The Miami Scholars Public Interest Program kicked off the year with a welcome luncheon, featuring 46 Miami Scholars and Assistant Dean Marni Lennon and HOPE Public Interest Resource Center Assistant Director Sharon Booth.
Miami Scholars are students who, along with exceptional academic credentials, have a demonstrated commitment to public interest. Once accepted to the program, they receive a significant scholarship to Miami Law. Accepted members come from over three dozen different undergraduate schools, over 10 graduate schools and have worked and studied in over 14 different countries.
Each of the students took a few moments to share the experiences and pathways which led them to Miami Law for this prestigious scholarship program. As each told his or her story, students and guests marveled at the wide range of impactful work undertaken by this group and the passion they exuded when sharing their personal anecdotes.
"I was amazed at the backgrounds of my fellow Miami Scholars," said Miami Scholar Bennett Blachar who has worked as an intern at the Office of Public Defender and the Immigration Rights Clinic. "As each of the students described their backgrounds, one was more inspiring than the next. It is a great reminder that a cohort of dedicated advocates will make a difference through the law."
For 2L Sydney Towne, the Miami Scholars Public Interest Program offers a way to explore different areas of the law and to connect with other progressive students. "The Miami Scholars Program has supported my interests and encouraged me to explore various opportunities in the public sector," said Towne. ”Recently, this has led to an interest in family law and protecting the rights of children.”
Among the Miami Scholars present at the luncheon was 1L student Blaine Remmick, who worked on environmental and social justice in Nebraska. He shared his passion for exploring the ways to redistribute resources in a more equitable way.
3L Caitlin Giles reminded the students that there is always a way to fit pro bono into your career pathway. A volunteer with Empowered Youth since her first year, Giles encouraged the new Scholars to find a couple of hours to engage in service.
For 1L Nalani Gordon, years of teaching led her to take the step to law school at Miami Law. Dedicated to educational access and equality, she looks forward to applying what she learned in the classroom, as a teacher, and finding ways to improve upon services and systems for children in schools.
While funding to public interest programs is on the decline nationally, Miami Law and the Miami Scholars Public Interest Program continue to invest in outstanding individuals who have committed their lives to effectuate change.