AUWCL Students Share Their Summer Experiences Living, Learning, and Working in the U.S. and Abroad
AUWCL students participated in an array activities this summer, from coursework, to internships abroad, to advocacy work in the U.S. Their real world, hands-on experiences proved invaluable—read their stories below.
For Merve Stolzman, a rising 2L with an interest in international criminal law, the law school’s Summer Law Program in The Hague drew her to AUWCL.
The Program is a collaboration between the law school’s War Crimes Research Office and the T.M.C. Asser Institute, and since 1995 has given students the opportunity to live and learn at the heart of the international justice community. The Hague is home to more than 150 international organizations and the site of the world’s first Peace Conference.
Stolzman traveled to The Hague in June for the month-long program. She enjoyed the “beautiful accommodations” which housed summer program students, and she was even more impressed with the line-up of faculty teaching the courses. In addition to faculty from AUWCL, instructors included judges, prosecutors, and staff from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the T.M.C. Asser Institute. These practitioners were accessible, taking questions during classes and encouraging program participants to stay in contact after class.
Stolzman hopes to return to The Hague next summer as an intern with one of the courts. According to Stolzman, The Hague program was perfect for her in her 1L summer.
“Studying abroad is always valuable and worthwhile,” she said.
Ben Lichtman, a 2L, spent his summer working in collaboration with the University of Novara, with his office based in Torino.
Lichtman mostly spent time researching and writing reports for a comparative law professor at the University. He often was asked to provide insight on the American legal system, including assignments based on the American health care system and the Affordable Care Act, as well as this year’s big U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act, and gay marriage.
“The experience has definitely narrowed down my legal interests,” said Lichtman. “Health care law is of immense interest to me, especially after becoming more intimately aware of its major flaws and the present effort to fix them. The Affordable Care Act is a fascinating document that I have enjoyed very much learning about.”
Lichtman also discovered he has an interest in immigration after observing Europe’s ongoing immigration battle.
“Due to its proximity to Africa, Italy has seen a huge influx of refugees who have been afforded almost no protections,” explained Lichtman. “Helping to provide some sort of safety net through legal channels is an interesting concept as well.”
Phoebe Ramsey, a 3L evening student, participated in the Summer Program in Washington, D.C. and Geneva offered by the Program on International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy. She became interested in doing the Program after taking a course at AUWCL that focused on gender and international and comparative law, after a session of the course highlighted the role of NGOs and development organizations play in gender issues.
“I did not know much about the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, so the courses sounded interesting,” said Ramsey.
The Program covers all aspects of international organizations, including political, juridical, security, economic, social, and cultural dimensions. The theory and practice of contemporary international organizations, law and diplomacy are taught through courses, conferences, and experiential learning with international organizations in Washington and Geneva.
“One highlight of the D.C. portion of the program was that the international development organizations course was taught by a former World Bank employee and we were able to visit the World Bank,” said Ramsey. “In Geneva, I took labor and humanitarian law courses, and the professors were just amazing in terms of the contacts they had.”
Ramsey was able to observe two UN Human Rights Committee sessions, and took advantage of networking opportunities; including meeting with young attorneys at the International Labour Organization.
Maggie Coulter, a 3L JD/MA student, spent her summer working for the Sierra Club in San Francisco.
“I worked last summer with the Center for Biological Diversity and last spring with Defenders of Wildlife on wildlife issues, but wanted to expand into other areas of environmental law,” said Coulter. “This summer I’ve been working a lot on energy and coal exports."
Some of Coulter’s projects have included doing background legal research on timely environmental issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline's supplemental environmental impact statement.
“When I started law school, I didn’t know I wanted to do environmental law, but something involving public interest,” said Coulter. “I’ve come to realize there’s a human element in almost every environmental issue.”