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Pepperdine Funds Public Interest Work for 43 Law Students

Pepperdine University and the School of Law have given more than $123,000 to students to fund national and international public interest work this summer. Forty-three students will work in 22 different locations ranging from downtown Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., Bulgaria, Uganda, and Thailand.

The public interest stipends come from several sources at the school, including the student group Advocates for Public Interest Law; the Dean's Excellence Fund; the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics; and the University's Lilly Endowment. In addition to the $73,000 raised from these groups, alumnus Michael Bidart has given $50,000 to further public interest work.

The School of Law deans support the students' initiatives, which run the gamut from legal community service to international human rights. "We are very proud of our 43 students who are engaging in public interest work across the world this summer," says Vice Dean Tim Perrin. "At Pepperdine we take very seriously our obligation to serve those in need whether locally, nationally, or internationally."


Sixteen of the 43 students will live and work abroad for up to 12 weeks. Three students will spend their summers in Bulgaria: Brad Alexander will work at the Center for Law and Ethical Research at the Rule of Law Institute; Brad King will work at the Legal Clinic for Refugees and Immigrants; and Jesse Clark will work at the Human Rights Protection Center.

Another three students will work in Rwanda, Jamaica, and Thailand. Kerry Docherty will spend three weeks with the organization Sisters of Rwanda, while Sessi Bonsi will work for the Jamaica Employers Federation, assisting employers with information on policies, conditions of employment, rates of pay, general and specific HR practices, and Industrial Relations matters. Tanya Kiatkulpiboone will spend 10 weeks with The Well and Servantworks ministries in Thailand, providing counseling, training, and job development to Thai bar girls, sex workers, and their family members.

Ten students will journey to Uganda to work with the country's chief justice and continue the work of digitizing Uganda's judicial system. Farida Chehata, Julie Dilworth, Emily Smith, Anthony Greco, Kristin Heinrich, Greer Illingworth, Matthew Joens, Brian Link, Ryan Wheeler, and Micheline Zamora will spend 6 to 8 weeks serving the people of Uganda.


From the nation's capitol to the West Coast, four students will do public interest work state side. Ian Davis and Holly Phillips will work in Washington, D.C. this summer. Ian will work in microfinance, spending 10 weeks at the Grameen Foundation, and Holly will work for the national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Kea Asato will work for a Federal Public Defender in Hawaii, and Daniel Himebaugh will work for the Pacific Legal Foundation in Seattle, Washington.


Twenty-six students will work in California to serve communities such as Los Angeles. Erin Tallent, Scott Karpf, and John Napier will work at Pepperdine's Legal Aid Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles.

Jackie Domac will work for Public Counsel, Los Angeles, and Jennifer Clark and Lacy Garrison will work for the Children's Rights Adoption Project at Public Counsel. Eight students will work for the Disability Rights Legal Center: Colleen Vitali, Kristen Nelson, Hemavathy Perumal, Kyle Symanowitz, Kyle Symanowitz, Joseph Lewis, Sarah Wild, and Linda Echegaray. Linda will work for the Education Advocacy Project for the center.
Also in Los Angeles is Nidya Aldana, who will work at the Learning Rights Law Center; Cory Carter, who will work for Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers; Vanessa Guzman, who will work at the UCLA Labor Center; and Allen Vainshtein, who will work at Bet Tzekek, Los Angeles.

In the area of children's rights, students Rebecca Lee, Jackie Bosworth, and Karen Manabo will work at the Children's Law Center, and Vanessa Van Auken will work at the Alliance for Children's Rights, Los Angeles.

Outside of Los Angeles, second-year student Kate Petri will assist with immigration and asylum work at the Orange County Public Law Center; Jonah King will work for the City Attorney's Office in San Jose; Katherine Burris will work for a Public Defender in San Diego; and Tara Hashemi will work for the Children's Law Center of Monterey Park.