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Trainee Testimonials

AARON BROWN

Winston-Salem State University
MCHC/RISE-UP Scholar
Summer 2017

Being a senior in undergrad studying biology and psychology, I knew little about public health laws and policy, and how they intersected with education. When I came to Kennedy Krieger Institute for my internship this summer and learned of my placement at Project HEAL, I was overly excited to learn more about this intersection. Not only did I receive confirmation about going into health policy, I got the chance to be an active participant in making a difference in a child’s educational journey. Through my experiences at Project HEAL, I got to actually work in the field of special education law. I was able to sit in on IEP meetings, visit different specialized schools around the state of Maryland, and see how a child’s health and environment impacts their education and vice versa. I’m deeply grateful to have had this opportunity at such a special place, witness and take part in all the miraculous work that Maureen and Mallory do.


MOYOSORE KOYA

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
AmeriCorps JD
Summer 2017

I have always wanted to help underserved patient populations and I knew an internship with Project HEAL would be a great way to develop the skills I would need to further my passion. As a rising second year law student, I am grateful that I had this opportunity to take some of the more abstract concepts from school and apply them to the real world setting of assisting parents who are dealing with issues as related to their child’s educational program and placement. As a law trainee, I was able to interact with clients on an almost daily basis and to see the progression of a client’s case history with Project HEAL. I was able to participate in several IEP meetings and witness firsthand the discussions that led to positive educational outcomes for children.

My favorite memory from the summer was the opportunity that I had to tour the Kennedy Krieger Middle School (Fairmount campus) with the family of a student who had recently been approved for a nonpublic placement by her IEP team. I felt incredibly lucky to shared that experience with the student and her family. Moments like that reminded that the work we were doing was directly benefitting a child and her family. I am walking away from this experience with such a great depth of knowledge about special education law and services in the state of Maryland, and,  more importantly, with a better understanding of what it means to advocate on behalf of another person. 


CARUMEY STEVENS

Cornell University
Maternal and Child Health Careers/Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement Scholar, Trainee
Summer 2017

Working as a trainee at Project HEAL was an extremely unique, engaging experience for me. As a student primarily focused on the health and medical side of addressing the needs of children with disabilities, Project HEAL introduced me to the legal and educational side that are far too often separated. Project HEAL is a unique partnership that combines both medical and legal care for children who qualify for special education and related services. Through Project HEAL, I was able to see the bridge from medical care to the application of legal care and meeting children’s need in a broader context, like the school. I recommend this training experience to anyone interested in special education law and disability rights, and, not only those interested in pursuing legal careers because it is an integrated experience. Working with the passionate, dedicated attorneys was both inspiring and rewarding. I still can’t believe how much I have learned since I walked into Project HEAL on my first day. The attorneys at Project HEAL exposed me to every part of the special education legal process from literature and case studies to attending meetings and engaging with community stakeholders and leaders. I loved this experience, and I highly recommend!


BRIAN PAXTON

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
AmeriCorps JD
Summer 2016

Project HEAL is not only one of the most successful medical-legal partnerships in the country, but also a springboard for law students interested in learning how to best advocate for an under-served community. I learned more about being a lawyer in one summer with this program than I did through three years of law school classes. Project HEAL afforded me the unique opportunity to dive head first into a fast-paced legal environment where I was not an observer but an active participant. Every day I left the office feeling as though my work created real change in the world. This was by far the most unique experience I had in law school and I would strongly recommend Project HEAL to any student no matter what area of law they would eventually like to practice. I am honored to have been even a small part of this program.


ANDREW SISKE

University of Baltimore School of Law
UBSPI Grant Recipient
Summer 2016

Prior to law school, I studied neuroscience during my undergraduate studies. I was thrilled when I learned about Project HEAL at Kennedy Krieger Institute. It presented the perfect opportunity to combine my background in psychology & brain science with my goal of practicing of law. During my summer with Project HEAL, I worked with two incredibly passionate and talented attorneys who introduced me to the world of disability law and educational advocacy, and, who solidified my aspiration of becoming an education law attorney. The attorneys were keen to include me in meetings with parents and students (when appropriate), including intake interviews, attending Individualized Education Program and Section 504 meetings, and coalition or task force meetings that they attended.  I developed my communication skills by speaking with parents over the phone and during meetings, my writing skills by drafting state complaints to the Maryland State Department of Education and letters to school system attorneys, and my research skills by seeking answers to complex legal questions. It was an immensely rewarding and formative experience for me as both a person and a professional. 


