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Jessica Wilkerson Selected as First Recipient of Erin Woolley Award

March 15, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Jessica Wilkerson '12 has been selected as the first recipient of the Erin Woolley Memorial Scholarship.

The Class of 2010 raised more than $83,000 to create the endowed annual award in the name of Woolley, 26, of Bangor, Maine, who died in 2010 after a year-long battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She received a JD degree posthumously at last year's commencement. The amount raised for the scholarship more than doubled the VLS record for class gift funds.

The $2,500 scholarship is awarded to a second- or third-year student who has overcome personal adversity, is ranked in the middle of the class and has demonstrated commitment to domestic or international women's or children's issues or is a champion for economic and social justice. Award recipients are selected by the dean of students, the director of financial aid, the dean and a representative of the Class of 2010 or the Student Bar Association.

"Jessica was selected because she is dedicated to advancing the cause of social justice, and we believe that Erin would be proud to see Vermont Law School students who have Jessica's commitment and willingness to serve others," said Shirley Jefferson, dean for Student Affairs and Diversity.

Wilkerson, who received a bachelor's degree from the University of Puget Sound in 2006, is slated to graduate in May 2012 with a JD degree and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree. She is focusing on international human rights, reproductive rights and gender equality issues at VLS. She is chair of the VLS Law Students for Reproductive Justice as well as Northeast regional coordinator and resident blogger for the group. She has been involved in the production of the Vagina Monologues for the past two years at VLS and is a member of the Equal Justice Foundation. She is a member of the VLS Moot Court Advisory Board and is completing an independent research paper on Feminist Legal Theory and birth choice. She also volunteers at Safeline, a local domestic and sexual violence action network.

Woolley graduated summa cum laude in 2006 from the University of Maine, Orono. After college, she worked in the Maine courts as a legal advocate for women and children seeking refuge from domestic violence. At VLS, Woolley was co-chair of the Women's Law Group, secretary of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and a legal intern for Safeline. She planned to practice family law after graduating from VLS.

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations
Office: 802-831-1106, cell: 540-798-7099,

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