Ana Montelongo and Lydia Ness receive 2015 Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Summer Fellowships

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
IIT Chicago-Kent students Lydia Ness (left) and Ana Montelongo (right), pictured here with faculty adviser Professor Nancy Marder, received 2015 Stevens Fellowships to support their public interest work this summer.
IIT Chicago-Kent students Lydia Ness (left) and Ana Montelongo (right), pictured here with faculty adviser Professor Nancy Marder, received 2015 Stevens Fellowships to support their public interest work this summer.

Ana Montelongo and Lydia Ness, second-year students at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, have been awarded Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Summer Fellowships. Montelongo and Ness each received $5,000 to support their work in summer public interest law positions.

"The Fellowship seeks to promote the public interest and social justice values that have characterized Justice Stevens' work throughout his career," said Professor Nancy S. Marder, director of the Justice John Paul Stevens Jury Center at IIT Chicago-Kent.

"When Justice Stevens retired from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, his law clerks decided to expand the number of schools offering Stevens Fellowships. IIT Chicago-Kent became one of the first schools that joined the program after the expansion," said Professor Marder, who clerked for the justice from 1990 to 1992.

John Paul Stevens Fellowships are open to first- and second-year IIT Chicago-Kent students who have secured summer legal public interest positions in either not-for-profit organizations or governmental entities. Stevens Fellows are selected based on their commitment to public service and their potential for excellence throughout their legal careers.

Ana Montelongo plans a career as a criminal defense attorney. Montelongo is spending the summer in the Office of the State Appellate Defender, a state agency that represents indigent persons on appeal in criminal cases. A native Chicagoan, she graduated with honors from DePaul University with a degree in English and education. She earned a graduate degree in language and literacy from National Louis University. Prior to law school, Montelongo taught on the elementary school level.

At IIT Chicago-Kent, Montelongo is a member of the trial advocacy team and Women in Law. She serves as secretary of the Federal Bar Association law student division and as 2L representative of the Hispanic-Latino Law Student Association. Montelongo has completed internships with the Federal Defender Program and in IIT Chicago-Kent's criminal defense clinic. She has served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Charles P. Kocoras in the Northern District of Illinois.

Lydia Ness is spending the summer at Cabrini-Green Legal Aid working on a variety of family law cases. Ness is a 2016 candidate for a J.D. with Praxis and public interest law certificates. She graduated summa cum laude from Biola University with a degree in journalism.

Ness' involvement with the International Justice Mission (IJM) sparked her interest in issues related to modern-day slavery and sex trafficking. She visited the Dominican Republic as part of an undergraduate journalism class project and wrote about women, education, sex trafficking and baseball in that country. Her observations were published in The Dominican Dream, a book she co-wrote and co-edited for the project. In 2012, Ness also participated in a bike tour from Ohio to Washington, D.C., to help raise money for IJM's anti-sex-trafficking activities.

At IIT Chicago-Kent, Ness serves as executive cases and controversies editor of the Journal of International and Comparative Law, and is a member of the Kent Justice Foundation and the Student Humanitarian Network executive boards. She has interned with Equip for Equality and Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, and serves as manager of the Self-Help Web Center at the Richard J. Daley Center. Ness also has served as a volunteer with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center and Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans.

"Both Ana and Lydia exemplify the social justice values that Justice Stevens holds," said Professor Marder. "Justice Stevens is from Chicago and still feels a strong attachment to the city. I think that he will be pleased that both Fellows are working in Chicago this summer."

Founded in 1888, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, a private, technology-focused, research university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, science, architecture, business, design, human sciences, applied technology, and law. IIT Chicago-Kent is dedicated to supporting students, alumni and those in the legal community pursuing the public interest through its Certificate in Public Interest Law, initiatives, events, curriculum, student organizations and faculty.

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