Conference Team: National Conference on Law and Higher Education

Jahanna Azarian

Jahanna Azarian, J.D.

Position: Graduate Assistant & EVERFI Fellow

A recent graduate of Stetson University College of Law, Jahanna was recognized as an outstanding advocate in Stetson’s #1 nationally ranked advocacy program. Jahanna competed on the Dispute Resolution (DR) Board as well as the Trial Team and was a key member of the DR Board responsible for bringing home the first-ever American Bar Association Competitions Championship. In the ABA Client Counseling Competition, Jahanna ranked as a national semifinalist and placed first in regionals. Jahanna was also trained as a mediator and finished as a national finalist in the Abrams National Mediator Competition.

While at Stetson Law, Jahanna was selected as the Center Fellow in the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy where she has been trained extensively in, and outside the classroom by Professor Peter Lake. As a student leader she devoted herself to multicultural efforts on campus, including spearheading the opening of the Stetson Law Food Pantry. She served on various faculty and student committees; executive boards of student organizations; and was the inaugural chair of the student government Diversity and Inclusion committee. In 2018, Jahanna graduated with a concentration in social justice advocacy.

Valerie Yeakel

Valerie Yeakel

Position: Center Fellow
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Valerie graduated from the University of Central Florida in the Spring of 2016, where she graduated with a degree in Legal Studies and competed with UCF's award-winning trial team. After graduating from UCF, Valerie decided to pursue her dream of becoming an attorney, and began attending Stetson Law in the fall of 2016. At Stetson Law, Valerie is currently the Center Fellow for the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy, and the Vice President of the Education Law Association. Valerie hopes to one day be general counsel for a college or university, combining her passions for law, social justice advocacy, and higher education.

Jake Sapp

Jake Sapp

Position: Research Assistant
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Jake graduated from Stetson University in the Spring of 2016 with a double major in Political Science and Religious Studies. While at Stetson University Jake was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa, served as President of the Inter-Fraternity Council, and worked as an undergraduate intern for the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Involvement. Immediately after graduation, Jake began attending Stetson Law School where he, earned a spot on the #1 ranked Trial Team in the nation and accepted a position as Professor Lake’s Research Assistant.

Jake focuses on Higher Education law, specifically tracking the legal developments surrounding Title IX and Due Process. Jake aims to put all of his experiences into developing and practicing within the Higher Education field.

Kelly Hawk

Kelly Hawk

Position: Teaching Fellow
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Kelly graduated from Maryville College in the Spring of 2012. After graduation, Kelly began a Master’s of Science in Counseling for Professional School Counseling, where she worked with K-12 students. It was Kelly’s work with young students that convinced her to go to law school. Kelly wanted to advocate for students, and she realized that to be a better advocate she needed to go to law school.

After receiving her MSC in May 2016, Kelly enrolled at Stetson Law. At Stetson Law, Kelly is a member of the Moot Court Board, a Senior Stetson Ambassador, the Executive Chair of the Student Leadership Development Committee, Treasurer of the Education Law Association, a Senior Associate on the Stetson Law Review, and Teaching Assistant to Professor Peter Lake. Kelly hopes to practice in education and nonprofit law.

Rachel Kirshner

Rachel Kirshner

Position: Administrative Support, Office of Professional Education
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Rachel earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rowan University in the Fall of 2012. Rachel’s experience in higher education law began as an intern in Rowan University’s Office of Equity and Diversity, where she was hired as the department’s Program Assistant immediately following her graduation. While at Rowan, Rachel assisted with investigations, drafted reports, and conducted trainings, for Title VII, Title IX, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. She also helped Rowan create and implement their Annual Title IX Summit and their applicant tracking system. Rachel quickly realized the value of a law degree could add to her career in higher education and decided to pursue a juris doctorate at Stetson Law. In 2015, Rachel enrolled in Stetson’s part-time program, which she attends while working full-time at Stetson Law.

Rachel first worked as the HR Specialist in the Human Resources department where she helped Stetson implement its applicant tracking system. Rachel now works in Administrative Support in the Office of Professional Education and the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law, where she is experienced applying for and coordinating higher education grants. Rachel is President of the Education Law Association and Vice-President of the Part-Time Student Society, she has also interned with the Department of Justice’s Elder Law Initiative. Rachel looks forward to applying her experiences in the field of higher education law.

Sofia DeVito

Sofia DeVito

Position: Student Assistant, Office of Professional Education
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Sofia graduated from the University of South Florida in the Spring of 2015 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in International Studies. During her time at USF Sofia was a member of Toastmasters and worked for Blackstone LSAT prep. In 2016, she began attending Stetson Law School. At Stetson, Sofia interned with a judge at the St. Petersburg Civil Courthouse, and at the City Attorney’s Office St.Petersburg, where she worked on projects involving zoning, first amendment, and tort law.

Currently, Sofia works as a student assistant in the Office of Professional Education; she also volunteers in the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy where she researches Title IX due process issues and helps prepare for the Center’s annual conference. Sofia hopes to practice higher education and first amendment law.

Amanda Schillinger

Amanda Schillinger

Position: Center Volunteer
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Amanda graduated from Keiser University in the Spring of 2014, while working full-time at the Brevard County Clerk of Court and coaching volleyball. From there she began teaching high school English, and, after two years, she decided to pursue a law degree. At Stetson Law, Amanda is a Senior Associate on Law Review, a volunteer at the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy, and a member of the Education Law Association. Amanda recently finished her Law Review Comment about how designating student athletes as employees will affect institutional liability under Title IX. She is currently seeking and applying for publication of her Comment. Amanda hopes to put all of her experience into practicing in education and sports law.

Gregory Payton

Gregory Payton

Position: Center Volunteer
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020

Greg graduated from Williams College in the Spring of 2014. While at Williams College he was a member of both the varsity football and basketball teams. Upon graduation, Greg joined the Campus Life department at IMG Academy where, each year, he was a mentor to fifty senior boys from all over the world.

After three school years with IMG, Greg decided to return to school in pursuit of a law degree. At Stetson Law, in addition to volunteering with the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy, Greg is a part of the Social Justice Advocacy Concentration, serves as the Vice President of The Pillars, and is the Public Relations Chair for the Black Law Students Association. Going forward, Greg hopes to combine his interests in higher education law, labor and employment law, and sports Law to advocate for amateur athletes.

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