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Graduates Honored with Tulane 34, Crest Awards

May 15, 2013

Graduates Honored with Tulane 34, Crest Awards

Five members of the Tulane Law Class of 2013 have been selected to receive Tulane University's most prestigious all-campus student honors.

Rachel Bleshman, Cassandra Hewlings, and Krista LaFave will each receive a coveted Tulane 34 Award, presented to just 34 graduating University students each year in recognition of their all-around excellence in leadership, service, and academic achievement. The Tulane 34 Award, named in recognition of Tulane University's founding year, 1834, is considered among the highest honors the University can bestow.

Cassandra Hewlings, Andrew Kingsley, and Nicole Schneider will each receive a Student Crest Award. The Crest Awards are a unified, campus-wide honor recognizing exemplary contributions and achievement in service, leadership, or academics throughout a student's collegiate career.

"These awards celebrate truly extraordinary leadership and achievement," said Dean David Meyer. "Each of the graduates honored here has left our community stronger and better, and we are both extremely proud and grateful."

The five graduates honored are:

Rachel Bleshman, Tulane 34 Award

Rachel Bleshman, a native of Larchmont, N.Y., came to Tulane Law School after several years of government service in Washington, D.C., as a Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs for Vice President Joe Biden and a legislative aide for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. At Tulane, Rachel continued her dedication to public service, serving as President of the Public Interest Law Foundation and as a mentor and volunteer with the Tulane University Legal Assistance Program. As President of PILF, Rachel successfully managed an ambitious effort to raise funds for public interest summer grants and led an expansion of the organization's public service outreach. She also volunteered her own time directly to a number of public interest causes, including assisting families needing legal help with title clearing issues with Louisiana Appleseed in Plaquemines Parish, working on a food justice project with the National Council of Jewish Women, and volunteering with the Community Legal Aid Society and the Gulf Restoration Network.

Cassandra Hewlings, Tulane 34 Award and Crest Service & Leadership Award

Cassie Hewlings, a native of Denver, Colorado, has excelled both academically and in leadership and service. As Online Editor of the Tulane Law Review, she overhauled the journal's website and created a new approach to training student editors. As Director of the Tulane Legal Assistance Program, Cassie partnered with the Law School's Public Interest Law Foundation to secure student volunteers to provide legal assistance to the homeless through H.E.L.P., a clinical outreach program. Recognizing a need in the New Orleans community in the fall of 2011 for assistance for families who received FEMA demand letters for repayment of Katrina disaster aid, Cassie and her TULAP Co-Director worked with the law school administration and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to provide legal advice concerning appeals and waiver options to more than 50 local families. Cassie also volunteered with ALLIES and Papers for Prisoners, which assists prisoners at Angola Prison who are appealing their convictions pro se by helping them obtain the records of their trial. Cassie helped compile legal research resources to be sent to the prisoner's legal libraries and produced a video for an American Bar Association competition that was entered to secure funding for those research resources. In the local community, Cassie is an active member of the vibrant GLBT community and is devoted to assisting same-sex couples with family law issues.

Andrew Kingsley, the James L. Kilroy Provost's Crest Award

As Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Law Review, Andrew Kingsley managed 60 student editors in publishing approximately 1800 pages of legal scholarship in six issues. During his leadership of the Review, Andrew pioneered several significant innovations. He led the launch of the Review's online presence, designed a new process for reviewing submissions and wrote new software to support the process, and created a new weekly speaker series, The Footnote, that showcased scholars, judges, and leading lawyers from the New Orleans bar. In addition to juggling his leadership of the Law Review and an impressive scholastic record, Andrew worked as a project manager for Habitat for Humanity, volunteered with the Arts Council of New Orleans, Tipitina's Foundation, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Public Interest Law Foundation and Common Cause Louisiana. In addition, he founded the Cripple Creek Theatre Company in New Orleans, dedicated to "producing dramatic works of cultural, historical and political relevance in order to provoke the general public into social action." The company continues to produce work addressing poverty, racism, public corruption and workers' rights while reaching out to non-traditional audiences, and was this year nominated for a Gambit Weekly "Big Easy Award." Winner of the Rufus C. Harris Award for outstanding academic achievement and of the prestigious John Minor Wisdom Award voted by the faculty, Andrew is also a founding member of the Tulane Law Po' Boy Appreciation Club, which aims to encourage law students to experience the culture of the city and bridge gaps between school and community, and volunteered with the Law School's Admission Office as a student ambassador.

Krista LaFave, Tulane 34 Award

Krista LaFave, a native of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, exemplifies the well-rounded scholar-servant-leader. Her record of outstanding academic achievement is all the more remarkable in light of her wide-ranging service to the Law School and broader community. As Executive President of the Law School Student Bar Association, she organized an array of community service activities, including serving meals to children at Covenant House and performing a Day of Service with the YLC and the NFL, and successfully led an ambitious effort to strengthen SBA's internal operations, cohesion, and accountability. She served as a GAPSA senator, an ambassador in the Office of Admission, President of her Second Year Class, and Chair of the Vis International Arbitration Moot Team. Her passion for service extended to the Public Interest Law Foundation, where she organized speaker events, organized a Bead Drive to benefit ARC of Greater New Orleans, and solicited donations for the PILF Auction, proceeds of which enable Tulane students to work in public interest summer legal positions nationwide. Further, Krista worked in the Law School's Street Law Program, providing basic civic and legal orientation to local high school students. A constructive and powerful advocate for student interests, Krista served on the Law School Deans Advisory Committee, an important liaison committee made up of deans and student leaders who address issues of concern to students. Krista also provided guidance and legal assistance to those in need through the Law School's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and the Tulane Legal Assistance Program.

Nicole Schneider, Dean Donald R. Moore Crest Award

Nicole Schneider is the 2013 winner of the Dean Donald R. Moore Crest Award, presented each year to one graduating Tulane University student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and exceptional character. Among other contributions, Nicole left her mark through her strong leadership of the Law School's moot court program. A recipient of the Paul E. Garofalo Award for Outstanding Service, Nicole also earned several prestigious Moot Court Awards and served as the 2012-2013 Chief Justice of Tulane Law's Moot Court program. In that role, Nicole led 90 student members and 13 different teams participating in trial, appellate, negotiation/mediation, and arbitration competitions. In addition to coordinating the work of Tulane's external teams and overseeing a $70,000 annual budget, Nicole oversaw the administrative logistics of hosting as many as 20 teams from other law schools participating in competitions at the Law School. Nicole further served the community by assisting struggling artists and musicians through Tulane's Entertainment Law Legal Assistance program, and contributed to the Law School as a Student Ambassador with prospective students and as a member of the Deans Advisory Committee.


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