Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lauren Blevins attended the University of Arkansas, graduating magna cum laude and majoring in International Relations, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. The granddaughter and daughter of U.S. immigrants, Lauren has always enjoyed new cultures, language, and traveling.
While pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Arkansas, Lauren taught an introductory political science course to undergraduates that first piqued her interest in the law. But it wasn’t until she began working at a local community center that she realized the impact one can have with a legal education.
After completing her master’s degree, Lauren helped to create the only basic education program for Spanish speaking adults in the State of Arkansas. The program provided Hispanic immigrants access to free education in their native language, allowing many to learn to read and write for the first time or to advance to a middle school level while preparing for GED classes. Such involvement strengthened her passion for Hispanic culture while generating a greater awareness of the need for true equal opportunities. While managing the program and working on community development in Arkansas cities, Lauren was constantly exposed to the challenges that the immigrant community faces. Many of her students had stories of abuses in the workplace, lack of access to education, difficulty in finding Spanish speaking legal counsel, or difficulty in navigating the legal system.
Lauren hopes to use her Spanish fluency and legal education to meet these needs of an underserved population and to be an advocate for the immigrant community. Lauren is excited to be joining the Denver community and looks forward to the many years of mountain adventures to come.
Rob grew up in Franklin, Tennessee and graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a B.A. in Environmental Studies in 2004. While earning his B.A., Rob’s passion for environmental issues became a dedication to public service through volunteer efforts with non-profit conservation and urban agriculture organizations. After graduation Rob spent a year teaching English and volunteering with a sustainable agriculture organization in Santiago, Chile, and traveling extensively through South America.
For nearly five years, Rob has worked for The Nature Conservancy. Specializing in the various legal transactions The Nature Conservancy uses to protect vital habitat around the world, he realized the importance of sound legal counsel to on-the-ground conservation success. He has also continued to volunteer with various environmental and food security organizations.
Rob was inspired to attend law school by the impact legal professionals can have on the environmental challenges we all will face in the twenty-first century. Any free time he can find is spent with his lovely wife and dogs- preferably enjoying good food, music, and the great outdoors. Along with becoming a formidable legal advocate, Rob’s long-term goals include becoming a fine fly-fisherman and heirloom gardener.
Jamie Crawford grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, she created an individualized major that combined psychology and the principles of outdoor education. As part of her studies, Jamie ran a high ropes course for people with disabilities, participated in an outdoor leadership immersion program in Colorado and Utah, directed an outdoor adventure program at a Girl Scout camp, and spent a semester studying Spanish and adventure tourism at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Heredia, Costa Rica. She graduated with an honors degree in Experiential Education in 2005.
Jamie then moved to Salt Lake City, UT. She spent the next 2 years as a field instructor for Second Nature Wilderness Program. Second Nature is a clinical treatment program that serves teens struggling with everything from addiction to abuse to mental illness. The program relies on the educational and healing powers of wilderness. Students and instructors live and work together in the Uinta Mountains and surrounding desert year round. For Jamie, working at Second Nature was like going to therapist boot camp. As a Senior Field Instructor, Jamie crafted individual therapeutic interventions, facilitated group sessions, and trained other staff in the fine art of wilderness therapy. After two winters in the field and more than 400 nights sleeping under a tarp, Jamie moved to Bellingham, WA in 2007.
She found a job with a community organization helping adults with disabilities learn life and employment skills. She worked with clients to set and achieve individual employment goals and networked with local employers to create meaningful job opportunities for people with disabilities. Eventually, Jamie was offered the opportunity to develop a program to increase access to outdoor recreation for adults with disabilities. She worked with clients to create and achieve individual recreation goals, and led accessible adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest.
During her time in Bellingham, Jamie set out to learn about non-profit operation by volunteering for The Northwest Therapeutic Riding Center and Womencare Shelter. She served in every imaginable capacity: stuffing envelopes, answering a domestic violence crisis line, wrangling babies and horses, building fences, facilitating art therapy groups, and fundraising. Her experiences led her to believe it was a good idea to start a non-profit of her own. For a year, Jamie served as co-director of a tiny program devoted to building community and increasing environmental responsibility through some fairly unorthodox means. Her organization became most well known in the Bellingham community for their underground Halloween “Thriller” performances. You can look it up on YouTube.
She took a paid position at Womencare’s emergency confidential domestic violence shelter in 2009. In her capacity as shelter manager, Jamie provided individual and systems advocacy for survivors of intimate partner violence. She advocated on behalf of clients’ rights with employers, landlords, and social service providers. She also worked with the police, the county prosecutors, and other service agencies to foster a unified community response to incidences of violence in the home.
