Law School and Other Students Gain Valuable Public Interest Experience at Nonprofit Legal Advocacy Agency

Posted on

August 31, 2016

Edie Surtees, Communications Director

Each summer Disability Rights Texas has the privilege of hosting several talented law school and other students as interns and externs at its various locations across Texas. We thank each one of them for the invaluable work they did during their time with us. We wish them all the best as they start up their studies once again.

In Our Austin Office

Reema Ali

Reema Ali is from Austin, Texas. She attended The University of Texas at Austin where she received a degree in history and economics. While at college, Reema graduated as a Dean’s Distinguished Graduate and was awarded for her senior history thesis. She also volunteered for two years as a legal intern at the Equal Justice Center. She is currently attending The University of Texas School of Law in Austin where she will graduate in 2018. Afterwards she hopes to practice as a public interest attorney.

Marissa LattaMarissa Latta is originally from Denver but currently resides in Austin. Marissa graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in psychology. During her time at Georgetown, she was an academic advisor to incoming freshmen, tutored elementary school students, and volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with disabilities. Before attending law school Marissa worked as a case manager at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless as well as Austin Travis County Integral Care. She is currently a student at The University of Texas Law School in Austin where she plans to graduate in 2018. She hopes to become a public interest attorney working on issues related to mental health, employment, and housing.

Kate McLaughlinKate McLaughlin is from Austin, Texas. She attended Southwestern University where she received a Bachelors degree in English. While at Southwestern, Kate volunteered at the credit recovery program at Georgetown High School, won a literary criticism award for her Capstone research paper, and spoke at her Graduation representing Phi Beta Kappa. She is currently a student at The University of Texas Law School in Austin where she plans to graduate in 2018. She is still undecided about her plans after law school but believes she will end up focusing on either family or elder law.

Rowdy KowalikRowdy Kowalik was born and raised in Falls City, Texas. He is currently attending Rhodes College where he is majoring in history and double minoring in economics and African-American studies. In his first year at Rhodes he received All Academic Honors as a student athlete. Rowdy is currently a part of a program that helps disadvantaged high school students go to college. He was named Political Science Student of the Year during his senior year of high school. He plans to graduate from Rhodes in 2019 and then attend law school and pursue a career in public interest law.

Kwame MensahKwame Mensah is from Glenpool, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma where he majored in political science. In college, Kawme received the University of Oklahoma Student Life Outstanding Community Service Award as well as the 2012 African-American Student Life Stellar Collegian Award. He also was recognized as 2014 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. College Brother of the Year. He is attending The University of Texas Law School in Austin and is currently undecided about the kind of law he hopes to pursue but is interested in employment law as well as public policy.

Wesley HartmanWesley Hartman is from Mansfield, Texas. He graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington with a degree in music. While in college, Wesley had the opportunity to perform with world-class musicians such as Darmon Meader, Janis Siegel, and Bobby McFerrin. He also received the Pro Bono Beacon Award for being one of the three first year law school students with the most hours dedicated to pro bono work. He is now at The University of Texas Law School in Austin and will graduate in 2018. Wesley hopes to be an attorney that works in disability law and mental health law.

Michael DarlingMichael Darling is from Corpus Christi, Texas. He received a degree in English writing and rhetoric from St. Edward’s University. Michael has a collection of poetry published in the academic journal component to an on-campus student academic conference called SOURCE. He was also in an alt-prog band during his junior and senior year that played at Austin’s popular music venue Stubb’s multiple times. He is now attending The University of Texas School of Law and will graduate in 2017. He plans to be in private practice.

In Our Lubbock Office

Brianna RicoBrianna Rico is from Midland, Texas. She is currently double majoring in English and psychology at Texas Tech University. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and has made the Dean’s list every semester so far. She expects to graduate in 2018 and go on to attend law school.

In Our Houston Office

Rachel SullivanRachel Sullivan is from Conroe, Texas. She attended The University of Texas at Austin and received a degree in international relation and global studies. During her time at UT she studied abroad in Lyon, France, with the UT French Department, participated in the Archer Fellowship Program, and spent a semester taking classes and interning in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Department of Education. Rachel is now studying at the University of Houston Law Center and will graduate in 2018. She plans to become a public interest attorney.

