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.
After graduating from Madonna University, Marie worked as a paralegal at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn, and as a Senior Trust Advisor at Plante Moran Trust. She spent the first three years at the Wayne State Law School in the evening program. In summer of 2018 in she moved to Washington, D.C., to intern on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Upon her return to Michigan, she participated in the Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic, alongside the State Appellate Defender’s Office. She is spending her final semester externing for the Michigan Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division. Marie plans to continue her career in public service after graduation.
Tanya Elzy was born and raised in Pontiac, Michigan and still resides there. She is the first college graduate in her family and plans to lead by example for those that follow. She is married and, together, they have seven children.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Cornerstone University in 2005, Tanya went on to obtain a master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University in 2016. Tanya serves as the current Vice President for the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) at the Auburn Hills campus of Cooley Law school. Tanya was also a Mock Trial finalist during her first year of Law school and serves as a student law clerk for the Oakland County Bar Association’s Inns of Court.
Long before economic enterprise assistance was in vogue for disenfranchised communities, Mrs. Elzy helped ladies discover their true passions and turn them into entrepreneurial endeavors. Ms. Elzy assisted women with finding their passion and this developed into a business that allowed for the creation of ten new small businesses in the area.
Ms. Elzy knows that this process of becoming a lawyer is just the beginning of a new and even more exciting chapter in her life. She is grateful for every opportunity and extremely grateful to Dobrusin Law for this scholarship.
Erin is originally from St. Joseph, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2011 and then promptly moved to India, where she did communications for an organization fighting the trafficking of minors. She then moved back to Minneapolis and worked in domestic violence and humanitarian relief work for four years. Erin and her husband (and their all of their pets) moved to Michigan in 2016 for her to begin law school. Since coming to the University of Michigan, Erin has continued her commitment to public interest work, interning at Human Rights First in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit. She helped found the Gender Violence Project student group and was the Editor-in-Chief for the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law. Erin will clerk after graduation.
After graduating from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Emily spent six years as a classroom teacher. Following her teaching career, she worked for three years as a program director and advocate at Disability Rights South Dakota (formerly South Dakota Advocacy Services). At DRSD, Emily represented both children and adults with disabilities who alleged abuse, neglect, or rights violations in public institutions. It was her role as an advocate that inspired Emily to attend law school and the University of Detroit Mercy was the perfect place to pursue her legal career. Emily is a UDM fellow, a member of the law review, and is actively involved in the American Constitution Society, student chapter. She has externed at the Michigan Children’s Law Center and plans to spend the 2019 summer and fall terms working at the Michigan Family Law Project and the Office of the Federal Defender, respectively. Emily and her husband, Gabe, are also former foster parents and they have adopted their two sons from the foster care system. The family enjoys exploring their new Michigan home in their 32-foot camper. Following law school, Emily hopes to focus her practice on public interest work.
Hillary first moved to Michigan to teach physics in Detroit through Teach for America. After several years in education, she enrolled in law school at University of Michigan and fell in love with studying the law. She spent both her summers in D.C. working for the law firm Akin Gump. Her first summer, Hillary was selected as a pro bono scholar and split her time between the firm and Tahirih Justice Center, a non-profit that aids immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence. In January 2019, Hillary and her husband, Ben, welcomed their first child, Lucas Rene Salazar, and Hillary fell in love with being a mom. When Hillary graduates in 2019, she will clerk on the sixth circuit, after which, she hopes to practice appellate law.
After graduating from Wayne State University in 1992 with a BA in Public Relations, Clarissa or “Reese” as she goes by, spent 30 years cultivating a fulfilling and successful career in telecommunications and raising her six beautiful children. After an opportunity arose to move back to Michigan in 2013, Reese knew it was time to pursue her lifelong dream of going to law school and began her journey in the fall of 2015 at WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School. During school she continued to work full time, raise her children as a single mom, and go to law school on the weekends. At Cooley, she participated in the Ambassador and Marshal programs assisting new students as well as serving as Marshal for nine Cooley graduation ceremonies. Reese is an active member of the International Legal Honor Society of Phi Delta Phi. She began working as a legal assistant at Grua, Tupper & Young, PLC in January of 2017 and hopes to serve as an attorney at the firm after passing the Michigan Bar.
