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Miami Scholars Public Interest Program Showcases its Exceptional Students at Welcome Luncheon

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Miami Scholars at the Welcome Reception

Miami Scholars at the Welcome Reception(Photo: Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

The Miami Scholars Public Interest Program kicked off the year with a welcome luncheon, featuring 47 Miami Scholars and program directors Marni Lennon and Myles Cochran.

Miami Scholars are students who, along with exceptional academic credentials, have a demonstrated commitment to public interest and thereby been accepted to the program and received a significant scholarship to Miami Law. Accepted members come from over 35 different undergraduate schools, over 10 different graduate schools and have worked and/or studied in over 10 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 overwhelmed by the number of passionate and intellectual students with such diverse interests in one room," said Miami Scholar Caitlin Griffin who was a Teach for America mathematics instructor before attending law school. "The fact that the Miami Scholars program is the common thread among us makes me grateful to be a part of this program."

For 3L Zachary Ludens, the Miami Scholars Public Interest Program offers an invaluable support system to its members. "Whether it is putting you in contact with a practitioner that someone knows, helping you create your dream job, or moving your resume to the top of the pile with the judge or agency that you are applying to, the Miami Scholars program puts everyone in the best position to succeed and reach their dreams," said Ludens.

Among the Miami Scholars present at the luncheon was 1L student Elizabeth Fata, who worked on sustenance issues in salmon restocking for remote Inuit villages in Alaska, and Valerie Toth, who previously worked with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), a nonprofit foundation within the Organization of American States, where her work involved developing and strengthening public-private sector alliances.

For published author and former minister, Trinity Jordan, the Miami Scholars Public Interest Program is what led him to uproot his family from Utah to Miami for law school.

"After researching law schools across the country, Miami Law became my destination of choice based on the award winning public interest program Miami Scholars," said Jordan. "After coming to Miami Law I was even more impressed with the caliber and backgrounds of the Miami Scholars. While listening to the stories of the Miami Scholars I knew that I was sitting amongst the next generation of change agents in the legal world."

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, nearly doubling in size over the past 3 years.