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Gambit recognizes contributions of three alumni in latest issue

November 5, 2010

Three Loyola University New Orleans alumni were named to Gambit Weekly’s 13th annual “40 Under 40,” which profiles “some of the young people who are making remarkable contributions to the New Orleans metropolitan region.”

Perryn Olson ’03, Nikki Demetria Thanos, J.D. ’10, and Sharonda Williams, J.D. ’01 were featured in the Nov. 4 issue and honored at a reception.

Perryn Olson is a senior graphic designer and marketer for Design the Planet, a brand marketing and graphic design firm. He is a 2003 graduate of Loyola’s visual arts program in the College of Music and Fine Arts.

On the weekends, Olson volunteers as an animal handler and educator at the Audubon Zoo, and he is active with the Boy Scouts. He started a local venturing crew while at Loyola, a program geared towards engaging in outdoor activities with men and women between 14-20 years old.

Nikki Demetria Thanos, a 2010 College of Law graduate at Loyola University New Orleans, is a Fellow at the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice.

This past spring, while wrapping up her final year at Loyola, she was the recipient of the 2010 Working in the Public Interest Student Achievement Award, presented by the student-led WIPI group at the University of Georgia School of Law. The award is given to current law students who, through their work in public interest, made a significant difference in the lives of the indigent or under-served, without compensation for their efforts.

Thanos also recently authored “A Handbook for Social Justice Activists Thinking About Law School,” a book that incorporates interviews with 30 current and recently-graduated law students working in public interest.

"Now the real work begins," Thanos told Gambit. "There are ideas that have been gestating inside me and some of my colleagues, and now is the time we can put them in full throttle."

Sharonda Williams, a 2001 College of Law graduate, is a partner with law firm Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert LLC.

In Gambit, Williams, a former medical student, says she was not passionate about a career as a physician, so she decided to enter law school. After graduating summa cum laude from Loyola, she worked as an attorney in Atlanta with Kilpatrick Stockton. She then moved back to New Orleans to work at Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert law firm, where she became the first African-American to become partner.

Williams was recognized in Gambit for, among other projects and initiatives, co-founding the Louisiana Association of Black Women Attorneys, which has a mentorship program for underprivileged young women in local high schools.

To read the entire “40 under 40” feature in Gambit, visit http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/gambits-40-under-40/Content?oid=1394070.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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