Headshots of fellowship recipients

Texas Law Graduates Receive Prestigious Public Service Fellowships

Six graduates from the Class of 2022, along with two 2021 Texas Law alumna, have received national postgraduate fellowships to work for the public good. The recent graduates are: Michelle Juma, Carolina Rivera Nelson, Zoraima Pelaez, Liam Veazey, Veronikah Warms, and Samantha Westrum. Jill Applegate and Chloe Kempf represent the Texas Law Class of 2021.

“We are immeasurably proud of our Texas Law graduates starting their public interest legal careers as postgraduate fellows,” said Mary Murphy, public interest career counselor with the Career Services Office. “These competitive national postgraduate fellowships recognize our graduates’ impressive work and commitment to social justice.”

Jill Applegate ’21 has been awarded a 2022 Skadden Fellowship to work with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem in New York. Her fellowship project will focus on providing direct representation for immigrants who have received deportation orders because of criminal convictions but have the right to remain in the United States due to changes in law or constitutional defects with the underlying convictions. Applegate, Texas Law’s inaugural Wayne Reaud Public Interest Scholar, participated in the Immigration, Civil Rights, and Housing Clinics. She served as co-president of the Public Interest Law Association, co-organizer of the GRITS Conference, associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and was a Class of 2021 Chancellor. Applegate interned with the Holistic Defense Team of the Capital Area Private Defender Service in Austin, the Detention Project at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, and with the Immigration Defense Practice at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. She clerks for the Honorable Robert Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

Chloe Kempf ’21 is part of the 2022 Class of Gallogy Family Foundation Public Interest Fellows. She will be defending and expanding the rights of LGBTQ+ students in Texas by challenging discriminatory discipline and over-policing in schools through direct representation, community outreach, and impact litigation while working at the ACLU of Texas in Houston. At Texas Law, Kempf volunteered for a wide range of pro bono projects, served as an associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and was a Teaching Quizmaster. She participated in the Civil Rights and Environmental Clinics and interned with Texas Legal Services Center’s Impact Litigation Team. Kempf, who interned with Disability Rights Texas in Austin and the ACLU of Texas in Houston, clerks for the Honorable Marina Garcia Marmolejo with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Michelle Juma ’22 received a fellowship from the American Constitution Society to work on criminal legal reform, civil rights policy work, and programming for the organization. At Texas Law, she was involved with the Interscholastic Moot Court and Mock Trial, Board of Advocates, the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, Women’s Law Caucus, Law Students for Black Lives, the Lloyd Lochridge American Inn of Court, Texas Law Fellowships, and First-Generation Law Students. She also served as a staff editor of the American Journal of Criminal Law. Juma has interned with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, Office of the Attorney General of Texas’s Criminal Appeals and Torts Litigation Divisions, City of Austin, Travis County District Attorney’s Office, and the Mithoff Pro Bono Program at Texas Law.

Zoraima Pelaez ’22 will work at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project as a recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, sponsored by Bruce Kuhlick & Robyn Lipton. At Texas Law, she participated in the Civil Rights and Supreme Court Clinics, served as president of the Texas Law chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS), was co-president of the Texas Law chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, was board member of the Public Interest Law Association, served on the Student Advisory Board for the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, and was the managing editor of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights. Pelaez also sits on the board of Jane’s Due Process, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and is a Next Generation Leader with the American Constitution Society. She has interned with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, ACLU of Texas, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Carolina Rivera Nelson ’22 is part of the 2022 Class of Gallogy Family Foundation Public Interest Fellows, where she will be advocating for Latino and English-Learner students affected by COVID-19 learning losses and trauma. Her advocacy will include the use of direct representation, advocacy, and community outreach while she also will work at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Washington, D.C. At Texas Law, Nelson participated in the Immigration and Civil Rights Clinics, served as vice-president of the Public Interest Law Association, was on the Student Advisory Board for the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, was associate editor of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, was a staff editor of the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy, was a member of the Chicano Hispanic Law Students’ Association, and was an organizer for Change It Up!, Pro Bono in January, and GRITS. She interned with RAICES, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, and MALDEF, and will be clerking for the Honorable Jesus Bernal with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California after her fellowship.

Liam Veazey ’22 is part of the 2022 Class of Gallogy Family Foundation Public Interest Fellows where he will be working for Legal Assistance of Western New York focusing on helping low-income residents in rural Western New York gain greater access to mortgages, low-interest credit, and community development investments. At Texas Law, Veazey participated in the Environmental and Housing Clinics, served on the student advisory board for the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and the board of the Environmental Law Society, was vice president of the Texas Law chapter of the American Constitution Society, was co-organizer of GRITS, served as a UT student liaison to Law Students for Climate Accountability, and was a senior staff editor of the Texas Environmental Law Journal. He also participated in the Texas Law Pro Bono in January, Texas Law Expunction Project, Texas Law INCLUDE, Supported Decision Making Project and the Street Law High School Project as part of the Texas Law Mithoff Pro Bono Program.

Veronikah Warms ’22 is the 2022 Manne Family Fellow with the Texas Civil Rights Project where she will be working in the Voting Rights program helping Texans disproportionately affected by the ballot access provisions vindicate their right to vote in Texas elections. At Texas Law, Warms participated in the Supreme Court Clinic, and was a member of the Public Interest Law Association, Assault & Flattery, and Supreme Chorus. She also served as chief articles editor of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and as publication editor of the American Journal of Criminal Law. Warms interned for Texas State Senator Royce West and served as a legislative aide to Texas State Representative Chris Turner.

Samantha Westrum ’22 will be joining the ACLU of Virginia as a Dunn Legal Fellow, where she will work on issues surrounding criminal legal reform, preserving and expanding voting rights, and protecting transgender children in schools. At Texas Law, Westrum was a Pro Bono Scholar, participated in the Housing Clinic, and served as Articles Editor of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. She interned with the ACLU Disability Rights Program, Disability Rights Texas, and the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.