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March 1, 2006

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, 512-471-7330
Event contact: Eden Harrington, Director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, UT Law, 512-232-7068, eharrington@law.utexas.edu.

Five Students Named Public Service Scholars with the Justice Center at UT Law

Photo of Public Service Scholars
From L-R: Taylor Falls Olson, John Tustin, Kathryn Karam, Elizabeth Wagoner, and Ashley Morris.

AUSTIN, Texas―Five students have been selected to serve as Public Service Scholars with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at The University of Texas School of Law. They are Kathryn Karam, Ashley Morris, Taylor Falls Olson, John Tustin, and Elizabeth Wagoner.

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 Scholar receives a $5,000 scholarship and works closely with the Justice Center on public service initiatives.

The Scholars were announced by Bill Whitehurst, '70, on Thurs., March 2, at a reception honoring Judge William Wayne Justice as he celebrated his birthday in the Jamail Pavilion at the Law School. Whitehurst is Co-Chair of the Advisory Council for the Justice Center.

"We are very pleased that the Law School offers these significant scholarships annually to recognize outstanding students and future public servants," said Eden Harrington, Director of the Justice Center. "This year's Scholars are remarkably dedicated to public interest law and we look forward to working with them."

The following students were selected as the 2005–2006 Public Service Scholars:

Kathyrn Karam, '07, currently works at the Political Asylum Project of Austin as a recipient of the Baron & Budd Scholarship, which supports public interest work by law students. Last summer she interned with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, a non-profit referral service that helps the working poor obtain free legal services. Karam is an active member of the Survivor Support Network at the Law School, which assists victims of domestic violence. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity University.

Ashley Morris, '06, a graduate of Columbia University, worked for the Political Asylum Project of Austin and as a bilingual elementary school teacher before attending law school. Last summer, she interned with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. She has also worked with the Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit in New York and with the Texas Civil Rights Project. At the Law School, Morris has served as a Human Rights Scholar with the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and has participated in the Immigration Clinic, the Capital Punishment Clinic, and Street Law. After graduation, she will clerk for Judge Andrew Hanen on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Taylor Falls Olson, '06, who graduated from UT-Austin with highest honors, has worked in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, the Family Justice Division of the Travis County District Attorney's Office, and the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office. She also interned with Texas House Rep. Terry Keel. At the Law School, Olson is Vice-President of Texas Law Fellowships, a program coordinator for the Office of Student Life, a member of the Survivor Support Network, and has participated for two semesters in the Criminal Defense Clinic. After graduation Olson will work with the Miami District Attorney's Office, where she hopes to prosecute child sex crimes.

John Tustin, '06, graduated from Rice University in 1998. Before attending law school he volunteered for the Peace Corps teaching math and science in Central Africa, and worked as a legislative assistant to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. After his first year, Tustin interned at the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment as a Latin American Democracy Fellow. Last summer he interned at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. In the fall he studied at the Federal University of Para in Belem, Brazil, and worked at Imazon, a nonprofit organization, researching alternative sanctions to environmental crimes. Tustin currently participates in the Immigration Clinic.

Elizabeth Wagoner, '07, is the chair of the UT-Austin chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and is active in the UT-Student Labor Action Project/Student-Farmworker Alliance and the Conscientious Objectors' GI Rights Hotline. Last summer she interned with Make the Road By Walking, a nonprofit in New York, where she assisted clients with Fair Labor Standards Act claims. Last fall she interned at the Central Texas Immigrant Worker Rights Center. This summer she will work with the New York Legal Department of UNITE-HERE, a labor union, as a Peggy Browning Fellow, and will return to Make the Road By Walking. Wagoner graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University.