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Five Vermont Law Students Named Schweitzer Fellows

April 23, 2014

CONTACT: Maryellen Apelquist, Media Relations & Editorial Content, Vermont Law School
office: 802-831-1228, cell: 802-299-5593

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., April 23, 2014—Five Vermont Law School students have been selected for the 2014-15 class of Albert Schweitzer Fellows for their service-based, health-related projects to create positive change within local communities.

Following the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom the program is named, Vermont Law students Alicia Artessa ’16, Rachael Delehanty ’16, Noura Eltabbakh ’16, Barbara Fernandez ’16 and Melissa Shapiro ’16 will spend the next year learning to effectively address social factors that impact health. They are among 29 students from Vermont and New Hampshire who will join the ranks of Schweitzer Fellows working at program sites across the U.S. and in Lambaréné, Gabon, at the site of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital.

Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities while at the same time fulfilling their academic responsibilities as full-time students. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based organization. Below are the project summaries for the 2014-15 Vermont Law Schweitzer Fellows:

  • Alicia Artessa: To provide support, guidance and friendship to children with special needs and their families, while at the same time increasing community understanding of the issues facing this population. Community Site: TBD
  • Rachael Delehanty: To develop and expand the Vermont Law School Buddies mentoring program, which matches students at South Royalton School with buddies at Vermont Law. Community Site: One Planet Afterschool Program, South Royalton, Vt.
  • Noura Eltabbakh: To provide advocacy and support to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking legal protection, in partnership with the Vermont Superior Court. Community Site: HOPE Works, Burlington, Vt.
  • Barbara Fernandez: To provide legal and social support services for victims of domestic violence and their children. Community Site: Have Justice–Will Travel.
  • Melissa Shapiro: To address hunger and food insecurity in South Royalton, Vt. Her project aims to raise community awareness of hunger and nutrition issues; advocate on a state level for assistance; educate vulnerable populations on the importance of good nutrition; and help families locate the resources that will provide more secure access to nutritious food. Community Site: Hunger Free Vermont, Burlington, Vt.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for these service-minded students,” said Laura Murphy, Schweitzer advisor and assistant professor of law at Vermont Law School. “We look forward to witnessing how they tackle complex issues to benefit the communities they’re working in—and to seeing how they grow as leaders. The skills they develop as Schweitzer Fellows will serve them well throughout their careers and will be a tribute to Albert Schweitzer’s legacy.”

Since 1996, the New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows Program has supported more than 360 students in delivering nearly 72,000 hours of service. The program is funded entirely through charitable donations and grants. For more information about the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, visit


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

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