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Ashley Golledge
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Law school honors 2020 graduates for scholarship, leadership and service

Wed, 05/20/2020

LAWRENCE – Ten University of Kansas School of Law graduates from the Class of 2020 received awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and the community.

The recipients:

  • Maggie Brakeville, Benton, Louisiana: Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
  • Terra Brockman, Overland Park: Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
  • Denise Dantzler, Omaha, Nebraska: Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership, and Service Award
  • Diana Jarek, Republic, Missouri: Janean Meigs Memorial Award in Law
  • Andi Leuszler, Lenexa: Robert F. Bennett Student Award
  • Hannah Lustman, St. Louis: Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
  • Joy Merklen, Bali, Indonesia: Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
  • Sasha Raab, Stilwell: Law Class of 1949 Award for Leadership
  • Diana Stanley, Wichita: Robert F. Bennett Student Award
  • Lewis Walton, East St. Louis, Illinois: Law Class of 1949 Award for Leadership

Emily Matta, of Wichita, was selected to serve as the 2020 banner carrier, an honor bestowed upon a student who exemplifies excellence in their program.

The award winners were part of a class composed of 104 recipients of the juris doctor as well as one Master of Laws in American Legal Studies and six Doctor of Juridical Science graduates. Nine students also graduated from the Master of Science in Homeland Security: Law & Policy program.

The university's Commencement ceremonies and KU Law’s Hooding Ceremony were postponed due to the developing situation around the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 10 exceptional graduates will still be recognized for their achievements.

Funds for the awards are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1981, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Student award recipients are listed below alphabetically.

Maggie Brakeville, of Benton, Louisiana, received the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award, which is given to the student whose service to his or her fellow students in the law school and to the university community demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and to society. Brakeville is known for being exceptionally supportive of other students and connecting them with resources within the school. She has a unique and authentic dedication to serving the public. Brakeville served as chief justice of the Moot Court Council, event coordinator for the Public Interest Law Society and social media and event management director for the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. She was also active with the Christian Legal Society. Brakeville is the daughter of Sara Peace Brakeville and Charles Brakeville. She is a graduate of Benton High School and Louisiana Tech University.

Terra Brockman, of Overland Park, received the Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award, which is given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself through leadership in the law school. Brockman is deeply committed to the law school and has shown leadership in numerous organizations and situations. Brockman served as Student Bar Association president and Student Ambassador president. Brockman was a member of the Black Law Students Association and the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council. She has served on the Graduate Student Advisory Board, Mock Trial Counsel and KU Court of Parking Appeals. Brockman was also a legal intern at the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies. Brockman is the daughter of Angela Wright and Terry Brockman. She is a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School and KU.

Denise Dantzler, of Omaha, Nebraska, received the Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership, and Service Award, which is given to the student who has most distinguished him or herself in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. Dantzler has displayed top-notch leadership and a willingness to help others throughout her time in law school. Dantzler was the first woman of color to serve as the editor-in-chief of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. Dantzler was also a Shook Hardy & Bacon Scholar, member of the Black Law Students Association, member of the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council, teaching assistant for lawyering skills classes and member of the Jaffe Transactional Law Competition team. Dantzler was also an academic counselor for the MidAmerica Nazarene University Women’s Soccer team. Dantzler is the daughter of Denise and Nelson Dantzler. She is a graduate of Brownell Talbot College Preparatory School and MidAmerica Nazarene University.

Diana Jarek, of Republic, Missouri, received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award in Law, which is given to a student who has demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or to the community at large. Jarek is a strong advocate for improving the sense of community and diversity within Green Hall. She served on the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council, Moot Court Council, Student Bar Association, American Constitution Society and Public Interest Law Society. Jarek demonstrated exceptional leadership as a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court team, where she took first place at the Rocky Mountain Regional Competition and went on to compete in the 2019 international rounds. She also provided free legal assistance to the community through participation in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Renewal Clinic and the Advance Care Planning Clinic. Jarek is the daughter of Marie and Mark Jarek. She is a graduate of Republic High School, University of Arkansas and Georgetown University.

