Women Law Students

The WLAM Foundation's primary educational project is to fund scholarships for outstanding women law students at each of Michigan's law schools.

Each spring, the Foundation makes financial awards to women law students on the basis of their demonstrated leadership capabilities, community service in such areas as family law, child advocacy or domestic violence, commitment to diversity, and potential for advancing the position of women in society. Candidates for the award may be full or part-time students at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Michigan State University Detroit College of Law, Wayne State University Law School, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, or University of Michigan Law School.   The amount awarded annually has grown substantially from $500 given to each of five students in 1998; in 2002, the WLAM Foundation awarded $1,500 to each of nine students, and $2,500 to a tenth student. The tenth student, attending the University of Detroit Mercy Law School, received a special awarded funded entirely by the Howard & Howard Community Reinvestment Fund.   In 2004, the WLAM Foundation awarded to 15 law students a record total of $42,500. The substantial increase in award money available was due to generous contributions by the Ford Motor Company Fund, Howard & Howard Community Reinvestment Fund, General Motors Legal Staff, and individuals like Elizabeth Gleicher. Several regional chapters of the WLAM also support the WLAM Foundation, particularly the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Regions.

Winners of the 2017 Awards are:

Emannuela Jean-Etienne, WLAM Foundation General Motors Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School

As an undergraduate at Duke University, Emmanuela interned with Haitian Women of Miami and the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, local non-profit organizations committed to meeting the needs of underserved women and their families.  In law school, she has interned with the Michigan Innocence Clinic, the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic, and the National Health Law Program. She has also served as the Political Action Chair of the Black Law Students Association and the Vice President of the Michigan Health Law Organization. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.  Emmanuela plans to pursue a career in civil rights and health law after graduation.

Ana Juneja, WLAM Foundation Florence King Scholar in Patent Law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

After graduating with a science degree from Michigan State University and starting law school, Ana has interned at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, further committing to a field that bridges the gap between science, technology, and the law.  Throughout her time in undergraduate and law schools, Ana has been committed to promoting young women of color in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  She is an associate editor for both Law Review and Law Journal. Using her international background, formal education, and multilingual skills, Ana plans to work in the global intellectual property field after graduation.


Husnah Khan, WLAM Foundation Dawn Van Hoek Scholar at Wayne State University Law School

Husnah Khan is a second-year law student at Wayne Law School, where she is President of the Muslim Law Students Association, a member of the Women’s Law Caucus, and a member of the South Asian Bar Association.  Husnah is also the American Bar Association’s Lieutenant Governor of Public Interest for the Sixth Circuit.  Last summer, Husnah completed an internship at the Michigan Innocence Clinic where she worked on eleven wrongful conviction cases. She was awarded an AmeriCorps JD Equal Justice Works Fellowship for her service to indigent defendants.  This summer, she will work in an American Bar Association Business Law Diversity Clerkship.  


Ava Morgenstern, WLAM Foundation Kimberly M. Cahill Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School

As a second-year student at the UM Law School, Ava she specializes in immigration, refugee, and asylum law.  She has represented clients through the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.  Additionally she has interned at the AIRE Centre in London and will intern in summer of 2017 at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, DC.  On campus, Ava is an Associate Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law as well as a board member of the Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association and the National Lawyers Guild.  After graduation, Ava plans to continue representing individuals seeking a secure immigration status in the United States.


Wanda Roberts, WLAM Foundation Scholar at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Wanda spent 25 years with Michigan State University Extension, working as a 4-H Youth Development and Money Management Education professional.  At WMU Cooley Law School, Wanda volunteers for the Michigan Center for Civic Education High School Mock Trial Tournament, and the Neighborhood Legal Services’ Elder Law Center.  Wanda is a student attorney with the Pro Bono Access to Bankruptcy Court Program, and Cooley’s Family Law Assistance Project – where many of the clients are domestic violence survivors. In addition, Wanda is now serving as the President of the WMU Cooley Hand House, and is the secretary for the newly-formed Society for Personal and Professional Integrity.  Wanda plans to practice family law and legal aid work after graduation.  