Jamie hopes that the study of law will help her gain valuable skills and tools to continue her work with non-profits, youth, disability rights, and victim advocacy.
Mary Dewey grew up in northeast Denver and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Political Science and Chinese. Before college, she spent eight summers in Romania helping lead camps for orphans and abandoned children. As an undergraduate she organized a campaign for LGBT equality at Notre Dame and headed a movement to establish a gay-straight alliance there. She also participated in service-learning trips, volunteering with a community development organization in West Virginia and helping rebuild after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Last summer, Mary interned at the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic in Denver. The clinic provides full legal representation for low-income clients in civil cases, and she witnessed first-hand the overwhelming need for affordable legal services. Mary worked with victims of domestic violence in immigration and family law cases. She was inspired by the courage of the clients and the dedication of the attorneys who worked full-time at the clinic. This experience led her to pursue public interest law and shaped her interest in immigration law in particular.
Mary is thrilled to be back in Denver, and she looks forward to working for justice in communities that are underserved by the legal profession.
Jonathan M. Goldstein
Jon earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Colorado College, and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science, both in International Political Economy. Following college graduation in 2007, Jon received a grant to serve as visiting researcher at the Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) in Belgrade, Serbia, a non-governmental organization supporting the advancement of democratic institutions in republics of the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
From June 2008 to August 2010, Jon served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Ichocán, Perú, a mountainous rural district of 3,500 residents in southern Cajamarca Department, three hundred miles northwest of Lima in the Peruvian Northern Highlands. A Facilitador de Desarrollo Juvenil (Youth Development Facilitator), he designed and implemented a vocational orientation and youth entrepreneurship curriculum for the district’s secondary school students.
In London, Jon volunteered at a local youth club serving low-income teenagers. Working with at-risk boys and girls informs many of Jon’s community service activities. Beginning in 1997 (when he was twelve years old) and continuing until he graduated from St. Albans School in 2003, Jon taught ice skating and assisted a youth hockey program at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena, Washington, DC’s only inner-city ice rink. Later, he spearheaded a fund-raising program for a day care center serving low-income children in the city’s Hispanic community. As an undergraduate, Jon mentored a teenage boy at North Middle School in Colorado Springs.
These experiences underscore Jon’s commitment to social change. He guides himself by a credo commonly heard in his adopted Perú: “los que no vive para servir, no sirve para vivir” (a life without service is a life without value).
Melissa Lawson first gazed upon the world from Memphis, Tennessee. From an early age, she developed an affinity for delta blues music, a fine pulled pork sandwich, and posing the wonderfully succinct question, “Why?”
Melissa graduated magna cum laude from Colorado College where she pursued philosophy and Spanish. In addition to wrestling with Hegel and Heidegger, she volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. Melissa studied abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico where she discovered an entire population of homeless and working children in need of a voice. The following six months found her engaged in field research and the study of child labor in the area.
After graduating from CC in 2006, Melissa’s compass led her to Austin, the oasis of Texas. She spent the following four years as a third grade bilingual educator in a Title I school. She fell in love with teaching and embraced the role whole-heartedly. Melissa traveled abroad and volunteered during summer months. In Huachipa, Peru, she joined a grass roots organization called Asociacion SOLAC and aided in the construction of a local school, while also organizing child labor marches. In Oaxaca, MX, Melissa spent the summer months working with the World Wide Organization Of Organic Farmers.
She found the loves of her life in the shapes of two South Austin shelter dogs and a mussy haired Kindergarten teacher. You may sight any combination of them gardening, running, camping, bicycling, or driving with heads and arms hanging outside the windows.
They all moved to Denver, Colorado in August 2010 and Melissa entered a dual degree program in law and social work. She intends to use her degrees in the arena of public interest law and provide a voice for children in need of strong advocates.
Martha Legocki, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, completed her undergraduate education at Yale University in 2008, where she majored in political science and international studies. As an undergraduate, Martha spent two years as the director of the Ulysses S. Grant Foundation, a New Haven-based non-profit that provided a free full-time summer academic program to over 80 local middle school students.
Upon graduation, Martha received a Richard U. Light fellowship from Yale to move to Seoul, South Korea and continue her study of the Korean language at Yonsei University. After she concluded her studies, Martha worked as a consultant for the Korean government and several universities, designing and teaching educational programs in the English language. As such, she worked closely with mid-level Korean diplomats to help prepare them for posts abroad in English-speaking countries. She also co-authored a textbook, which was published by MegaStudy in 2009.