Andi Leuszler, of Lenexa, received the Robert F. Bennett Student Award, which is given to a graduate whose undergraduate degree is from a Kansas university or college and who has demonstrated leadership qualities through public service. Leuszler excelled in moot court, representing KU at the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition in San Diego and the Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship in Houston. She was also a finalist in KU Law’s 2019 In-House Moot Court Competition. Leuszler was a Shook Hardy & Bacon Scholar, comment editor for the Kansas Law Review, chief defense attorney for the KU Court of Parking Appeals, legal intern for the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies, legal intern for the Legal Aid Clinic and team coach for KU’s undergraduate Mock Trial team. She was also a member of the Moot Court Council and a council member for KU Law Mock Trial. Leuszler is the daughter of Mary and Robert Leuszler. She is a graduate of Olathe Northwest High School and KU.

Hannah Lustman, of St. Louis, received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which is given to the graduating student selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. Lustman has received awards for superior oral advocacy and professionalism from Payne & Jones, Chartered law firm. Lustman was executive staff articles editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, a Shook Hardy & Bacon Scholar, outreach chair for Women in Law, legal intern for the Mediation Clinic, member of the Moot Court Council and teaching assistant for lawyering skills classes. She was a finalist in the Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in New York and won the award for Best Oralist in all three preliminary rounds. For their success at the competition, Lustman and her partner were awarded KU's Family Fund Award for outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy. Lustman has a forthcoming article in a special Next Generation of Environmental Law Symposium issue of the Arizona Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. She has also published articles in the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and Kansas Bar Journal. She is a graduate of Ladue Horton Watkins High School and Washington University in St. Louis.

Joy Merklen, of Bali, Indonesia, received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which is given to the graduating student selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. Merklen served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review, where her own article was published. Even with all of the responsibilities accompanying this leadership role, she maintained an outstanding class rank. She represented state and federal prisoners in appellate and post-conviction litigation through the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies. She was also a Shook Hardy & Bacon Scholar, member of the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council and teaching assistant for lawyering skills classes. Merklen is the daughter of Odile Bergeson and Pascal Merklen. She is a graduate of Sekolah Dyatmika and the University of California, Berkeley.

Sasha Raab, of Stilwell, received the Law Class of 1949 Award for Leadership, which is given annually to the student who, in the opinion of the faculty, contributed most significantly to the overall experience of the students in Green Hall. Raab has distinguished herself through leadership in the law school. Raab served as Head Dean’s Fellow, president of Jewish Legal Society and executive comments editor for the Kansas Law Review. Raab wrote and published an article in the Kansas Law Review this year, demonstrating her contribution and commitment to scholarship. She recently received the Robert E. Edmonds Award in Corporation and Securities Law. Raab represented KU at the Interscholastic Transactional Law Competition in Durham, North Carolina. She provided free legal assistance to the community through participation in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Renewal Clinic and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Raab is the daughter of Diana Hurst and the late William Hurst. She is a graduate of Blue Valley West High School, Johnson County Community College and Park University.

Diana Stanley, of Wichita, received the Robert F. Bennett Student Award, which is given to a graduate whose undergraduate degree is from a Kansas university or college and who has demonstrated leadership qualities through public service. Stanley was a Rice Scholar, Shook Hardy & Bacon Scholar, chief justice of the KU Court of Parking Appeals, president of the St. Thomas More Society, articles editor for the Kansas Law Review, treasurer for Women in Law and member of the Moot Court Council. She was a finalist in the Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in New York. For their success at the competition, Stanley and her partner were awarded KU's Family Fund Award for outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy. She has published articles in the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy and the Kansas Bar Journal. Stanley received the Lawton R. Nuss Award for Excellence in Advocacy. She is the daughter of Sheryl Stanley and the late Douglas Stanley. Stanley is a graduate of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School and Newman University.

Lewis Walton, of East St. Louis, Illinois, received the Law Class of 1949 Award for Leadership, which is given annually to the student who, in the opinion of the faculty, contributed most significantly to the overall experience of the students in Green Hall. Walton excelled in service and participation through several organizations and moot court. Walton was the president of the Black Law Students Association, staff editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, and member of the Moot Court Council. He advanced to the semi-final round of the regional Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition in Chicago. Walton won the award for Best Oralist at the competition. Walton provided free legal assistance to low-income medical patients through his participation in the KU Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement Program. He is the son of Virginia and Lewis Walton. Walton is a graduate of East St. Louis Senior High School and KU.



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