Empowering Our Youth to Strengthen Our Democracy
2023 No. 4
Like many youth voting programs, Students for Justice works to achieve voter outreach that has a real impact on elections. What sets Students for Justice apart from other youth civic engagement programs is our focus on developing the political organizing and professional skills our young people need to lead the ongoing fight for voting rights in this country. This development is facilitated by providing our interns with experienced volunteer mentors who guide them through the program and can sometimes even offer career guidance. 

In this issue of our newsletter, we want to highlight the impact that participation in Students for Justice can have on an intern’s professional growth.
Above: Julian Amaya
Below: Andy Hutcher
Julian Amaya just finished his junior year at Morehouse College in Atlanta and was an intern with Students for Justice during the fall of 2022. Andy Hutcher, a lawyer in New York City, has been a mentor with Students for Justice since our very first session in the summer of 2020. From an early intervention when Andy helped Julian trim his over-full schedule to helping him understand the law school application process to finding him a summer job at a law firm, Andy was there for Julian. Julian, for his part, was open to being mentored and made the most of his time with Students for Justice. Here’s what they told us about their experience working together:
First of all, Julian is terrific and a pleasure to work with. Where I think maybe I had the most impact on Julian was helping him relatively early on in the program when Julian realized -- as happens when you're an active individual who wants to participate in a lot of things that are interesting and meaningful to you -- that he had overcommitted, not just to Students for Justice, but across the board. What was rewarding to me, and I think helpful to Julian, was talking him through how to figure out what to do with that situation. We spent time reviewing Julian’s different commitments, figuring out where he was having the greatest impact, developing a way to prioritize those commitments -how to think about which, if any commitments could be successfully transitioned to somebody else. And fortunately, that resulted in Julian remaining very active in Students for Justice and fulfilling the other important commitments he had made while maintaining a manageable workload.
A high point for me was definitely Andy's help on how to transition from where I am to get to law school. Andy, as a practicing attorney, had a lot of really great advice. It might have been the best advice I've gotten since I told somebody I wanted to go to law school. He told me when I should be taking the LSAT, and what it looks like. He told me what I should be looking at when trying to assess what schools I want to actually attend.
We started talking about why Julian liked Morehouse, and the environment that he thought he did his best school work in. Then we transferred those concepts to law school, and we took a step back and said, OK, let's figure out the criteria that are important to Julian’s selection of a law school. There's a wide variety of law schools in terms of their size, their ranking, their full-time/part-time arrangements, etc. We started working on developing a list of what was important to Julian to think about in a law school, even before he applies.
But then also Andy looked over my resume and said, hey, would you like me to send this over to some of my lawyer friends to see if any of them have any positions? And then he advocated for me. I got a call shortly after that from Greenberg Traurig, a large law firm in Atlanta, offering me a summer internship, and the person who called mentioned that I had been highly recommended. So, I really thank Andy. Getting the internship happened just because he helped me out, because he cared and wanted me to get some real-world experience with the practice of law.
For anyone thinking about law school, to me it's key, if you can make it happen, to get a little experience inside a law firm. So that's how we discussed Julian working for a law firm in Atlanta. Fortunately for me, I went to Vanderbilt Law School, so I have a number of really good friends who now have made their careers in Atlanta. At Greenberg Traurig, where Julian’s going, he’s definitely going to get to work with excellent lawyers and other staff members and in an environment where work ethic, diversity and inclusiveness are valued. I’m a big believer in on-the-job experience. That’s a big part of what Students for Justice is all about.
Claire Ullman & Sandra Radoff
Help us find opportunities for our former interns!
We work hard to make Students for Justice a career stepping stone for our interns. One of the ways we do this is by sharing job and internship opportunities with our program alumni. If you know of an opportunity for current college students or recent graduates, in any field, please email us to let us know about it so we can share it with our intern community. You might even consider having one of our former interns work for you this summer!
Want to make a difference?
The ongoing success of the internship program has been made possible largely by the Zoom house parties we've been organizing (more than 50 since Spring 2021!) Thank you to our AMAZING house party hosts for pulling their friends, co-workers, neighbors, and families together to educate people about the program and how they can engage in its on-going growth and success. To learn more about hosting or co-hosting a virtual party, please email Deb Wachspress, Development Director, at deb@studentsforjusticevote.org.

Help us reach more people! Please forward this newsletter to everyone you know who might want to help young people save our democracy.
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