Strong Student Demand for Texas Law’s New Guaranteed Summer Funding Program

In fall 2021, Texas Law announced guaranteed summer funding for students working in the public sector, a first for the school. The new Summer Public Service Program (SPSP) provides a stipend to every student working in an unpaid internship in the public sector, including nonprofits, government organizations, and legislative offices.

Student response to the new program has been overwhelming. In its first summer, 169 students are participating in the SPSP. Most internships are for 10 weeks, while a small number are for five weeks. Students are working with a wide variety of organizations, including public defense and prosecution offices, legislative offices, legal aid offices, and legal advocacy organizations. Many students are working in Texas, but out-of-state participation is strong, with students working with organizations from Dillingham, Alaska to Bartow, Florida, from the Bay Area to New York City, and even in The Hague, Netherlands.

The SPSP serves as an umbrella for existing and new fellowships created through funding from Texas Law Fellowships (a student-run organization), the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, gifts from generous donors, and grants. The Justice Center administers the program.

“The Law School is very pleased to help support our students as they gain valuable legal experience and devote themselves to public service this summer,” said Eden Harrington, director of the Justice Center. “We thank the generous donors who assisted students by creating stipends this summer, and we look forward to further developing this program in the coming years.”

As part of the program, the following students have been selected for summer 2022 named fellowships by the Justice Center, Rapoport Center, and Texas Law Fellowships:

Justice Center

Baron & Budd Public Interest Summer Fellowships (all class of 2024)
Amaris Diaz, Disability Rights TX, Austin, TX
Priyam Madhukar, ACLU of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Michelle Nguyen, Texas Appleseed, Austin, TX
Lauren Schoen, Center for Reproductive Rights, NY, NY
Crystal Tran, ACLU of Texas, Houston, TX

Edward Lee Elmore Summer Fellowship in Public Interest Law
Zacharie Kump ’23, Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Texas, Capital Habeas Unit, Dallas, TX

G. Rollie White Trust Public Interest Summer Fellowships
Ana Cruz ‘24, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
Apurva Gunturu ‘24, Global Labor Justice/ International Labor Rights Forum, Washington, DC
Leah Kokenes ‘24, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, NY, NY
Geran Landen ‘23, Alaska Public Defender Agency, Dillingham, AK
Blake Welborn ‘23, ACLU of Texas, Houston, TX

Stuart Henry Environmental Law Fellowship
Chloe Gossett ‘24, Lone Star Legal Aid, Environmental Justice Team, Houston, TX

Whitehurst Public Interest Summer Fellowships (all class of 2023)
Kirsten Budwine, Travis County Public Defender’s Office, Austin, TX
McKenzie Green, Mecklenburg County Public Defender, Charlotte, NC
Claudia Gutierrez, Save Our Springs Alliance, Austin, TX
Grace Thomas, Fair Elections Center, Washington, DC
Kenna Titus, National Women’s Law Center, Washington, DC

Rapoport Center

Nina Colombotos ’24, Workers Defense Project, Austin, TX
Duriba Khan ’23, Reprieve US, Washington, DC
Carson Smith ’24, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), San Antonio, TX

Texas Law Fellowships (all class of 2024)

Justin Atkinson, Legal Services NYC, Brooklyn, NY
Araceli Garcia, MALDEF, San Antonio, TX
Yael Fisher, The Lawyering Project, Brooklyn, NY
Nikola Marcich, American Gateways, Austin, TX

For more information about the SPSP, visit