PUBLISHED:May 14, 2010

Duke Law graduates recognized by their peers

Six graduating Duke Law students received awards recognizing their leadership, integrity, intellectual curiosity, citizenship, and community participation at Duke Law’s Graduation Gala on May 13.

The Justin Miller awards, named in honor of the Law School’s dean from 1930 to 1934, are awarded each year to 3L students who exemplify the qualities that Miller espoused during his tenure. Award winners are nominated by their fellow students and then recognized at the annual gala.

The 2010 award for intellectual curiosity was presented to Natalie Bedoya ’10. While at Duke Law, Bedoya was a finalist for the Hardt Cup moot court competition, a teaching assistant for Professor Neil Seigel’s Constitutional Law course, and editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal.

Bedoya’s classmate Amelia Ashton presented her with the award. “[Natalie] is a thoughtful thinker, writer, and oral advocate,” Ashton said. “I shared most classes with her during our 1L year and she quickly earned a reputation for asking insightful, thoughtful questions that reflected a genuine interest in and astute observation of the material.”

One student nominator wrote, “Natalie is someone who loves ideas. She loves learning them, working with them, refining them, perfecting them, and passing them along to others. She works hard to make Duke Law a place where ideas thrive and where intellectualism is recognized and rewarded.”

Amelia Ashton ’10 and Ryan Scofield ’10 shared the citizenship award. Ashton served as a LEAD Fellow, senior notes editor of the Duke Law Journal, and a research assistant for multiple professors, and she was co-emcee with Scofield for the Public Interest Law Foundation’s auction.

“[Amelia] has such a contagious enthusiasm for the Law School and for Duke generally,” wrote one student. “She is always there to remind me that there is so much about our community to love.”

Classmate Tania Faransso presented Ashton with the award. “With amazing energy, [Amelia] has fostered lasting relationships with both students and faculty,” she said. “In doing so, she’s helped make Duke Law the community it is for us today.”

Scofield served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal, was vice president of the Mock Trial Board, and volunteered with both Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and guardian ad litem. Presenter Kristin Collins Cope described him as someone who “improves the law school experience of those around him just by being there.”

Scofield, she said, also exhibits a genuine enthusiasm for the Duke Law community. “He is a true friend to those close to him, and a welcoming face to every stranger he meets,” Collins Cope said. “He’s willing to lead the cheers at the basketball games in his cowboy hat, or, if necessary, dress as a giant hot dog to defend his team’s honor.”

David Mansfield ’10 was the recipient of this year’s award for integrity. At Duke Law, Mansfield was secretary of the Moot Court Board, managing editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and managing director of the Innocence Project. He also served on the Duke University Graduate and Professional Student Council and participated in the Southern Justice Spring Break Trip.

“[David’s] quiet servant leadership has not gone unnoticed,” wrote one student. “We are so grateful for his hard work, dedication, and unfailing dependability.”

Sarah Rutledge ’10 presented Mansfield with his award. “With a sense of altruism that knows no need for recognition, [David] has given greatly of his time to the poor, the sick, and the disenfranchised,” she said. “I am certain that his time here at Duke Law School will seem quite humble next to the great and noble tasks he will one day accomplish.”

Kat Shea ’10, a student involved in numerous organizations at Duke Law including Mock Trial, Moot Court, Street Law, the Innocence Project, and Southern Justice Spring Break trips, won the Justin Miller award for leadership. Shea also served as a LEAD fellow and was editor-in-chief of Law & Contemporary Problems this year.

Jon Ophardt ’10 presented Shea the award. “As a transfer, I entered Duke as a 2L,” Ophardt said. “[Kat] was the first to welcome me to campus. She made me feel a part of the Duke community, and has made this community a family. Whether as my boss, my classmate, my fellow editor-in-chief, or my friend, she has always set the most impeccable of examples.”

“Kat has assumed almost every leadership role I can think of in the Law School and has excelled in all of them,” wrote one student nominator. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving for this award.”

Tania Khosla ’10 won the LLM Award for Leadership and Community Participation. A graduate of Symbiosis Law School in Pune, India, Khosla interned with several prominent Indian law firms, clerked for a justice on the Supreme Court of India, and spent 12 weeks with Paul Weiss in New York, N.Y. before coming to Duke Law School. She attended the 2009 Duke/Geneva Institute and arrived at Duke with many JD and LLM friends.

“[Tania] has always promoted unity among our class, organizing study groups and events,” wrote one student. “In doing so, she always ensured no one was left out.”

Nato Tskhakaya ’10, a fellow LLM student from Russia, presented Khosla the award. “[Tania] is very communicative and social, has a bright character, [and is a] talented speaker,” she said. “During this year she was a bridge between Asian students and students from the other countries, helping to deepen the friendship between different cultures.”