After 18 months in Korea, Martha moved back to the United States to begin working for the non-profit Korea Economic Institute in Washington, D.C. She began as executive assistant to its president, Ambassador Jack Pritchard, and later also became associate director of communications. While she was at KEI, Martha launched an audio podcast called “Korean Kontext,” an interview-based program designed to expand discourse on U.S.-Korean relations beyond the D.C. foreign policy community. As host of the show, Martha had the opportunity to interview such leaders as Korean ambassador to the U.S. Han Duk-Soo, U.S. ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens, Korean-American filmmaker Michael Kang, and former national director of the Peace Corps Kevin O’Donnell. The podcast garnered nearly 16,000 subscribers and listeners from over 50 countries in its first 10 months, and has continued production after Martha’s departure.
Martha is thrilled to be in Colorado, loves life at DU, and is grateful for the opportunity to realize her hopes of a career in public interest law.
Katy, a Denver native, received the Chancellor’s Recognition Award for graduating with distinction from the University of Colorado with a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology. During her time in undergrad Katy interned at the Boulder Justice Center for its Domestic Abuse Prevention Project and acted as a Case Manager in its Restorative Justice Program. During her senior year she took a semester off and traveled throughout the United States, Mexico and Thailand with an international leadership, service and education program called Up With People. While traveling she was able to serve in diverse programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Food Bank of the Rockies, as well as having opportunities to volunteer in an orphanage in Mexico and volunteer, live and teach English at a school for at-risk girls in Thailand. After returning to Colorado, she led an Alternative Spring Break trip to Cincinnati for an urban immersion program aimed at serving and educating students about the needs of homeless populations.
These experiences fostered in Katy a strong desire to serve at-risk and underrepresented populations and when she graduated she volunteered at Colorado Legal Services as an advocate for those unable to afford legal services. Cumulatively, these experiences led her to the desire to pursue Public Interest Law and to one day begin her own non-profit to serve at-risk youth in third world countries.
Jaime grew up in the paved-parking lot suburban sprawl of northern New Jersey, where she developed a longing for the great outdoors, which ultimately led her here to beautiful Colorado. Her world, which was previously oriented towards summers at the Jersey shore, was opened up during her freshman year at Gettysburg College in rural Pennsylvania. The September 11th attacks happened in her first weeks of school, and her interest in philosophy quickly morphed into a major that contemplated peace and nonviolence and current ethical issues that were leading to violence in our world. She learned that global poverty was perhaps the greatest threat to global security. She also honed her interest in studying other cultures, particularly in the Middle East. She also traveled twice to Nicaragua, volunteering initially with a children’s art school, and the second time with women’s advocacy groups. As a dual art major, she felt compelled to study abroad in Florence, Italy, where she also got in touch with her Italian roots, mainly how delicious nouveau pasta dishes could be in addition to those recipes from the old country. But then, she also wanted to go to the most far-off place Gettysburg’s study abroad program offered, so she spent a semester studying at Kansai Gaidai international school in Japan.
After college, Jaime served in Americorps at an immigrant and refugee housing program in NE Washington, D.C. The program was started by an extremely inspired and dedicated couple who had originally opened up their home to a homeless Latina mother and her children. They expanded their operations to own 8 buildings in NE D.C. where they housed over 40 families, mostly from Latin America and Bosnia. Jaime did casework for 8 of these families, helping them access assistance, find jobs, learn English, and manage their new life in D.C. She also ran an after school program and a summer camp for their children and other ESL students at the local elementary school.
While in Americorps, Jaime applied to the Peace Corps, and was chosen to be an Environmental Education volunteer in rural Senegal. In the six-month interim before she left for Senegal, she moved to Crested Butte, where she worked at a preschool and skied full time. In Senegal, she worked with teachers at the local elementary, middle, and high schools to implement environmental education into their curriculums. Senegal is experiencing extreme deforestation and one strategy to combat this is to teach young people to have stewardship over their environment. Her work included school and community gardens, tree planting, as well as hands-on lessons in class. She also participated in a number of summer camps, organized a USAID summer camp at the local middle school, and did lots of art projects with all the local schools. Her and a close Peace Corps neighbor organized teachers and health facilitators to start the first reproductive education class at the middle school, which is still continuing today, and has started training teachers at the schools in neighboring villages to expand the program. Jaime also worked with the villagers to install a chicken-raising project that could serve as a secondary income.
