The University program in Law And Public Affairs has chosen five undergraduate students, Kabbas Azhar ’18, Joy Dartey ’18, Steven Gomez ’19, Alice Mar-Abe ’18, and Jessica Quinter ’18 as the 2017 Arthur Liman Fellows in Public Interest Law.
The fellowship allows these five students to spend 8-10 weeks of the summer interning with a group that supports otherwise-unnoticed causes. The fellows will attend the Arthur Liman Public Interest Law Colloquium at Yale Law School on April 6 and 7. At this event, the five University fellows will be able to meet various individuals involved with law, as well as fellows from other schools also participating in the program. According to a LAPA press release, the fellowship is funded by the Liman Foundation, directed by Emily Liman '85.
Mar-Abe is concentrating in policits and is also pursuing a certificate in African American Studies. She is from Seattle, and is the co-president of Students for Prison Education and Reform.
“Well, I found out about [the fellowship] from a good friend who does the same extracurricular activity as me," Mar-Abe said. "So, one of the former presidents of Students for Prison Education and Reform got this last year, and she recommended that I apply for it.”
When asked what she hoped to accomplish with her summer funding, she said, broadly, she hopes to “get experience at different kinds of workplaces.” Last summer, Mar-Abe interned at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice in Newark.
“I’ve heard that the Liman Colloquium at Yale is a really exciting event to attend, so I’m really excited for that,” she said. However, she also said that she was excited to meet some people in the field she plans to go into. She added that keeping in touch with the contacts that she has made has been a rewarding experience.
Azhar is also majoring in politics and is also pursuing a certificate in Values and Public Life. From Belleville, N.J., Azhar also participates in SPEAR, the Global Development Network, and 2D, the vegetarian co-op. Some of his public service has included working at refugee camps in Greece and working with mentally handicapped children in Senegal through the University's Bridge Year Program. Through the Petey Greene Program, he also tutored inmates at various correctional facilities, according to a LAPA press release.
Azhar was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Quinter is majoring in the Wilson School and is pursuing a certificate in Values and Public Life. She is the founder and president of Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice. She is also the executive director of Fuzzy Dice Improv Comedy and is a research assistant for both the Politics Department and the Princeton Baby Lab.
"I've always been interested in social justice issues, particularly in reproductive justice, and I'm also really interested in going to law school and know I want to work in public interest law," Quinter said. "It's also hard to secure funding for those kinds of internships and jobs, which are often low paying. Any kind of network I can become a part of to keep my dream of working in public interest law going is great."
Quinter said that while she's not sure if she wants to work on the policy advocacy or litigation, she does know she wants to work for Planned Parenthood, the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, or the Center for Reproductive Rights.
"Opportunities like this are often few and far between," Quinter said. "These days, some of the top law schools like Harvard and Yale are trying to help students like us go into public interest law, but there are still huge barriers because a lot of people come out of law school and can’t afford to do public interest law."
Another winner, Dartey, is majoring in sociology and pursuing certificates in both African Studies and African American Studies, according to a LAPA press release. She is from Philadelphia, and on campus, she works with the Scholars Institute Fellows Program and the Community Based-Learning Initiative. She is also a Peer Career Adviser.
Dartey applied to the Liman Fellowship program in order to understand how law and policy can affect challenges facing first generation and low income students.
"Not only does the Liman Fellowship allow me serve underrepresented groups, but it introduces me to a large network of public interest advocates, and this will undoubtedly help me grow personally and professionally," she said. "I am interested in finding ways of dismantling structural barriers to educational attainment and this opportunity will expose me to the ways in which this can be done."
Fellowship winner Gomez is considering majoring in the history department and pursuing a certificate in Spanish Language and Culture. He is the treasurer of the Butler College Council, and is also a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Service Committee. Before attending the University, Steven interned for the Civil Court of New York.
Gomez was unavailable for comment at the of publication.