Katherine DiVasto L’21
Kate’s focuses on work alongside youth, especially court-involved youth, to empower them and their communities harmed by systemic racism and other intersectional forms of oppression. Kate does this through focus on advocating alongside youth and their loved ones for improved access to personalized educational, employment, mental health, and community resources. Kate’s interests in youth justice stem from her own experiences growing up in a low income background and her experiences collaborating with numerous resilient youth whether in teaching, mentoring, research, or legal advocacy projects.
Prior to law school, Kate attended Harvard College. In addition to volunteering in teaching based projects, Kate also researched ways to improve youths’ access to effective therapies at the Weisz Laboratory for Youth Mental Health. Kate was also a 2015 Arthur Liman Summer Pubic Interest Intern at Greater Boston Legal Service’s Children’s Disability Project where she advocated for youths’ access to disability benefits. After graduation, Kate pursued advocacy in the clinical psychology research field for two years as a lab manager for the Laboratory for Clinical and Developmental Studies at Columbia University’s Teachers College. In this role, she assisted various projects aimed to improve prevention of suicide and self-harm among youths and co-authored an article about addressing gaps between researchers and practitioners to expand access to effective therapies.
Now at Penn Law, Kate is actively involved in multiple pro bono projects focused on assisting individuals before, during, and after involvement with the criminal legal system. Kate is also chair of First Generation Professionals at Penn Law. Kate spent her 1L summer with the Youth Justice Project of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia working alongside youth on employment discrimination claims, disability benefit claims, and expungement and sealing petitions in light of new Clean Slate legislation. During her 2L summer Kate interned with the Civil Action Practice of the Bronx Defenders on projects related to security of housing and public benefits for residents of the Bronx.