Allison is a second-year law student at Michigan State University College of Law. After graduating from Marquette University in 2013, Allison completed two years of service with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity through AmeriCorps. After completing her AmeriCorps service, she spent two years working at other housing nonprofits in the Milwaukee area. Since starting her legal education at MSU Law in 2017, she has continued her commitment to public interest law through an internship at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee as an Equal Justice America Fellow, participation in MSU Law’s Housing Clinic, and as Vice President of MSU Law’s Public Interest Law Society. Additionally, Allison is a teaching assistant for MSU Law’s Research, Writing, and Advocacy curriculum, a member of the Board of Advocates, and was recently chosen to serve as Senior Notes Editor for the Michigan State Law Review. Allison plans to continue to do public interest legal work after graduation.
After graduating from the University of Detroit Mercy College of Engineering and Science, Stephanie spent nearly 15 years working as an engineer in both the chemical and automotive industries. She successfully completed Six Sigma Black Belt certification in 2014 and frequently uses the structured methods of problem solving and stakeholder analysis she learned. In 2016, she returned to Detroit Mercy Law where has enjoyed student life and the appreciation of the diverse experience she brings to the classroom. Stephanie plans to utilize her technical background in her legal career with hopes of engaging in litigation.
Emily Wacyk Paski
Emily Wacyk Paski is a second-year student at Michigan State University College of Law. Prior to law school, she graduated summa cum laude as a Medallion Scholar from Western Michigan University, where she earned a degree in political science, nonprofit management, and journalism. She went on to a career in substance use disorder prevention and mental health advocacy, and continues to study public health policy at MSU Law. She is committed to public service as a founding member of the Capital Area Perinatal Wellness Coalition and a member of the Birth Rights Bar Association. Further, Emily sits on the board of MSU’s chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, and is an editor for the International Law Review. As a single parent to a son, Otto (5), she is also a liaison for the Student Parent Alliance in the Diversity and Equity Services Office. Emily is most passionate about health equity for women and children in at-risk populations. As a candidate for MSU’s Indigenous Law Certificate, Emily hopes to work with Michigan’s twelve federally-recognized tribes after passing the Bar. She is currently a clinician in MSU’s Indian Law Clinic, where she works on Indian Child Welfare Act cases and other matters of tribal self-governance.
Brianna became interested in patent law because of its place at the intersection of technological innovation and the art of words. She pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering knowing that she wanted to go to law school and started law school at the University of Michigan months after graduating from the University of Utah. In law school, she has taken advantage of many opportunities outside of the classroom. As a vice president of the Intellectual Property Student Association, she set up a mentorship program to give 2L and 3L students any easy way to connect and share their wisdom with 1Ls. She has also served as the Events Chair for the Education Law and Policy Society Board and is an Articles Editor for the Michigan Technology Law Review. She also is a mentor in the Women Law Student Association and has worked on a variety of projects including the Environmental Crimes Project and Project Access. Brianna plans to work in patent law after graduation. As she does so, she will continue to encourage women considering work in both STEM fields and the law.
Alexis graduated from Wayne State University in 2009, she began her career as a Marketing Director for the City of Detroit’s Homeland Security Department, before transitioning to the State of Michigan Secretary of State Television Network as the Director of Business Development. Her entrepreneurial and independent thinking mindset has enabled her to build expertise in business development and strategic digital marketing which, ultimately lead to the launch of her own Public Relations and Marketing firm in Birmingham, Michigan. Serving clients for over 13 years, exposed her to a variety of intellectual property and transactional law matters and, as a result, she found herself drawn to the challenges found at the intersection of corporate law and intellectual property. She enrolled in law school to further explore that nexus. While at Wayne Law School, Alexis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to diversity and leadership. She is a Governor-at-large for the Wayne Law Student Board of Governors. She was appointed to the law school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Wayne Law Black Law Student Association as the Community Chair. Alexis has taken an active role in building outreach and intervention programs targeting youth from underrepresented groups. She has engaged in extensive work with Jack and Jill of America, contributed expertise to community based advisory boards, and engaged in fundraising to support a variety of initiatives. Alexis is the devoted Wife and Mother to her supportive husband and their two young children. She is a world traveler and cultural explorer that enjoys seeking adventure and challenge. She has been extremely happy with her transition into a profession that aligns with her interests and aptitudes. Thus, Alexis is excited to be joining Plunkett Cooney Law Firm as a Summer Associate this summer.
Jacqueline is a third-year student at Wayne State University Law School. Her decision to pursue a career in law was guided by her desire to promote a diverse and inclusive society. During her time at Wayne Law, she has served on the Executive Board of the Wayne Law Review as the Executive Note & Comment Editor, Women’s Law Caucus as the Professional Development Chair, and President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. She also interned for the Honorable Marianne O. Battani of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Upon graduation, Jacqueline is looking forward to serving on the 2019-2020 Executive Board of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association and is passionate about using her legal education to help advance the rights of women and minorities.