A number of Harvard Law students from the Class of 2017 received special awards during the 2017 Class Day ceremony on May 24. They were recognized for outstanding leadership, citizenship, compassion and dedication to their studies and the profession.

Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award

This year’s Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award was presented to Lisa K. Dicker ’17 and Nathan MacKenzie ’17.

Dicker has devoted her time at Harvard Law to public service, starting her 1L year with HLS Negotiators, serving first as a member and later as its co-president. She spent her 1L spring break in Nashville, TN, working pro bono with Equal Justice Under Law, a non-profit civil rights organization founded by two HLS alumni. During the trip, Dicker and fellow students helped challenge widespread practices that penalize the poor: jail time for failure to pay fines, cash and property seizure in the absence of criminal charges, and the failure to provide competent lawyers.

While at Harvard Law School, Dicker has not only performed more than 1,500 hours of pro bono work, but she also served as part of a corps of trained student facilitators who volunteer to facilitate discussions among members of the HLS community on challenging and politically fraught topics. She also twice served as a teaching assistant for the Negotiation Workshop.

At HLS, MacKenzie participated in Harvard Defenders, the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, and created his own independent clinical placement with the Migrants Rights Clinic at the Center of Law and Business, in Ramat Gan, Israel. 

 MacKenzie’s contributions to the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program have helped transform lives; his legal work was pivotal in obtaining asylum for a teenager fleeing gang violence and in preventing the imminent deportation of a woman who had been unlawfully denied a chance to present her asylum claim. He also worked long hours and late nights orchestrating the research needed for an amicus brief challenging the White House’s executive orders on immigration.

The Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award is granted each year in honor of Professor Andrew Kaufman ’54, who has been instrumental in creating and supporting the Pro Bono Service Program at HLS. The J.D. student in the graduating class who performs the highest number of pro bono service hours receives the award and a $500 honorarium.

HLS requires all students to perform 50 hours of pro bono services but most go far beyond. This year, 10 students exceeded 2,000 hours of service and 100 students volunteered more than 1,000 hours.

The William J. Stuntz Memorial Award for Justice, Human Dignity and Compassion

The Stuntz award was given to Mario Nguyên ’17. The award recognizes a graduating student who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the principles of justice, human dignity and compassion while at Harvard Law School.

During his first year at HLS, Nguyên founded Superoa student organization to support first-generation, disabled and low-income law students. He also joined the Legal Aid Bureau, where he dedicated a significant amount of time working to serve low-income clients. Nguyên continued his efforts this year by serving on Student Government advocating for low-income students.

The award, established in 2011, is given in honor of the late William Stuntz, a renowned scholar of criminal justice at Harvard Law School, an evangelical Christian and a teacher much beloved by students and colleagues.

The David Westfall Memorial Award for Community Leadership

The Westfall Award was presented to Crystal Nwaneri ’17. Named in honor of the late Professor David Westfall ’50, who taught at HLS for more than 50 years and served as an inaugural faculty leader for a first-year section, the award is presented annually to recognize student contributions to creating community within a first-year section and the wider class.

Nwaneri’s classmates praised her leadership. One commented, “Crystal was the star community-builder in Section 3 during our 1L year and has continued in her unofficial role over the last few years. Crystal made sure we celebrated birthdays, academic milestones, and had time outside of class to connect.”

She was also actively involved with several HLS organizations, included the Black Law Students Association, Women’s Law Association, Harvard African Law Association, Journal on Law and Technology, and she was a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

The Frank Righeimer, Jr. Prize for Student Citizenship

The Righeimer Prize was presented to Amanda Mundell ’17. Established in memory of Frank S. Righeimer Jr. ’32, the prize is awarded annually to a graduating student in recognition of exceptional citizenship within the HLS community demonstrated through involvement in student organizations, community service groups or through individual efforts.

Mundell demonstrated her commitment to HLS through involvement in the Ames Moot Court Competition, the Board of Student Advisers, Scales of Justice (a capella group), Parody (law school play), Journal of Law and Public Policy, and the Harvard Law Mock Trial Association, which she founded. She helped Harvard Law win its first Texas Young Lawyers Association Mock Trial Competition Championship in more than years, and continues to coach mock trial teams at HLS and at a high school in California.

In the final round of the 2016 Ames Moot Court Competition, her team won the final round and Best Brief and she was honored as Best Oralist. 

The Dean’s Award for Community Leadership

The Dean’s Award recognizes a number of graduating students who have contributed time and energy to making the HLS community a better place through involvement in student organizations, community service groups, and individual efforts. The Class of 2017 recognized the following students:

  • Malene Alleyence ’17
  • Jessica Carballo ’17
  • Sangu Delle ’17
  • Lauren Gabriel ’17
  • MacKennan Graziano ’17
  • Dorothy Hector ’17
  • Simratpal (Simmi) Kaur ’17
  • Jieun Lim ’17
  • Lan Mei ’17
  • Nino Monea ’17
  • Rebecca Murday ’17
  • Pamela Nwaoko ’17
  • Camille Framroze ’17
  • Brian Pilchik ’17
  • Derecka Purnell ’17
  • Leah Saris ’17
  • Clara Spera ’17
  • Kristin Turner ’17
  • Trenton VanOss ’17
  • Natalie Vernon ’17
  • Oriol Valenti Vidal ’17
  • Rafael Villaran Bedoya ’17
  • Loren Voss ’17
  • Olivia Warren ’17
  • Kassi Yukevich ’17