theory institute

About the Institute

The Drexel Summer Theory Institute is a summer program for Drexel law students with public interest internships in the greater Philadelphia area. The Institute is modeled on a similar program established by two public interest lawyers, Nisha Agarwal and Jocelyn Simonson, for Harvard law students with public interest internships in New York City. Institute Fellows meet with the conveners one evening per week to discuss works of social and critical theory as they relate to the Fellows’ public interest work. Although the conveners will seek to tailor the readings to the interests of the group, some examples of the kinds of thinkers we might engage with include Michel Foucault, F.A. Hayek, bell hooks, Martha Nussbaum, and Pierre Bourdieu.

The Summer Theory Institute involves a significant but not overwhelming commitment on the part of the Fellows. The Fellows will be asked to attend all ten evening sessions, prepare for each meeting ahead of time, write short response papers to the readings, participate in the discussions, and lead one week’s discussion. If feasible, we may also arrange a joint session or event towards the end of the summer in New York with our counterparts from the Harvard program.

The goal of the Institute is to provide a space in which students can think critically about and reflect more deeply upon their everyday experiences practicing public interest law, using social theory as a lens through which to do so. Working together to think through the role that social theory can play in legal practice and activism allows the Fellows to engage more meaningfully with their organizations’ methods of pursuing justice on a day-to-day basis. By creating the space to discuss larger theoretical concepts outside of the work environment, the Institute enhances the Fellows’ senses of the potential for intellectual rigor and personal fulfillment in public interest work. The Institute also aims to foster a community of leaders who will bring their enthusiasm for pursuing social change through the law back to the Drexel community at the end of the summer.

Summer 2014 Fellows

Andrew Bond U.S. District Court, District of Delaware; Wilmington
Kristin Brown Superior Court of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Andrew Bull Court of Common Pleas; Philadelphia
Emily Derstine Friesen Friends of Farmworkers; Philadelphia
Marcelo Fernandez-Viña Health Center 3 Medical-Legal-Community Partnership (HC3 | MLCP); Philadelphia
Nicholas Hubner Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; Philadelphia
Lauren McCulloch SeniorLAW Center; Philadelphia
Stephanie Moyer Bucks County Public Defender’s Office; Doylestown
Alice Thornewill American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Lori Vetrano Court of Common Pleas; Philadelphia

Summer 2013 Fellows

Eric Bergel Philadelphia Solicitor’s Office; Philadelphia
Mallory Deardorff U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Holly Dennehy Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts; Philadelphia
Viren Doshi Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Temple University Beasley School of Law; Philadelphia
Karen Grethlein Court of Common Pleas; Philadelphia
Arona Gur Defender Association of Philadelphia; Philadelphia
Kelsey Logar Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; Philadelphia
Max Orenstein Capital Habeas Unit, Federal Community Defender Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Elia Robertson Community Legal Services; Philadelphia
Lauren Runza Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; Philadelphia
Stephanie Young Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Division; Trenton

Summer 2012 Fellows

Erica Briant Community Legal Services; Philadelphia
Cree Davis Court of Common Pleas; Philadelphia
Virginia Gordon U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Danielle Hendrickson Philadelphia VIP; Philadelphia
Meghann Hudson-Galloway National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women; Philadelphia
Krystal Kane Pennsylvania Innocence Project; Philadelphia
Edward Kang Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; Philadelphia
Maanda Makwarela Community Legal Services; Philadelphia
Abby Shepherd AIDS Law Project; Philadelphia
Christine Weller Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts; Philadelphia

Summer 2011 Fellows

Eric Brei City of Philadelphia Law Department; Philadelphia
Kathryn Brown Friends of Farmworkers; Philadelphia
Tony Chiaramonte Federal Defender’s Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Molly Costello Pennsylvania Innocence Project; Philadelphia
Rajbir Datta Camden County Prosecutor’s Office; Camden
Calandra Hersrud Nationalities Service Center; Philadelphia
Rachel Horton U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Jack Stucker Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.; Wilmington
Elizabeth Tarloski Nationalities Service Center; Philadelphia
Julia Theobald Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project; Philadelphia

Summer 2010 Fellows

Amy Berger Support Center for Child Advocates; Philadelphia
Krysten Connon Criminal Division of the Court of Common Pleas; Philadelphia
Jennifer Ellsworth-Aults Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office; Philadelphia
Susan Kinniry Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts; Philadelphia
Han Meadway Community Legal Services; Philadelphia
Monica Clarke Platt U.S. District Court, District of Delaware; Wilmington
Kevin Rieffel U.S. Attorney’s Office; Philadelphia
Blair Thompson Federal Community Defender; Philadelphia
Bob Torres Tofu Hound Press; Philadelphia

Conveners

Umbreen Bhatti American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware
Stephanie Dorenbosch Friends of Farmworkers
Arianna Freeman Federal Community Defender Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Ryan Hancock Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Anil Kalhan Drexel University Law School

Questions

Questions may be directed to the conveners at dsti [at] kalhan-dot-com.

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