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Six students named Public Service Scholars with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

Six students have been selected to serve as Public Service Scholars for the 2011–2012 year with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at the University of Texas School of Law.

The Law School awards scholarships each year to a group of outstanding students with a demonstrated commitment to studying, promoting, and working in public service. Each student receives a $4,000 scholarship and works closely with the Justice Center on public-service initiatives. “We are pleased to support this impressive group of scholars, who are already leaders in the public service arena both inside and outside the Law School,” said Eden Harrington, Director of the Justice Center.

The Justice Center's 2011–2012 Public Service Scholars are (front row, left to right) Sara Puls, Amelia Ruiz Fischer, Samantha Jarvis, and Joanne Heisey and (back row) Christine Nishimura and Michael Garemko.

The following students were selected as the 2011–2012 Public Service Scholars:

  • Amelia Ruiz Fischer, ’12, who graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, is involved in the Domestic Violence Survivors’ Support Network and Street Law, and has participated in the Immigration Clinic and the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. During her law school summers she has worked for the Texas Civil Rights Project in its Austin office and with a law firm in Spain. Prior to law school she worked for American Gateways in Austin.
  • Michael Garemko, ’12, who graduated magna cum laude from Emory University, is editor in chief of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. During his law school summers he has interned with the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, the Texas Attorney General’s Civil Medicaid Fraud Division, and U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez. Prior to law school he worked as a policy director, legislative director, and chief of staff at the Texas Legislature.
  • Joanne Heisey, ’13, who graduated cum laude from Boston University, participates in the Capital Punishment Clinic. During her first year at the Law School she volunteered with the Texas Civil Rights Project, where she also worked last summer. Before law school she interned with the Human Rights Watch West Africa Regional Office.
  • Samantha Jarvis, ’14, the Justice Center’s inaugural First Year Public Service Scholar, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas-Pan American and later obtained a second BA in art history from the University of Houston. Before law school she worked as an outreach coordinator for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Edinburg and volunteered with several art museums and arts groups in Houston.
  • Christine Nishimura, ’12, a University of Michigan graduate, is managing editor of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and copresident of Youth Court, and has participated in the Children’s Rights Clinic. During her law school summers she has worked for the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in Los Angeles and Disability Rights Texas in Austin. Before law school she taught in Huntington Park, California, with Teach for America.
  • Sara Puls, ’12, who graduated summa cum laude from New York University, is a legal research and writing teaching quizmaster, interns with the Texas Defender Service assisting with capital cases, and works for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid as an access to justice associate. During her law school summers she has interned with the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender and the Texas Advocacy Project.

About the Justice Center:

The Justice Center is dedicated to promoting equal justice for all through legal education. The Justice Center works toward this goal by educating students, faculty, and attorneys about public-interest legal issues; teaching students about the need to increase access to justice; creating pro bono opportunities for the Law School community; providing support to students and graduates engaged in public service; and conducting research into legal issues affecting underserved individuals and communities.

Contact: Eden Harrington, Director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, 512-232-7068, eharrington@law.utexas.edu.

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