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Kelly Kwan and Gloria-Leilani Palma
Kelly Kwan and Gloria-Leilani Palma

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law is continuing to support summer legislative fellowships for law students with Hawaiʻi’s congressional representatives. This long-standing program honors the late Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink.

Gloria-Leilani N. Palma and Kelly A.S.Y. Kwan are the 2020 Patsy T. Mink Legislative Fellows. Both will work remotely this summer; Kwan will work with Sen. Mazie Hirono, and Palma will work with Sen. Brian Schatz. Both awardees are members of the UH law school’s Ulu Lehua Scholars Program.

“I am most inspired by Congresswoman Mink’s unfailing belief that we should all strive for more in hopes of creating a better world,” said Kwan, a co-founder of CJ’s Cubby that provided food assistance to law students with food insecurity.

“This summer I will be working with Sen. Hirono’s office and looking at federal issues relating to the environment and the federal Department of Justice,” Kwan explained. She has worked with women in correctional facilities, and is interested in criminal justice reform.

Palma, who was recently elected president of the Student Bar Association, said she is honored to be a Mink Fellow and grateful to Sen. Schatz’s office for allowing her to work remotely. “As a law clerk with the senator’s office I’ll be helping the domestic policy team with upcoming legislation,” said Palma.

Palma added, “I’m excited to further my understanding of policy making at the federal level, and I’m already seeing how my Richardson education has enhanced my understanding of the law.” Palma has a history of advocacy for some of the most marginalized in the community and is passionate about women’s equality.

Women law students established the Mink fellowship in 2003, a year after the congresswoman’s death, to provide “a truly unique opportunity for a law student to work with the Washington, D.C. staff of a member of Hawaiʻi’s Congressional delegation,” said Troy J.H. Andrade, assistant professor of law and director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program.

For more see the UH law school website.

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