When Jaime returned to the U.S., she had decided that legal advocacy was the path that could help her best use her skills and interests. Her experience had shown her that access to justice was necessary for sustainable development, and ultimately, for sustainable peace. While she applied to law school, she worked briefly as a research assistant in the international business world (to get a sense of the “other side” of international human rights) while living in Brooklyn and exploring her artistic side. She gained many important insights while working on Wall Street, met some great people, and gained a lot of exposure to and knowledge of international affairs. She is happily settled now in Denver, ready to apply all of her experiences to her law degree to help change the world!
Kacie Mulhern developed her love for coffee and rainy afternoons while growing up in Gig Harbor, Washington. While attending North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, her passion for justice grew through her academic studies, extracurricular involvement, and exposure to poverty throughout Chicago. As an undergraduate student, Kacie tutored refugee children, wrote for an online social justice magazine, and helped establish a student organization dedicated to international justice issues. She graduated in 2007 with a degree in Politics and Government and a commitment to working as an advocate for vulnerable individuals and communities marginalized by poverty.
In 2008, Kacie worked as an intern at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF), a non-profit agency that provides free civil legal services to low-income residents in Cook County. After completing her internship, she was hired as a paralegal with the Home Ownership Preservation Project (HOPP) at LAF. HOPP represents homeowners facing the loss of their homes through foreclosure, predatory lending, and consumer fraud. Kacie’s work included intake and litigation support, community education, and direct advocacy on behalf of homeowners seeking loan modifications.
While working with HOPP, Kacie became aware of the overwhelming need for legal assistance in low-income communities and the dearth of resources available. Inspired by her experience at LAF, she left Chicago to pursue a legal education and intends to work as a legal services attorney upon graduation.
Before moving to Denver, Kacie served in her community in Chicago as a volunteer with youth and refugees in Rogers Park, a neighborhood on the far north side of Chicago. She enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, cooking, and writing letters.
Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Shawn Neal graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 where she earned a degree in Communications. Upon graduation, Shawn moved to Tampa, Florida to join AmeriCorps and tutor struggling readers in a Title I, inner-city elementary school. After completing her year of service with AmeriCorps, the same elementary school hired Shawn to teach first grade.
As a teacher, Shawn gained valuable experience working with children of poverty and their families. After three years, Shawn decided to leave the classroom and pursue work dedicated to empowering parents to become effectively involved in their children’s education. Shawn accepted a position at the Florida Parental Information and Resource Center at the University of South Florida. As the No Child Left Behind Specialist, Shawn assisted disadvantaged parents in becoming advocates for their children’s education and provided technical assistance to school districts regarding NCLB’s parental involvement requirements.
After five years of living in Florida, Shawn, her husband, and their lab-mix Louie, moved to Colorado for a change of scenery and the chance to ski. Shawn accepted a position with the City of Aurora Office of Youth Development as Program Coordinator for COMPASS, a grant-funded after school program serving seven schools in North Aurora. After ten months as Program Coordinator, Shawn was promoted to the position of Youth Development Supervisor. In this supervisory role, Shawn oversaw COMPASS, wrote grant reports and proposals, and coordinated the Aurora Youth Commission. Additionally, Shawn facilitated America’s Promise in Aurora, a citywide youth initiative committed to ensuring that all Aurora youth receive what they need to succeed.
After an eight year career dedicated to youth and families, Shawn looks forward to pursuing a legal career in public interest.
Lincoln Puffer’s search for knowledge and experience has taken him on a variety of academic and professional exploits. After pursuing a short-lived career as a professional bass guitarist Lincoln traded in his guitar for a briefcase in order to pursue a career in business. He obtained his B.B.A. in Management and Organizations from the University of Iowa and spent a year in the corporate world as a manager for a branch of the Target Corporation. During his time in college and in the corporate world he developed a passion for community service.
It was this passion for community service that inspired Lincoln to join the Peace Corps where he spent two years in the Southern African country of Botswana. During his time there he helped manage a nongovernmental organization that focused on orphan care and HIV/AIDS education in the village of Serowe. Through his assistance the nonprofit doubled its capacity to serve the local community and even received a national award for its outstanding commitment to community service.
Most recently Lincoln worked for the Social Security Administration where he specialized in Supplemental Security Income – a program designed to help limited income families with disabilities. Lincoln now hopes to incorporate his passion for public interest into his academic and legal endeavors.