Margie Beltran

University of Baltimore School of Law
Volunteer
Spring 2015 & Fall 2015

Upon entering law school, I had no idea how I wanted to apply my passion for mental health and disability advocacy. Project HEAL was the perfect organization to channel this passion and give back to the local community. The staff at Project HEAL is truly inspirational and no doubt one of the greatest resources to the educational community. As a part of the greater Kennedy Krieger Institute, Project HEAL also has access to leading experts in other interdisciplinary fields, making it an all-around exceptional experience for anyone who interacts with them. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Maureen van Stone and Mallory Finn at Project HEAL. My fulfilling and valuable experience has not only made me a better future attorney, but a more culturally competent individual and that is an irreplaceable gift I can apply to all future endeavors.


Kirsten Smulovitz

University of Baltimore School of Law
Law Trainee
Spring & Summer 2015
 

Working with Project HEAL was my first opportunity to engage in a legal internship. Growing up, my father always encouraged me to participate in Best Buddies, since his sister had Down Syndrome and he understood the importance of helping others. I chose to intern with Project HEAL because I wanted to continue to engage in work that would be rewarding for me while helping clients through some very difficult times, and at the same time be given the opportunity to learn the legal aspect of work. After working with Project HEAL, I was able to understand the importance that Project HEAL has on clients’ lives and really reap in the pleasure of being able to help people who may not be able to help themselves.


Yu-Hsuan (Amy) Lai

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summer 2015

"Project HEAL provided me with the opportunity to learn more about issues that children with disabilities and their families face on a daily basis. I enjoyed attending IEP meetings and touring schools and facilities that serve individuals with disabilities. I also appreciated the opportunities to participate in stimulating conversations with passionate professionals from various disciplines who support the work. Project HEAL also gave me the opportunity to apply program evaluation skills I gained in my academic training to a real-world program. My experience confirmed and furthered my passion for both education and public health, and also for working with underserved populations."


Michelle Dauksha

University of Baltimore School of Law
UBSPI Grant Recipient
Summer 2015

“I was really excited about interning with Project HEAL due to my aspiration of working in public interest, volunteer experience in special education classrooms, and having a sibling on the autism spectrum. I enjoyed being able to participate in the entire process of a special education matter. The highlight of my summer was participating in an IEP meeting where a third-grade student with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, functioning significantly below grade level, was approved for a nonpublic placement, which was his mother’s goal for obtaining representation from Project HEAL. It was a rewarding experience, because I was in direct communication with clients and truly felt as though our services were making a difference in their lives.”


John Delaney

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
MPILP Grant Recipient
Summer 2015

"Before law school, I spent three years as a fourth grade teacher. I saw first-hand the challenges that families face when trying to navigate the special education process to get an appropriate education for a child with disabilities. During my summer at Project HEAL, I have engaged in many valuable experiences that helped to hone my skills as a future attorney, including: conducting client intakes, drafting state and due process complaints on behalf of students with disabilities, and participating in community advocacy efforts at the city, state, and national levels. The best part of this internship experience is hearing back from parents that their children are happy and receiving the quality of education they deserve because of the services and placement we advocated for."


Meera Rothman

Dulaney High School
Trainee
Summer 2013 & 2014

“As a high school student, I was a trainee at Project HEAL for two summers. I helped develop an MCDD presentation on bullying, harassment, and intimidation of students with disabilities from a student perspective, and I conducted a literature review about extracurricular programs for students with disabilities, which I presented at the AUCD conference in Washington D.C. Ms. [Maureen] van Stone [the director of Project HEAL] and the other trainees were extremely encouraging and inspiring and made my internship a very positive experience. Working at Project HEAL was enriching, enlightening, and an amazing opportunity for me to learn more about advocacy and disabilities. I have used the knowledge and skills I gained in a peer buddy experience and as leader of my school's Autism Ambassadors club. I now hope to pursue a career in advocacy and/or public health.”


Caitlin Biggins

University of Baltimore School of Law
Law Trainee
Platinum Pro Bono Law Honoree
Fall 2013 & Spring 2014

"Working closely with the Project HEAL attorneys and the Kennedy Krieger health care professionals provided me with a strong appreciation of the holistic approach that Project HEAL employs to meet the complex needs of Kennedy Krieger’s children and families."


Lauren Peterson

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Legislative Intern, Health Law Extern, Law Trainee
Spring 2013, Fall 2013 & Spring 2014

“I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today without Project HEAL. In my second and third years of law school, I was fortunate enough to work for Project HEAL in a variety of capacities. As a legislative intern, I advocated on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, researched issues, prepared testimony, and attended Maryland legislative committee hearings. As a health law extern, I conducted client intakes, drafted letters and complaints to the Maryland State Department of Education, attended Individualized Education Program and Section 504 meetings, and due process hearings. Thanks to the support and guidance of Project HEAL attorneys and staff, I discovered and cultivated a passion for special education law as a career. I currently work for a special education law firm, supporting families of children with disabilities in New York and Connecticut.”


