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American Bar Foundation Announces Recipients of 2014 Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowships

June 2, 2014, Press releases

Contact:          Kathryn Harris
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ABF research faculty will mentor four young scholars in summer session

Chicago, IL – June 2, 2014 – The American Bar Foundation has announced the selection of four outstanding undergraduate scholars as the 2014 recipients of the Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowships in Law and Social Science. The 2014 Summer Fellows were selected from a highly competetive group of nearly 200 applicants and exemplify excellence in their undergraduate work. The 2014 fellows are:

Kaitlyn Williams from Grand Prairie, TX. A rising junior at Stanford University. She is a Public Policy major with a concentration in Law and the Legal System. Kaitlyn is a sprinter on the Varsity Track & Field team. She will work with Faculty Fellow Rebecca Sandefur on her Access to Justice project.

Jose Aguayo from Los Angeles, CA. A rising junior at UCLA. Jose is a double major in History and Political Science with concentrations in American Studies and International Relations. ABF Research Professor Traci Burch will advise him on an independent project, and he will also work with Research Professor Victoria Woeste on her project about speech and civil rights in the post-WWII era.

Pedro Alfonso, also from Los Angeles, CA. A rising senior at St. John’s University in New York. Pedro is a Government and Politics major with minors in Spanish and Rhetoric & Public Address. He will work with ABF Director Robert Nelson this summer on his After the JD study of lawyers’ careers, and also assist Research Professor Laura Beth Nielsen on her employment discrimination research.

Elijah Porter from Atlanta, GA. A rising senior at Fort Valley State University. He is an English major with a concentration in Writing. Elijah is a drum major in the marching band. He will work with Research Professor John Hagan on his parental incarceration project.

The 2014 Summer Fellows’ full biographies are available here.

The American Bar Foundation offers a rich environment to students from diverse backgrounds who are considering careers in legal research or the practice of law.Each fellow works closely with a specially designated ABF Research Professor on the design and implementation of a research project, affording them  the rare opportunity to do socio-legal research with experienced scholars. While the students work primarily as research assistants, they also attend a series of seminars conducted by ABF Faculty, program alumni, and practitioners in  the legal system in Chicago who acquaint the students with their career paths and work.

The Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship has produced many notable alumni, such as Mariano-Florentino “Tino” Cuéllar, a 1990 SRDF alumnus who is now Professor of Law at Stanford University and serves on the ABF Board of Directors.

Cuéllar identifies the Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship as a turning point in his development as a young scholar. Said Cuéllar, “My summer at the American Bar Foundation opened up a new world that remains part of my life to this day. I was surrounded by engaged, creative and energetic scholars who made it their mission to push the frontiers of knowledge about legal institutions and practices…Building a better legal system depends heavily on the answers to these sorts of questions.”

While many Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship alumni go on to academic careers in the social sciences and law, many others have chosen to pursue careers as legal practitioners, or to work in government, social policy, or business.

The American Bar Foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. Primary funding for the ABF is provided by the American Bar Endowment.

Designed to introduce promising, diverse students to the rewards and demands of a career in law and social science, the Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowship Program has hosted 114 students since the program’s inception in 1988. The program is supported in part by the Kenneth F. and Harle G. Montgomery Foundation, AT&T, and the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates.


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