Students cheered one another on to celebrate the culmination of their passion and hard work in the field of youth advocacy during the Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab graduation ceremony on April 9. Instructors, staff, students, and loved ones gathered for the ceremony, honoring the 2024 Fellows cohort’s accomplishments in education law and child advocacy at HLS. 

The Y-Lab Fellows Program has been my home at HLS.

Kristen Gourrier ’24

The Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab (Y-Lab) launched in 2021, bringing the Education Law Clinics and Child Advocacy Clinic together under a program that advocates for the creation of child-serving systems that are trauma-sensitive, healing-centered, and antiracist. The Y-Lab Fellows Program requires students to complete three semesters of clinical work, which can be done through the Child Advocacy Clinic, any of the three Education Law Clinics, or any HLS clinic which works on youth-related issues. These clinics, in addition to the Program’s selected courses and its writing program, give students knowledge of the complex and intersecting harms that result from inequitable youth-facing legal and social systems. For students wishing to gain a deep expertise in youth advocacy, the Y-Lab Fellows Program brings together experiential and academic offerings that add up to a comprehensive career training, supported by faculty experts.  

“Coming into law school I was asked, ‘If you are interested in education, why law school?’ Thanks to Y-Lab, I now know why,” reflects Brenna Phillips ‘24. “My experience in Y-Lab has shown me that there are a wide range of ways to be a child advocate in the legal field. Lawyers have a unique set of skills and privileges that can make a real impact in child advocacy, and I am so excited to go out into the world and apply them.” 

Students in the program are surrounded by a close-knit community of students and faculty interested in transformational changemaking for youth. Understanding that this type of social change can happen in myriad ways, the program offers a variety of learning avenues: courses, clinics, writing projects, summer jobs, and a capstone project.  

“The Y-Lab Fellows Program has been my home at HLS,” says Kristen Gourrier ‘24. “Especially given so much overlap between the Art of Social Change teaching team, the writing group, and the Y-Lab clinics, the Fellows program feels like an incredibly strong community.”  

“I count myself extraordinarily lucky to have been in Y-Lab,” says Phillips. “Not everyone at HLS gets the chance to be a part of such a supportive, inclusive, diverse, and family-oriented community, and that is a shame. The Yellow House has been my home away from home, and the Y-Lab fellows and team, my family.” 

The Class of 2024 Y-Lab Fellows are Vanessa Agudelo ‘24, Maleeha Chida ‘24, Jack Donahue ‘24, Luna Floyd ‘24, Arjun Gananathan ‘24, Kristen Gourrier ‘24, Gabrielle (Gabby) Grossman ‘24, Fatema Jaffer ‘24, Hoyeon (Kelly) Lew ‘24, Michel Li ‘24, Raquel Maldonado Navarro ‘24, Brenna Phillips ‘24, Nicoly (Nikki) Santos ‘24, Rebecca (Becca) Suh ‘24, and Katelyn Turner ‘24. 

To learn more about the Y-Lab Fellows program, including application instructions, click here

Filed in: Clinical Spotlight, Events

Tags: Child Advocacy Clinic, Class of 2024, Education Law Clinic

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