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Verizon Public Interest Summer Fellows Empowering Victims of Domestic Violence This summer, six Seton

June 1, 2010

About Seton Hall Law

Verizon Public Interest Summer Fellows

Empowering Victims of Domestic Violence

This summer, six Seton Hall University School of Law students are able to apply their passion for public interest while gaining expertise in representing victims of domestic violence through the Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program.

Verizon Public Interest Summer Fellows

Seated, from left to right: Doug Schoenberger, Verizon Foundation; Victoria Kryzsiak, ‘11; Colleen Mullen, ‘12; Candace Johnson, ‘11; Justine Digeronimo ‘12; Nicholas Corsano ‘12; Gabrielle Cuskelly ‘12 Standing, from left to right: Mark Ferraz, Verizon Post Graduate Fellow; Suzanne Grossier, The Rachel Coalition; Marsha Papanek, Partners for Women and Justice; Donnette Barnett Verley, Verizon Foundation; Melody Carter Brown; Verizon Foundation; June Hanson, Partners for Women and Justice; Lisa Kalichman, Essex-Newark Legal Services; Diane Moxley, Essex-Newark Legal Services; Professor Kevin Kelly, Seton Hall Law.

Created with a $90,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program is a collaborative effort with several regional social service agencies. Along with providing representation for domestic violence survivors, the fellowships are designed to create a pool of lawyers committed to assisting those affected by domestic violence.

The fellows each receive a $4,000 award to support their 10-week working placement. The first week, they participated in a customized training to build their understanding of family law with special sessions offered by the advocacy organizations Manavi, Inc. and The Rachel Coalition, as well as several Seton Hall Law School professors with expertise in related areas of law.

In addition, program participants, domestic violence victim advocates and Verizon Foundation representatives convened for an advanced screening and discussion of the PBS documentary, “Telling Amy’s Story.” Funded by the Verizon Foundation, the film recounts the timeline and escalation of a domestic violence homicide— in human terms. The victim’s parents, co-workers, law enforcement officers, and court personnel share their perspectives on what happened to Amy in the weeks, months, and years leading up to her death (See Trailer below).

Spurred by the compelling and tragic narrative, after the screening the advocates shared their own experiences and discussed the legal hurdles and emotional challenges faced combating domestic violence.

The fellows are now spending the summer at their placement agencies and will meet again later in the summer to further explore issues related to domestic violence and public interest practice in light of their working experiences. They further benefit by mentoring from the Verizon Public Interest Postgraduate Fellow, Mark Ferraz, who is spending a year at Partners for Women and Justice in Montclair.

Verizon Public Interest Summer Fellows are working at the following sites:

Nicholas Corsano, 2L – Northeast Legal Services, Jersey City Prior to enrolling at Seton Hall Law, Corsano tutored underprivileged children in West Philadelphia. He said he specifically appreciated his fellowship for the opportunity it gave him to be part of “giving a voice to those who are all too frequently ignored.”

Gabrielle Cuskelly, 2L – Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law During her first year at Seton Hall Law, Cuskelly worked with the Pro Bono and Haiti Rule of Law projects. This past spring, she was a volunteer with the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP), a joint initiative of Seton Hall Law and Rutgers.

Justine Digeronimo, 2L – Legal Services of New Jersey, Edison During her first year at Seton Hall Law, Digeronimo worked with DVAP and the Fugitive Safe Surrender project.

Candace Johnson, 3L – Legal Services of New Jersey, Edison Johnson previously served as a volunteer with the Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP), a New York City program that trains students to assist domestic violence survivors. At Seton Hall Law, she serves as a Legal Education Opportunities teaching fellow.

Victoria Kryziak, 3L – Partners for Women and Justice, Montclair At Seton Hall Law, Kryziak has served as an instructor with NJ LEEP, a pipeline diversity initiative that assists urban students with developing skills for academic success.

Colleen Mullen, 2L – Essex-Newark Legal Services, Newark Mullen previously served as a volunteer with CAP in New York City, and DVAP in Newark.

The Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program also provides free financial literacy and job preparation workshops for domestic violence clients to help them attain personal, professional and financial independence.

Learn more about Verizon Fellowships >>

Learn more about “Telling Amy’s Story” and how to help spread the word >> 

video Watch the PBS documentary, “Telling Amy’s Story.” Funded by the Verizon Foundation