Rachel Bloomekatz JD '08 and Abigail Coursolle JD '08, law students at UCLA, understand the hardships faced by underserved members of our society. In trying to create a more equitable and just America, they have chosen law as their tool for effecting change.
Growing up in Tennessee, Bloomekatz witnessed the state's rapid influx of new immigrants—and the accompanying injustices they encountered in the workplace, health care, and the legal system. "Like many 'new immigrant states' in the South and elsewhere," she says, " Tennessee is especially lacking in experience to assist these new populations. My goal is to advocate for these individuals and to advance public policy on their behalf."
Serving the Public Interest
Coursolle's desire to serve the public interest grew in part from her experience working with low-income seniors and the disabled, who often don't have the tools at their disposal to navigate the legal system. Of her experience working in hospital discharge planning, she says, "I noticed patients were often released without a plan, and would therefore end up getting sick again quickly and go back into the hospital. To make significant changes to assist these people often requires going through the legal system."
The Emil Joseph Stache Scholarship
Crucial to helping Bloomekatz and Coursolle pursue their public interest goals is the Emil Joseph Stache Scholarship. Created by Irene Guth, trustee of the Emil Joseph Stache Charitable Trust, the scholarship honors the memory of the whistleblower who uncovered fraudulent industry dealings with the government. Each year the Stache endowment offers a three-year, full-tuition scholarship to two new incoming students dedicated to public interest law and policy.
Bloomekatz and Coursolle view the scholarship as a vital step in their plans to advocate for traditionally underserved clients and interests. "There are many students who would like to pursue work in the public interest, but are deterred by the prospect of tremendous law school debt," says Bloomekatz. "The Stache scholarship has allowed me to bypass that obstacle. And it bolsters the UCLA School of Law's outstanding commitment to public interest law and policy."