Gender Specialist Spotlight

Gender specialists celebrate at the Program on Lawand Government Spring Banquet 2012
(Left to right: Gigi Alkhatib, Mojisola Ahonsi, Sara Dykes, Jeryl Hayes, and Preston Mitchum)


Want to know a bit more about being part of this specialized program? Here's what recent graduates of the LL.M. program have to say about why they chose WCL and what they have have gained from the experience:

Preston Mitchum, J.D., LL.M. (Law and Government)

"My concentration is Constitutional Law and Civil Rights with a specialization in Gender and Law. Attending Washington College of Law was the best decision I have made in my life. During my tenure in law school, I was disappointed in the number of courses that focused on the inequality women faced in employment, education, and the public/private dichotomy. Not enough attention focused on feminist jurisprudence and what role I could play in shaping gender policies. During my time as a Gender and Law specialist, I have focused on the interplay of law, policy, and politics, and how gender contributes to this discussion. Upon graduation, I desire to work for an organization that has a concentration on this area of law and how focusing on the intersectionality of women helps this discourse. Above all, the faculty and staff of the Women and the Law Program are amazing in that they have numerous events and programs concerning gender issues. Being in this programs provides a "home away from home" feeling - one in which I am happy to say I am a part of."

Sara Dykes, J.D., LL.M. (Law and Government)

"I was raised in rural Alabama and earned my Bachelor's in Management from the University of South Alabama in Mobile. In 2010, I earned my J.D. from Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. I chose to earn my LL.M. at WCL specifically because of the Women and the Law Program and the Program on Law & Government's Gender specialization option. My legal interests include family law, adoption, assisted reproductive technologies, and general women's legal rights. I love the Program because it ensures a wide array of gender courses taught by faculty who truly care about the subject. Plus, the school is located in the greatest city to learn about the law – Washington, D.C. The fact that WCL is the first law school in the U.S. founded by and for women is icing on the cake. Both the Women and the Law Program and WCL are passionate about gender law, and it makes a difference in the quality of education. After graduation, I intend to seek employment in my interest areas, so I can assist the less fortunate among our society."

Jeryl Hayes, J.D., LL.M. (Law and Government)

"I feel very fortunate to have found the Program on Law and Government and particularly the Women and the Law Program. I wanted to use my legal training to be an advocate for women's health rights, since I am interested in reproductive rights and access to health care services. This LL.M. allowed me to dive deeper into legal analysis through a gendered framework with amazing faculty and feminist scholars. By pursuing additional legal training specifically in the area of Gender and the Law, I have been able to advance my understanding of how public policy, state and federal laws impact civil rights and particularly affect reproductive rights. After graduation, I will participate in a one year Reproductive Justice Fellowship, and hope to continue in a career where I can be a professional legal feminist."

Susana Gomez, J.D., LL.M. (International Legal Studies)

"After law school graduation, I started to work at law firms, while at the same time working with an NGO  that worked to promote education and improve livelihood in rural areas.  I served in a number of pro bono activities in the human rights field, such as medical campaigns held in rural areas in El Salvador.  After some research, I discovered the gender and the law program and the possibility of having a human right specialization with a gender approach.   It was a surprise to me to find a legal course that could be gender oriented.  Every class represented a new discovery for me - after every lecture I was amazed how fortunate I am of having the opportunity to be part of this LL.M. student body.  My preparation as a LLM is enriched from a basic understanding of the American Legal system and human rights international framework with special focus in women’s worldwide oppressions and concerns.  Our professors promote and listen to our opinions and encourage us to go beyond the theory.  Furthermore at WCL experience doesn’t end at classroom - we have a lot of educational opportunities such as conferences, activities and panels that enhance our practical understanding, enriching our experience at law school.  Plus, we have the opportunity to live in a vibrant city as DC, where the international community meets."