The WLALA Foundation is a non-profit charitable corporation established by WLALA to increase the utility of the law as an instrument of social justice. The Foundation awards the WLALA Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant (formerly known as the WLALA Foundation Public Action Grant) to law students for projects that make governmental and social institutions and agencies more accessible and responsive to members of society whose interests are not otherwise adequately recognized or asserted. This year, the WLALA Foundation is proud to announce its two grant awardees: Kelsey Perry, a 2L from USC Law and Joyce Chang, a 2L from Loyola Law School. The following shall provide a short biography from each student as well as describe their grant project:
Before coming to law school, Ms. Perry consulted for more than five nonprofits and completed two degrees in Public Health. While completing her Master of Public Health, Ms. Perry interned at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and completed a systematic review evaluating the impact of social determinants on human trafficking in Southeast Asia. One of her favorite graduate experiences was her collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and faculty at her alma mater to develop and instruct an undergraduate refugee and migrant health course.
During her 1L summer Ms. Perry interned with the UNODC in Vienna, Austria, where she performed policy and case law analysis for the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. She also worked as a research assistant for the Director of USC’s Immigration Clinic, Professor Niels Frenzen.
For Ms. Perry’s grant project, she will work with Bet Tzedek to develop of a client education manual for a new component of Bet Tzedek’s reputed Holocaust Reparations Program. This project has been particularly meaningful to Ms. Perry as her own family members were involved in the Dutch Underground during World War II.
Ms. Perry is looking forward to her 2L year and the opportunity to work in USC's International Human Rights Clinic and The Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics.
Ms. Chang is in her second year at Loyola Law School, where, among other things, she serves as one of the PILF auction co-chairs. She graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Economics – Management Sciences and a B.A in Political Science, with honors. Her honors thesis analyzed the impact of microfinance loan penetration and female political participation in India. Ms. Chang was also the 2009 V-Day Director and Producer and helped raise $40,000 for License to Freedom, a San Diego non-profit that assists refugee and immigrant survivors of domestic violence.
Ms. Chang also has a Masters of Education from GeorgeMasonUniversity. She was a special education teacher at a charter high school in WashingtonD.C. As a Teach for America corp member, she helped draft the charter amendment for a language immersion International Baccalaureate secondary school. As a result of these experiences, Ms. Chang possesses a special interest in special education rights and student empowerment in individualized education plans (IEP).
For Ms. Chang’s grant project, she will create a student focused website for high school students to better understand the IEP process, their educational rights, and how they can become self-advocates. She will be working on this project with the sponsorship of The Alliance for Children’s Rights. While the website is beneficial for all high school special education students, the website will have a specific focus on the rights of foster care children who also receive special education services.