Jack Ford is a first-generation law student and has an eclectic work background. From teaching to working in social media marketing, he has a love for helping others and finds that his interests align well with the goals of an attorney. Jack is a second-year law student at Florida Coastal School of Law (FCSL) in Jacksonville, Florida and he is working with the Jax Area Legal Aid (JALA) as a summer intern. Jack has always strived to help others through volunteer work and offered over 80 hours towards pro-bono opportunities in his first year in law school.
As a Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation Summer Fellow, Jack assists Jala in their Pro-Bono office by helping bring legal assistance to those that cannot afford an attorney and to those affected by Covid-19. He helps through a combination of legal research and computer programming to develop resources that can be used by a large number of individuals from the comfort and safety of their homes. Jack served as the Student Outreach Committee Chair for his Student Bar Association his 1L year and currently serves as a Pro-bono Student Director and as a Student Ambassador. Jack plans on working in corporate, family, or criminal law upon graduation.
J’djouna Pierre Florida International University College of Law
J’djouna Pierre is a second-year law student at Florida International University College of Law. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and raised in Immokalee, Florida. She is a first-generation college graduate and law student. In 2019 she graduated cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her time at UF, J’djouna severed as a Peer Leader for the Dean of Students Office, helping new students successfully transition and assisting them in making connections at UF. J’djouna also served as a legal research intern with UF Student Legal Services, where she conducted research on domestic violence cases and examined the psychological impact of domestic violence on victims.
This past summer as a Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation Summer Fellow, J’djouna worked as a legal intern with Dade Legal Aid, Put Something Back, and she interned with the law firm of Colson Hicks Edison. J’djouna currently serves as the President of the FIU Haitian-American Law Student Association. Passionate about serving minority communities, J’djouna wants to become a criminal defense attorney and ultimately work with the Innocence Project to help individuals that have been wrongfully convicted. J’djouna also wants to advocate for women who are survivors of domestic violence.
Ashira Vantrees Florida International University College of Law
Ashira Vantrees is a rising 3L at Florida International University College of Law. She received her Bachelors in Business and Emergency Management from Ohio Christian University and her Masters in Disaster Medicine and Management from Thomas Jefferson University.
During her time at FIU Law, Ashira has served as the Vice-President of the Public Interest Network and the President of the Disability Rights Law Association. While serving as the President of the Disability Rights Law Association Ashira had the opportunity to help facilitate a training, for her fellow law students, on ableism and inclusive language. With the help of community partners, the training provided an opportunity for law students to discuss stigma and language around people with disabilities and mental health. Ashira is passionate about disability rights and strongly believes in the fundamental equal treatment of all persons. During her 2020 summer, Ashira worked as a legal intern at Women Enabled International, focusing her work on the intersectionality of women’s rights and disability rights. Ashira hopes to use the knowledge she gained at Women Enabled International to continue a career in human rights and provide a disability and gender lens to human rights abuses.
Valeria Zerbo St. Thomas University School of Law
Valeria Zerbo is first-generation American and law student. She is currently a third-year student at St. Thomas University School of Law. Valeria received her Bachelor of Art in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University in 2017. Prior to attending Florida Atlantic University, Valeria attended St. Thomas University as a chemistry major with a scholarship to play colligate soccer. During this time, Valeria regularly volunteered with underprivileged children from the local community.
This past summer, as a Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation Summer Fellow, Valeria worked as an intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Valeria currently serves as an article’s editor for her school’s Law Review and as an academic success professional. As a 2L, Valeria completed pro bono work as a volunteer in the St. Thomas University low income Tax Clinic. The Tax Clinic provides low income taxpayers free legal representation and assistance with their tax controversies.