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Helping Students Pursue Their Dreams

Dean’s Expansion of PIC Grants Gives Student Her First-Choice Internship

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Naomi Sunshine (’05) wanted to spend the summer after her first year at NYU School of Law expanding on the type of work she had done before law school with Housing Works, an AIDS service group. After her undergraduate education, Sunshine spent seven years working for various public service agencies, and these experiences shaped the distinct goals that she has as a Law School student, and as a future public interest lawyer.

“I am interested in doing impact litigation after I graduate,” she says. “Housing Works does impact litigation that affects every person with HIV in New York who needs to deal with health care, and that is what really inspired me to go to law school.”

Sunshine hopes to use her law degree as a tool in effecting large-scale social change. “I see a lot of problems in the world and want to make my own tiny dent in working to change them,” she says.

When she began researching her summer opportunities, Sunshine decided she could achieve her goals best by taking an internship with the American Civil Liberties Union. There was, at that time, a hurdle in her desired path. She was advised that she was unlikely to receive funding in the PIC lottery for first-year summer internships. The lottery was particularly competitive for the class of 2005. While disappointed, she also saw the positive side.

“An unprecedented number of students applied for the lottery,” she says, “which speaks to the Law School’s ability to attract people who are interested in working outside the private sector.”

Because internships at the ACLU are generally uncompensated and more funding is available for environmental law positions, Sunshine started exploring internship opportunities in the environmental field. There were connections to be made between the two, but she was admittedly stretching her interests.

When Dean Revesz announced that the PIC grants would fund all first-year summer internships, including those for summer 2003, Sunshine was relieved and thrilled. She accepted an internship working with the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights and AIDS Project, her unequivocal top choice.

While she says that she was delighted that this funding enabled her to pursue her own interests, she is most excited about what the dean’s initiative says about NYU School of Law on a larger scale. She believes the additional funding will further secure the Law School’s reputation among top-tier schools as the best place to study public interest law.

“The Law School is really pulling its weight to staff public service organizations with great students,” she says, with an outlook as bright as her surname.