/ Blog Post
Equal Justice Works is proud to announce the launch of its inaugural class of Disaster Resilience Program Student Fellows. These six law students will spend eight to ten weeks during the summer working alongside Disaster Resilience Program Fellows in Texas and Florida as they help underserved communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the staggering rise of natural disasters has resulted in a sharp increase in civil legal issues, and we need more passionate public service leaders who can help individuals and families navigate disaster-related legal challenges,” said Linda Anderson Stanley, senior program manager at Equal Justice Works and director of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program. “We are proud to support these impressive law students in their work to expand critical legal resources and support for communities impacted by disasters of all kinds.”
Through the Disaster Resilience Program, Student Fellows will gain exposure to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery legal work by assisting with providing civil legal services, engaging in community education and advocacy efforts, and building capacity at the legal services organizations where they serve.
Meet our Disaster Resilience Program Student Fellows and learn more about how they will be supporting a wide range of disaster-related legal issues, including housing, employment, immigration, accessibility, and health care needs.
Kayla Barbour (she/her/hers), University of Washington School of Law
At Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Kayla will work with Fellow Hannah Dyal to address ongoing housing and economic needs from disasters in the Coastal Bend and the Rio Grande Valley, where residents have survived Hurricane Harvey, frequent flooding events, Hurricane Hanna, and, most recently, winter storm Uri.
Kyla Howard (she/her/hers), New England Law – Boston
At Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Kyla will work with Fellow Brianna M. Williams to assist residents of Central Florida in preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, and aid in efforts to support residents who are dealing with some of the worst economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andra Lehotay de León (she/her/hers), Northeastern University School of Law
At Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Andra will work with Fellow Maria Vazquez to ensure that immigrants in Harris County, Texas, have access to the immigration legal services they need to help them in the disaster recovery and preparedness process.
Eric Rhoton (he/him/his), Elon University School of Law
At YMCA International Services of Houston, Eric will work with Fellow Robert Flores to address the needs of refugees, asylees, and other immigrants who are disproportionately affected by natural disasters and systemically cut off from public services.
Shania Waugh (she/her/hers), Thurgood Marshall School of Law
At Lone Star Legal Aid, Shania will work with Fellow Meghan Smolensky to support clients in eviction hearings, provide advice to individuals who are not protected by the CARES Act, and represent clients in unemployment hearings and other public benefits cases.
Maya Wiemokly (she/her/hers), Wake Forest University School of Law
At Disability Rights Texas, Maya will work with Fellow Stephanie Duke to provide direct services and resources to individuals with disabilities across the state who face or experience discriminatory practices in disaster and emergency services.
“Working with a student fellow this summer is a great opportunity that will increase Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s capacity to assist disaster survivors and will give me the opportunity to get managerial experience that would not otherwise be available to me this early in my career,” said 2020 Fellow Hannah Dyal.
Visit here for more information about Disaster Resilience Program.
The Disaster Resilience Program is funded by Equal Justice Works and supplemented by funds from private donors including the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and Carnegie Corporation of New York.
We are proud to support these impressive law students in their work to expand critical legal resources and support for communities impacted by disasters of all kinds.
Linda Anderson Stanley /
Equal Justice Works Senior Program Manager