Shira Weissman is a 2008 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. She is volunteering at NCYL, working with attorney Rebecca Gudeman on reproductive health care rights for foster youth. Shira obtained her B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan and has an M.S. in education from Pace University in New York. Prior to law school, Shira spent two years as a third-grade teacher at P.S. 1 in the Bronx with Teach for America. She often served as an advocate for her students to get the special services they were entitled to. After teaching, Shira spent a year traveling throughout Southeast Asia and India, and taught in a school for homeless children in Varanasi, India. During law school, Shira worked on juvenile delinquency and school expulsion cases at the Bluhm Legal Clinic. She also clerked for the Cook County Public Defender’s Office and the Office of Attorney General. Following law school, she worked as a litigation associate at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago. Shira just recently moved to the Bay Area and hopes to build a career in child advocacy.
Back row: Kate Walker, Novella Coleman, Nicholas Joy. Front row: Abby Barnes, Alexis Adler.
Alexis Adler is in her third year at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. She is a former editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law and a member of the East Bay Community Law Center Student Steering Committee. During law school, Alexis clerked at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office’s Domestic Violence Unit, and the East Bay Community Law Center’s Medical-Legal Partnership with Children’s Hospital Oakland. She also volunteered with the California Asylum Representation Clinic. Alexis graduated Phi Beta Kappa from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in Rhetoric. Before law school, Alexis taught Social Studies to fourth and fifth graders with Breakthrough Collaborative in San Francisco, spending school recesses mastering Foursquare. Her experience teaching inspired her to go to law school to pursue a career in child advocacy. Alexis is working at NCYL on child welfare and juvenile justice reform.
Abby Barnes is a junior at Vanderbilt University, majoring in Human & Organizational Development and Child Studies. Abby helps run Synergy, a tutoring and mentoring program that matches college mentors with students in Metro Nashville Public Schools. She also volunteers weekly at a school for special education students. Abby interned earlier this year at the Silver Spring Day School, a preschool in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Red Beet Records in East Nashville. Abby is very excited to be spending the semester in the Bay Area interning with NCYL. She is working with Communications Director Tracy Schroth.
Novella Coleman is a second-year at Harvard Law School. At NCYL, Novella is working with attorneys Leecia Welch and Jesse Hahnel on education issues. Novella’s interest in the educational success of all students goes back to her undergraduate years at Stanford University. There, she served on the local NAACP’s Education and Community Service Committee, and volunteered as a tutor with Ravenswood Reads. She also volunteered at the Bresee Foundation Youth Center, where she co-led workshops, tutored, and supervised field trips. During summers as an undergraduate, Novella tutored students in reading at Berendo Middle School in Central Los Angeles, and taught math at Hoover Middle School in San Jose through Breakthrough Collaborative. After graduating with a B.A.S. in mathematics and philosophy, Novella was a Cosby Fellow at Stanford’s School of Education where she earned a California teaching credential and M.A. in education. Novella has taught math at San Lorenzo High School, Lakeside School, and East Palo Alto Academy. As a law student, Novella has gained experience in different areas of public interest law, including internships at the ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project and the Boston Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, where she worked on employment discrimination cases based on race and national origin. This summer, Novella will be working at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco.
Nicholas Joy is a second-year at Harvard Law School. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 with a degree in History and Classical Studies. A Bay Area native, he spent last summer as a law clerk at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in San Jose, where he worked for supervisors on the Motions, Writs, & Appeals and Sexual Assaults teams. As an undergraduate, he spent a summer interning at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City. At NCYL, he is working with Bill Grimm, Leecia Welch, and Camille Roberts on a lawsuit intended to reform the child welfare system in Clark County, Nevada. He is very excited to get to spend the semester advocating for under-served youth.
Kate Walker is a second-year at the University of Iowa College of Law. She is a student writer on the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, and board member of Iowa’s Equal Justice Foundation. Kate earned her undergraduate degree in Public Policy Analysis with a focus in Psychology from Pomona College in Claremont, California. During undergrad, she played soccer and served as a co-captain of the team her senior year. She also tutored for the Upward Bound program. During her year between undergrad and law school, Kate worked at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles in the Housing Unit working on evictions and foreclosures. Following her first year at University of Iowa, she interned at the Alliance for Children’s Rights (ACR) in Los Angeles. During her time at ACR, she focused primarily on special education issues, developed special-education training materials, and worked directly with clients to assess and assist in individualized education planning. She is working with Deputy Director Patrick Gardner on T.R. v. Dreyfus, a case in Washington State to improve access to mental health services for children with Medicaid. Additionally, she is working with Fiza Quriashi on the Juvenile Mental Health Collaborative Court in Alameda County. Kate, an Iowa native, is happily avoiding a freezing Iowa winter this year to work with NCYL! She will be continuing as a law clerk at NCYL through summer 2010.
Larry Nguyen is NCYL’s new Assistant Administrator. He earned his B.S. from UC Berkeley, majoring in Sociology and Environmental Economics & Policy.
Prior to joining NCYL, he provided administrative support to the Prevention Institute in Oakland, CA, a non-profit dedicated to violence prevention and addressing health disparities within marginalized communities.
Larry also served as a Peer Leader at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco, providing support and educational services to LGBTQ and/or Asian American & Pacific Islander youth.
NCYL attorney Bryn Martyna will be returning to NCYL in February after her maternity leave. She and husband, Matthew Bruss, are the proud parents of son Calvin. (See photo at right of Bryn and Calvin, who is wearing his gift from the NCYL staff.)
Bryn Martyna and son, Calvin
John F. O’Toole, Jr.
John F. O’Toole, Jr., the father of NCYL Director John O’Toole and a longtime supporter of NCYL, died November 5th at the age of 91. Mr. O’Toole, known as “Jack”, was the only person in America who read every word of Youth Law News, according to his son, John. He most certainly was the only person who called in grammatical and typographical corrections as well as his suggestions about syntax and content. Jack loved NCYL’s work and NCYL was his favorite charity.
At the time of this posting of Youth Law News, the following people had made gifts to NCYL in memory of Jack O’Toole:
- George and Dorothy Boyhan
- Tom and Nancy M. Boyhan
- Rudolph and Ellen Caganek
- Jimmy and Marion Cathcart
- Former US Sen. Dick and Julie Clark
- Jim Duncan
- Doyle and Elza Gilbert
- Pam Yee and Yosh Ito
- Elizabeth Smith-Malik
- Doug Lappi and Darlene Martineau
- Marcia Chan and Richard Padovani
- Marci Rubin
- Stephen Bates and Leecia Welch
- Christopher and Jenny Wu
- Shirley Hom and Daniel Yee