Taft RobinsonTaft Robinson is from Conroe, Texas. She went to school at Kaplan University where she graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. In 2015 Taft received a scholarship for being in the top 10 percent of her class in her first year of law school. She is also the review editor for Thurgood Marshal Journal on Gender, Race and Justice and is the proud mother of 10 children. She is currently attending Thurgood Marshall School of Law and is expected to graduate in May 2017. Taft is not yet sure what area of law she will practice because she has found many of them to be quite interesting, but she is exploring hospital compliance and public interest. She believes her medical background and 15 years of knowledge and experience for an LLM will be useful in the future.

Stephanie DukeStephanie Duke was born in Texas but then moved to Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in philosophy and began her education career in Colorado. Stephanie is now a certified special education teacher and educational diagnostician. She decided to go to law school after fourteen years of working in public schools, specifically serving students with disabilities and supporting their parents and the educational community in addressing these students’ needs. Stephanie hopes that her combination of experience and legal education will make her an invaluable attorney for children and their families. When she is not working, Stephanie enjoys time with her family, riding her horse, and watching college football.

In Our Dallas Office

Amanda Ascoli Amanda Ascoli is from Clarksville, Maryland. She is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in English. She was named Volunteer of the Year at Penn State for her work in promoting literacy and life skills for people with disabilities. A more recent accomplishment for Amanda is that she had the courage to pack up her car and move halfway across the country for law school. She is now a student at Southern Methodist University Dedman (SMU) School of Law and plans to graduate in 2018. She hopes to continue with public interest work and “fight the good fight” just like all of the brilliant attorneys and advocates at DRTx.

Erin Leamon is from Argyle, Texas. She has a degree in government and a minor in history from The University of Texas at Austin. Erin made the Dean’s List and was a member of National Honor Society and Rotary Club. She is currently attending SMU Dedman School of Law and plans to graduate in 2018. After law school Erin would like to pursue a career in governmental policy.

Elicia Grilley GreenElicia Grilley Green is from Denver City, Texas. She has lived in San Antonio for the past 15 years but still calls Denver City her home. Elicia studied at the University of Incarnate Word where she graduated with a degree in applied arts and sciences. She is also a licensed dental hygienist. Prior to law school, she specialized in treating patients with physical and mental disabilities and was an active volunteer at The Arc of San Antonio. Elicia studies at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas and will graduate in 2018. She is still undecided on the type of law she will practice but healthcare and public interest law are her current interests.

Martin KampMartin Kamp is from Dallas, Texas. He graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in history. He also graduated as Magna Cum Laude and with honors from the UT honors program. As a first year law school student at the UT School of Law he received the Pro Bono Beacon Award for being one of the three first year law school students with the most hours dedicated to pro bono work. He plans to graduate from law school in 2018 and would like to work in disability and mental health law.

In Our El Paso Office

Lucy ClarkLucy Clark is from El Paso, Texas. Lucy has received a B.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, as well as a M.Ed. with specialization in secondary reading from Eastern New Mexico University. She worked as a teacher and teacher union leader for 35 years before beginning law school. She now attends Texas Tech School of Law and will graduate in 2017. She hopes to pursue a career in public interest law.

In Our San Antonio Office

Leon RauchLeon Rauch was born in Los Angeles, California, but has lived almost his entire life in San Antonio, Texas. Leon Graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts with a double major in History and Religion. At Amherst he graduated Cum Laude for his thesis in history and wrote for the student newspaper and student magazine. He is now attending SMU Dedman School of Law with a graduation date of 2018. His intent is to become a public interest or government attorney. Leon is interested in working in rural and underserved areas in the Southwest or one of the Mountain States.

Brittany HarwellBrittany Harwell grew up in Colorado and received her Bachelor of Arts from Seattle Pacific University in 2010. Last year she was on the board for Georgetown Youth Advocacy, and next year she will be a student attorney in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Before going to law school Brittany was a middle school special education teacher in San Antonio. When she is not busy going to school Brittany enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with friends. Brittany is currently a third year student at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C. She hopes to pursue a career in juvenile justice and education law.

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Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Our mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit www.DRTx.org for more information on our scope of services.