Miami and in her 2L year, she served as a legal intern in the Environmental Justice Clinic as part of their Housing Justice and Municipal Equity campaigns. As a 3L, she is serving as an extern at the Florida Justice Institute working on civil rights litigation in the area of prisoner's rights. 

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