Lauren Rogers, WLAM Foundation General Motors Scholar at Michigan State University College of Law

A commitment to public interest led Lauren to MSU College of Law after spending years raising her kids on a small family farm outside Chelsea, Michigan.  Aiming to serve families in their time of need, Lauren has been working as a Law Clerk in the Jackson office of Legal Services of South Central Michigan where she has advocated for families to keep their homes and maintain much-needed public benefits.  This coming summer Lauren will be working with families involved in the foster-care system at the University of Michigan’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic.  At MSU Law, she has served on the board of the Public Interest Law Society, the Mindfulness in Law Society, and the Student Parent Alliance.


Nicole Sappingfield, WLAM Foundation Dickinson Wright Women's Network Scholar at Wayne State University Law School

After graduation from college, Nicole worked at Towsley Children's House in Ann Arbor as a preschool teacher's assistant. Since starting law school, she has worked as a law clerk at Paesano Akkashian Apkarian, PC, and as a Summer Associate at Dickinson Wright, PLLC.  Nicole furthered her experience in public interest law in her third year, interning with Wayne Law's Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer clinic.  She has also served on the executive board of the Wayne Law Review as Symposium Director for "The Changing Face of the War on Drugs: Mass Incarceration, the War on Drugs, and Changing Drug Policy." Nicole plans to continue her legal career at Dickinson Wright, PLLC as an Associate this fall.


Jennifer Smith, WLAM Foundation General Motors Scholar at Detroit Mercy School of Law

Jennifer is a third-year evening student at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law who juggles the responsibilities of single motherhood, self-employment, law studies and volunteering.  Jennifer has volunteered for Rockpointe Community Church, UDM Law’s legal clinics, in developed and operated a non-profit organization that served the homeless community of Detroit during her undergraduate years at Wayne State University.  Jennifer is passionate about working with victims of domestic violence and within the area of human trafficking.   After graduation, Jennifer plans to dedicate her legal career to working to facilitate a means of access to legal service for underrepresented people.


Amber Thomas, WLAM Foundation Scholar at Michigan State University School of Law

Amber received her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, Magna Cum Laude, from Central State University. After graduation, she spent a year in AmeriCorps, working with 8th grade students in inner-city schools.  Since starting law school, Amber has worked as a student clinician at the Chance at Childhood Clinic, and volunteer at the Lansing City Rescue Mission.  She is a member of Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity, and is the Social and Academic Chair for the Black Law Students Association. . Amber has served as a Teaching Assistant for the Effective Legal Analysis and Processes course and as a mentor for first year and prospective law students.  Upon graduation, Amber plans to become a litigator for a firm or the government, ensuring justice and diversity by advocating for minorities and children.


Luciana Viramontes, WLAM Foundation General Motors Scholar at Western Michigan Cooley Law School

Luciana is a third-year law student, currently serving as Editor in Chief of the Cooley Law Review, Lead Associate Editor for the Homeland and National Security Law Review, a member of the Jessup International Moot Court Team, a Volunteer through the Cooley Volunteer Corp, and a Cooley Ambassador to new students. She has also worked for over two years as a part-time Law Clerk for the Senior Citizens’ Law Center, in addition to volunteering locally in her community. Prior to law school, Luciana earned a Bachelor’s Science in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Latin American studies from Central Michigan University. Following law school, Luciana plans to pursue a career in immigration law and international law.



Aruna Vithiananthan, WLAM Foundation Scholar at Detroit Mercy School of Law

Aruna is a Canadian-American Dual JD student who is completing  two law degrees simultaneously at Detroit Mercy School of Law and The University of Windsor Faculty of Law.  She is involved in student government at both institutions and is the Chapter President of If/When/How, a national organization that advocates for reproductive justice.  This year the UDM-Windsor Law Chapter of If/When/How has raised money for “Enough SAID Detroit,” in order to fund the testing of forgotten rape kits in Detroit and advocate for the survivors.  Aruna is interested in union-side labor law and will be working in the field after completing her law degrees.



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