Social Justice Mission Scholars are dedicated to advocating for equal opportunity and civic engagement at the intersection of public service and social change.
Mission Scholarships support students who come to Vermont Law School with a cause, and who want to use the power of the law to make a difference in their communities and the world.
Social Justice Mission Scholars are selected based on their previous experiences in social justice and an interest in public l service and social justice projects in the future. They are an active force on the VLS campus, partnering with student groups such as
BLSA, ALS and
SPEAK to host events and contribute to local community projects. Since their creation in 2015, the Social Justice Mission Scholars have organized or participated in numerous events around campus and the community:
- hosted Zephyr Teachout for a conference on her recent book, Corruption in America;
- co-sponsored the IBUTWA High Tea with BLSA and Women's Law group to support victims of domestic violence in the Congo, and have developed a project, "Soap to Soap," using sales of locally made Vermont soaps to support the IBUTWA soap-making project in Congo; and,
- co-sponsored a public debate with the VLS SPEAK organization on the Supreme Court's discussion on marriage equality with VLS Professors
Peter Teachout, and
- Hosted and moderated a Vermont gubernatorial debate with the top candidates from each party;
- Created and awarded the first VLS Social Justice Scholars Alumni Award to honor a VLS alumnus who has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to causes of social justice;
- Partnered with the Animal Law Society to host a speaking event with Steve Wise, President of the Nonhuman Rights Project, to speak about his decades-long work fighting for the rights of animals through the legal system;
- Hosted a dinner with VLS Professor Reed Loder to discuss her research and scholarly work on the reintroduction of wolves into the Northeast United States;
- Led a group of VLS students, in partnership with the Animal Law Society, on a volunteer day at the VINE Animal Sanctuary in Springfield, VT to help maintain the grounds for over one hundred rescued farm animals.
Will Lowrey—Will arrived at Vermont Law School as a 1L after a lengthy career in the corporate world managing projects and business processes in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. In parallel to his prior career, Will spent the last 12 years leading or volunteering with numerous animal welfare and animal rights organizations. His primary areas of focus included advocacy/rescue of pit bulls, community outreach for dogs in low-income neighborhoods, animal fighting awareness, and response and sheltering of animals impacted by disasters. Will has also spent time working with Native Americans on various reservations and disadvantaged teens in foster care. Will originally obtained his degree in criminal justice from Virginia Commonwealth University and is interested in prosecuting animal crimes or lobbying for stronger legislation to protect animals.
Zoe Newman—Zoe is a 2L in VLS’s Accelerated Juris Doctor (AJD) program. Prior to law school, she spent several years working in public policy for the Vermont Secretary of State. Zoe is committed to the democratic process and inspiring young women to become engaged in the political process; she serves as the legislative chairwoman for VT Girls State, running a mock legislative program for high school-age girls from around the state. In the past, she has volunteered for Outright Vermont and Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and has a specific interest in transgender and immigration law. This summer, Zoe will be working in the South Royalton Legal Clinic.
Rachel Oest—Rachel is a 1L at Vermont Law School. Before attending VLS, Rachel dedicated a year to disaster and humanitarian relief through AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps and worked alongside the Center for Health, Environment and Justice to promote healthy communities. Rachel plans to use her legal education to advocate for communities facing environmental injustice.
Jessica Bullock—Jessica returned to her home state of Vermont to pursue a legal degree at Vermont Law School. Prior to attending VLS, Jessica spent two years teaching third grade at Mount Royal Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., through the Teach For America program. Jessica hopes to use her time at VLS to concentrate on juvenile, criminal, and education law and policy in Vermont. During her first year at VLS, Jessica founded the Vermont Law School SPEAK organization (awarded the SBA Student Group Pro Bono Award), a group dedicated to promoting debate, public speaking, education, and advocacy at VLS and throughout Vermont. Next year, Jessica will continue her work promoting debate through the SPEAK Prison Debate Initiative as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow. This summer Jessica will work as an intern for Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy and serve as a summer law clerk with the Vermont Supreme Court in the chambers of Justice Marilyn Skoglund.
Tucker Jones—Tucker's interest in social justice and community issues began when he resettled a refugee family and studied the local school system as an undergraduate at Franklin and Marshall College. After college he moved to Burlington, Vt., where he helped Vermonters with poor credit secure affordable housing as a financial literacy counselor. He entered VLS in the fall of 2014 as a JD student, and will be spending the summer of 2015 with the Criminal Unit of the Vermont Attorney General's office.
Andrew Rome—Andrew is in his 1L year at Vermont Law School. Before coming to VLS, Andrew spent seven years working in two large mental health facilities that provide school based services for populations of children with Emotional Behavioral Disorder, and with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Andrew is interested in pursuing criminal law, education, disability, and employment law. This summer Andrew will be a summer law clerk with the Vermont Supreme Court, in the chambers of Justice Dooley.
Sarah Seese—Sarah is a 1L at Vermont Law School. She grew up in West Virginia and attended West Virginia University, receiving a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in geography and Spanish. Sarah spent her four years of undergrad working with a Nicaraguan coffee cooperative, helping to fundraise and facilitate food sovereignty and sustainability projects for the farm. Sarah came to law school with the desire to learn to advocate for the underprivileged, specifically concerning access to education. Sarah will be spending the summer working in the Civil Rights Unit of the Vermont Attorney General's Office.