AUWCL Students Awarded Prestigious Skadden Fellowships for Public Interest Work
Catherine Blalock and Chelsea Naylor Stand Out Among Esteemed Cohort, Tackling Systemic Barriers and Empowering LGBTQ+ Youth in DC
Two outstanding students from American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL), Catherine Blalock '24 and Chelsea Naylor '24, have been named among the newest recipients of the prestigious Skadden Fellowships. These highly competitive fellowships are considered one of the most esteemed awards for public interest law students. Notably, Blalock and Naylor are the sole representatives from the DC area law schools among the cohort, which includes students from renowned institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Stanford.
Blalock, will be working with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC. Her goal is to challenge systemic barriers to higher education that disproportionately affect low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color. Specifically, she aims to address issues related to legacy admissions and rigid standardized test score requirements.
Working with Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC, Naylor's fellowship is centered on direct representation, education and outreach, and systemic reform to promote the health, safety, and well-being of LGBTQ+, especially transgender, youth. Her work will focus on building a legal program for queer and trans youth in the DC area, offering legal options such as expungements, name change petitions, SIJS immigration petitions, and appeals of discriminatory insurance denials.
"I am over the moon to be able to share that I was selected as a 2024 Skadden Fellow, and get to join this incredible cohort," Naylor shared in a social media post. "The Skadden Foundation will fund me to work for my favorite non-profit, Whitman-Walker, where I will build a legal program for queer and trans youth in the DC area!"
Naylor further highlighted the significance of her project, emphasizing the empowerment of LGBTQ+, especially trans, youth who often face challenges to their autonomy in society. The legal program aims to provide these youth with a toolbox of options to navigate legal challenges, ensuring their rights and well-being.
The Skadden Fellowship Foundation, established in 1988 to commemorate Skadden's 40th anniversary, is now the largest public interest law firm in the United States. The program awards two-year Fellowships to recent law graduates, enabling them to pursue public interest law on a full-time basis. This prestigious recognition is a testament to the dedication, passion, and commitment to social justice demonstrated by AUWCL students on a national stage.
The achievements of Catherine Blalock and Chelsea Naylor underscore AUWCL's commitment to fostering impactful public interest legal work and creating future leaders in the field. Learn more here.
~Story by Keith Pierce.