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Law community members honored for social justice, service to others

April 25, 2014

The Gillis Long Poverty Law Center in the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law presented its 2014 Public Service Awards to students, alumni and faculty April 15. Each year, the center presents awards to those who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice and serving the needs of the disadvantaged.

The 2014 recipients include:

  • Rae Burruss
    Burruss, a third-year law student, previously worked at Aids Action in Boston, promoting aids awareness and community outreach. She also interned in the Child In Need of Care section of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.
  • Dr. Lawrence Cresswell
    First-year law student Cresswell, currently a staff physician with Emergency Medicine at Ochsner Health System, requested and was chosen to open the Department of Emergency Medicine at New Orleans East Hospital to bring emergency services to a community with limited medical services.
  • Elizabeth Elliott
    Through Elliott’s s role as the symposium editor for Loyola’s Journal of Public Interest Law, she planned the recent symposium, “Prison Reform: Progress, Policies and Practices,” all while preparing to graduate this semester.
  • Mallory Fields
    As a third-year law student in the children's rights clinic of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic & Center for Social Justice at Loyola, Fields volunteers with CASA New Orleans as a Court Appointed Special Advocate worker. She has used her managerial position on the Moot Court team to close several cases within the clinic itself.
  • Gabrielle Holland
    Currently a student practitioner in the family law clinic at Loyola, Holland has volunteered with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, providing tax assistance to low-income individuals. She has also volunteered for Stand Up for Each Other—an organization which represents youth from various schools in New Orleans who are being suspended or expelled.
  • Amelia Hoppe
    In addition to working in the children’s rights clinic, Hoppe is part of several organizations within the College of Law, including the Public Interest Law Association and the National Lawyers Guild. During the summers, Hoppe worked at the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court and The Advocacy Center, focusing on mental health and disability claims for juveniles.
  • Lynsey Johnson
    Prior to law school, Johnson worked for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Division of Emergency Management as the state's disaster response and recovery planner. Last September, Johnson won first place in the 22nd Annual Louisiana State Bar Association Environmental Law Essay Contest.
  • Emma Kingsdorf
    In addition to her extensive responsibilities as a clinic student practitioner, Kingsdorf volunteers monthly with Habitat for Humanity, helping to build homes and complete major renovations for families in the Greater New Orleans area.
  • Professor Hiroko Kusuda
    Kusuda encourages her students and personally participates in activities such as assisting detainees during routine trips to the detention center in Tensas, La., and works with other community organizations including Catholic Charities to assist permanent residents applying for naturalization.
  • Natasha Lacoste ’09, J.D. ’11
    Lacoste is a recent graduate who has spent the last year representing homeless persons with cases in Municipal Court, working closely with the Harry Tompson Center, an organization devoted to caring for the physical, mental and emotional needs of the homeless.
  • Adetunji Ogunmefun
    As a law student, Ogunmefun organized a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service for his fellow classmates to work with the St. Bernard Project. As community service chairperson for the Black Law Student Association, he organized an effort where students participated in the annual AIDS Walk and a service event at the Bridge House in New Orleans to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving.
  • Matthew Smith
    Outside of his Loyola commitments as president of the Public Interest Law Group and Maritime Law Society, Smith continuously serves his community by organizing a Loyola Service Day and volunteering to help beautify City Park. He has also volunteered with Canine Connection's Barktoberfest, facilitating dog adoptions.
  • Matthew Steel
    Steel is committed to assisting new arrivals to the U.S., particularly those struggling to make ends meet. In addition to volunteering with the Immigration section of the Law Clinic, he has also worked for the Wage Claim Clinic of the Workplace Justice Project, which helps workers who are not adequately paid for work rendered.
  • Emily Trostle
    Trostle is president of the Lambda Law Alliance at the College of Law, past president of the National Lawyers Guild, and member of the Journal for Public Interest. She volunteered for Southeast Louisiana Legal Services in the Public Benefits Unit and in Loyola’s Workplace Justice Clinic. Most recently, she worked with Catholic Charities staff for "Citizenship Day 2014," a free single-day naturalization workshop helping legal permanent residents take the first step towards becoming U.S. citizens.
  • Professor Monica Hof Wallace, J.D. 98
    Wallace serves as the faculty adviser for Moot Court and also provides pro bono legal work for Cancer Crusaders, an organization dedicated to assisting patients battling cancer in Louisiana. As a member of Homeless Experience Legal Protection, Wallace volunteers as a notary for the homeless.
  • Adrienne Wheeler, J.D. 11
    Wheeler has been active in public interest since before she started law school. In New York City, she was a part of a massive campaign to monitor police activities during protests in 2004. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she traveled to New Orleans to conduct surveys from residents living in hotels for local legal advocates. She is currently the co-director of the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana, a group that helps ex-offenders clean their criminal records and secure employment.

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