Gilbertson '12 is awarded two-year Appleseed fellowship

May 11, 2012Duke Law News

Theresa Gilbertson ’12 has been awarded a two-year postgraduate fellowship with New Mexico Appleseed. The Albuquerque-based organization advocates for policy changes concerning hunger and education to benefit poor and underserved communities.

The fellowship will support Gilbertson’s interest in policy creation and education.

“I’d like to build a repertoire of knowledge about how policy works on a meta scale. Looking at my work with the Children’s Law Clinic it’s person to person, on a case by case basis. This will be an opportunity for me to see what policymakers, legislatures, and organizations can do on a different level to reach the same kinds of issues and problems,” Gilbertson said.

During her time at Duke Law, Gilbertson also worked with the Innocence Project, the Human Rights Society, and Legal Aid of North Carolina in addition to her public interest coursework.

“Public interest is a huge, huge array of things. I didn’t know what topics would pique my interest so I tried to take a ton of classes. I took as many public interest offerings as Duke had,” Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson said her work, as a 2L, in a seminar on gender violence in Haiti has proven especially relevant.

“We were actually crafting suggested provisions for civil codes and looking at it from the perspective of what can the government do to address this really serious problem of violence against women and what is going to fit into this legal climate,” she said. “I think that will be really good preparation for the work I’m doing in New Mexico because it will be those same issues of what’s going to work in this community.”

Before coming to Duke, Gilbertson was involved with the Child Leader Project, a group at her university dedicated to social justice and education.

“I sort of see my fellowship with Appleseed as a continuation of that work. They have a lot of the same goals and interests,” Gilbertson said. “I’m looking forward to the next step.”

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