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Penn Law postgraduate fellowships launch public interest careers

September 26, 2016

Six Penn Law graduates and alumni are hitting the ground running in their public interest careers with the help of postgraduate fellowships from Penn Law.

The Law School’s fellowships fall into two categories: Project-based Fellowships and Catalyst Fellowships. Project-based Fellowships enable students and recent alumni to partner with a nonprofit organization and design a one-year project to address a particular client need. Catalyst Fellowships support students who obtain postgraduate volunteer positions in government, nonprofit, or international organizations. Both programs are designed to launch graduates’ careers and to prepare them for full-time staff positions at their host organization or beyond.

“Through these fellowship programs, our graduates can dive into impactful work with partner organizations that could not otherwise host them,” said Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean for Public Interest Programs and Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. “It is a game-changing launch pad for our graduates, and a meaningful capacity-builder for our host organizations. We are truly grateful for the support that has helped us develop a postgraduate fellowship program that facilitates career-launching opportunities while addressing the needs of underserved communities nationally and globally.”

Four graduates and alumni were awarded Project-based Fellowships for this year.

Isabel Abreu L’16 is working with HIAS Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to expand advocacy and support to immigrant women who are survivors of interpersonal violence in Bucks County. She will work to stabilize her clients’ immigration status, coordinate services for them, and provide training and advocacy to law enforcement officials and to A Women’s Place, a local women’s shelter, about how to protect immigrant victims’ rights under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).

Caroline Buck L’16 is working with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. Teens are uniquely vulnerable to being removed from their homes and placed in foster care — often resulting in multiple placements and poor overall outcomes for youth. Buck will be advocating for improved prevention services for teens and their families before foster care placement becomes necessary, as well as working to ameliorate the risk of future placement after teens return home.

Alison Hollenbeck L’14 is working at the Detained Immigrant Advocacy Project at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Tacoma, Washington, which prevents immigrants from being detained in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma due to poverty and lack of representation. Through direct representation in bond hearings, appellate advocacy, the creation of practice guides, and the bolstering of social services, the project will secure the release of more eligible immigrants — who are more than five times as likely to win their underlying immigration cases from outside detention than from within.

Marie Logan L’15 is working in San Francisco at Earthjustice’s Coal Program, where she will address the impact of American dependence on coal-fired power on the environment by engaging in litigation and regulatory advocacy to protect communities in the proximity of coal-fired power plants.

In addition, two recent graduates were awarded Catalyst Fellowships.

Matthew Hiltibran L’16 is working with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in Chicago, where he will be providing direct representation in child protection hearings, as well in mediations and meetings with caseworkers and other professionals.

Dori Molozanov L’16 is working with the National Health Law Program in Washington, D.C., where she will advocate for access to quality health care and work to protect the legal rights of low-income and underserved populations. She will also provide technical assistance to legal services providers, community-based organizations, and advocates throughout the country.

The Toll Public Interest Center is the hub of public service at Penn Law. TPIC oversees the Penn Law pro bono program, facilitating a wide array of pro bono and public service opportunities that focus on impactful service, personal enrichment, and professional skill development. In addition to administering the pro bono graduation requirement, TPIC is home to all of Penn Law’s public interest programming, including the Toll Public Interest Scholars program.