By far one of the greatest ways USF Public Interest Law Foundation helps to make an impact in our community is by providing grants to USF Law students who choose to pursue unpaid summer legal work. This past summer, 25 remarkable students were selected to each receive grants of $4,000. We are proud to offer these grants through the generous donations we receive throughout the year as well as through several fundraising events sponsored by USF and PILF.
Our largest fundraising opportunity is the Annual PILF Gala and Auction. This year’s Gala and Auction takes place on November 4th. As the Auction draws nearer, we want to take a moment to introduce our most recent 2011 Summer Grantees in the Q&A’s below.
2L, Alicia Kauk Opens Up About Her Commitment to Social Service
Alicia Kauk was born and raised in Petaluma and graduated from UC Berkeley. She spent her summer at Health Legal Services, a nonprofit legal organization that removes barriers to health stability and secures justice by providing free, holistic legal services for low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
1. Why did you choose law school, and why USF in particular?
My studies as a social welfare major and a disability studies minor at Berkeley instilled in me the values of social justice and social service. A personal journey through the U.S. healthcare system intensified my desire to uphold health rights. I attended law school to pursue work as a social servant, and to uphold the rights of low-income, marginalized populations who are disproportionately underrepresented in the United States legal system. I chose USF because of the school’s commitment to social service and social service.
2. Please describe the kind of work you did this summer, or the type of projects you are working on.
I facilitated client intake and provided assistance in a wide range of practice areas such as public benefits rights and insurance disputes, housing discrimination suits, estate planning, employment discrimination and reasonable accommodation matters, and breach-of-confidentiality issues. As HLS emphasizes the value of outreach and education, I also volunteered at the Food Basket, provide seminars at HIV facilities, and participate in public benefits task force meetings.
3. What did you find most interesting or inspiring about the work you did?
I was inspired by the HLS attorneys’ unwavering commitment to the HIV/AIDS and diabetes communities, which are frequently overlooked as marginalized populations. I was inspired by the passion in the HLS attorneys’ work and their selfless dedication to the public interest field.
4. Are you interested in public interest legal work as a career? What sort of law would you like to practice?
I am committed to the public interest legal field. I aspire to become a disability rights attorney and to advocate for equal health rights and equal access to healthcare.