Yiyang, who goes by Yaya, is a perfect example of why law students’ summers are as important as their school years. For the past two years, Yaya has spent her summers in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and the positive experiences she has had there have led her to desire a full-time position after she graduates. Explaining her goal to continue at the DOJ, Yaya praises her colleagues, describing them as “a tight-knit, driven group,” with deep passion and commitment to defending civil rights.
Yaya’s story also reveals how formative undergraduate public service can be. While Yaya has always been interested in working in the nonprofit sector, it was her time with the Philip Brooks House Association during her years at Harvard University that turned her toward public interest law. The four years she spent there exposed to her to a “feeling of accomplishment and good will” that she hopes to replicate throughout a career in public service.
Yaya, like her peers, has integrated herself wholly into the public interest community at Penn during her three years here. She currently serves as a Shift Manager for the Custody and Support Assistance Clinic and volunteers with the Criminal Records Expungement Program. Yaya is also a board member of the Equal Justice Foundation, and has served as the Foundation’s Auction Chair.