Lauren Wood

University of Baltimore School of Law
UBSPI Grant Recipient
Summer 2013

"My experience at Project HEAL was truly unlike any other. To be able to leave work every day with the gratification of making a difference in somebody's life is something that people search for throughout their entire career, and I was able to experience it at my first internship. The interdisciplinary relationship that exists with Kennedy Krieger's healthcare professionals provides firsthand experience to the benefits of collaboration in the practice of law. It allows for creative problem solving, as the staff at Project HEAL can draw from the knowledge of social workers, neuropsychologists, and behavioral psychologists to determine what is appropriate for their clients. At Project HEAL, you develop real relationships not only with the staff, but also with the families that you are assisting, and you learn lessons that are invaluable to becoming a great lawyer."


Hunter McIntyre

University of Baltimore School of Law
UBSPI Grant Recipient
Summer 2012

"Like most law students with an aspiration of working in public interest, one of my desires to work for Project HEAL came from the longing to have an impact on the community and help those who are less fortunate than I am. I was also attracted to Project HEAL because the director, Maureen van Stone, has such a positive impact not only on the special education community, but also on the students attending local law schools. Through countless interns, she has instilled attributes that will last for a lifetime and will have no small impact on the lives of future attorneys. Based on the example she set, I know I will not only be a better attorney, but a better contributing member of my community."


Pete Naugle

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Undergraduate Student Volunteer and MPILP Grant Recipient
Summer 2008 & Summer 2012

"During my time with Project HEAL, I was able to participate at every stage of the process for children needing legal services in pursuit of their right to a free appropriate public education. I enjoyed a great deal of direct client interaction by conducting client intake interviews. I wrote a number of letters to school administrators articulating the client’s concerns and requesting an IEP meeting to resolve them. I also drafted Maryland State Department of Education complaints for the more egregious instances of denial of services to the child. My time at Project HEAL is among the few cherished instances in my legal career where I have felt truly fulfilled by the difference I was able to make in the lives of those I sought to help."


Josh Greenfield

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Health Law Extern
Spring 2012

"I had a wide range of experiences during my time with Project HEAL that helped me better understand the working of a medical-legal partnership, the nuances of legislative advocacy, and both special education and health law. As an extern, I worked on a variety of cases involving public benefits, special education, family law, and other matters. I particularly enjoyed assisting with client intakes and then having the opportunity to work on a case from the onset and in some cases, see it through its resolution. I also had the opportunity to attend various conferences, IEP meetings, and other sessions. Overall, it was an eye-opening and gainful experience from which I know I will apply the knowledge and skills I gained to my continuing law practice endeavors."


Sara Cimino

University of Baltimore School of Law
UBSPI Grant Recipient and Attorney Practice Internship
Summer & Fall 2011

"Project HEAL was my first legal internship, and I was really enthusiastic about gaining legal experience. In fact, I enjoyed my first experience so much that I decided to come back to Project HEAL for an additional semester because I felt really good about the work I was doing. Ultimately, Project HEAL gave me to opportunity to gain meaningful experience that was also rewarding. I was able to observe and participate in the entire process of taking on a special education case from the initial intake to the closing letter. I liked being an advocate and knowing that my work was helping families and children in need."


Alexis Slater Storey

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
MPILP Grant Recipient, Asper Fellow, and Law Clerk
Summer 2008, Fall 2009 & Summer 2010

"My experience with Project HEAL taught me the importance of creative lawyering and working with a variety of resources to meet clients’ needs. For most Project HEAL clients – whose problems are urgent and relate to their daily lives – the court system and its traditional legal remedies are ineffective methods for addressing their needs. At Project HEAL, I learned how to work closely with Kennedy Krieger clinicians and other community-based resources to come up with quick and effective solutions to clients’ legal problems."

Kennedy Krieger Recognizes Project HEAL Funders

On Monday, May 22, 2017, Kennedy Krieger Institute honored Project HEAL’s partners Jim MacLaughlin, Kevin Havens and Ron Howard from RE/MAX Preferred with the Henry A. Rosenberg, Jr.  Community Spirit award. The award, presented to RE/MAX at the Institute’s society party, honors those who, like its namesake Henry Rosenberg, have demonstrated service to Kennedy Krieger and the community at large.

Resource Finder

 

A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.