2011 Paralegal Studies Grad Uses Research Skills to Help Field Museum

Lee Price at the Field Museum

Lee Price at the Field Museum

Lee Price certainly didn’t enroll in Roosevelt’s paralegal certificate program to connect with Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH). Many years away from her bachelor’s in biology and working in an immigration law office, she was more focused on expanding her career options in the legal field. But then one thing led to another…
During the program Lee discovered that in addition to her love for the natural world, she had a strong interest in Legal Research and Legal Writing.” “I might be a nerd,” she says, “but finding a case on point is a thrill!” Her two interests came together when Lee, a member of the national paralegal honor society LEX, attended the 2011 Roosevelt honors ceremony. She introduced herself to one of the presenters, Julian Kerbis Peterhans, PhD, Professor of Natural Science, and a curator at FMNH. “I’d always wanted to be involved with a natural history museum,” says Lee, “and I thought maybe this was my chance.”
When Professor Kerbis asked Lee what skills she had to contribute to the Field, she was so far away from her biology days she had to think for a minute. Then she remembered Legal Research and the answer became obvious. “I can track down information,” she said.
Today Lee finds information that helps Prof. Kerbis publish his research: she confirms the accuracy of existing reports about the habits of creatures in far-flung places. Just as in legal research, this is a matter of locating sources, and it presents its challenges. “Many of the relevant papers date from the early 1900s and are difficult to find. Others are behind a journal pay wall or under copyright protection,” Lee explains.
To get access to them, she can consult specialized data bases that have some of the older publications digitized; look for scanned copies posted on university course web sites; search the electronic collections of other natural history museums; and look in various other places. As a result, she faces a question every Legal Research student is familiar with: “Where should I begin?” “Sometimes I just start with the title of the article on Google; sometimes I go straight to a data base; and sometimes I do a search through the Field Museum Library’s web site,” says Lee. She notes that just as in Legal Research, key words are crucial. She stresses that there’s no formula: the process is as much an art as a science.
Most of the time Lee finds that a recently-published paper accurately reports the original source. “But sometimes you find conflicting accounts of how an opossum or a rat behaves,” she says. “An expedition to the Belgian Congo in 1913 reports one thing; a more sophisticated study with improved methodology in 1983 another.” Then she drafts a description that includes all relevant previous opinions, another parallel with legal research.
If Lee was surprised to find herself at the Field Museum as a result of the program, she is less so that the certificate has contributed to her career development, as she originally intended. She uses her combined science-legal background to work on immigration cases for researchers who want to come to the U.S. “I am fascinated by what they do and enjoy learning about it,” she says. “I like putting my skills to work for them and for the Field Museum – it’s my own small contribution to science.”

Paralegal Studies Program Alumni Group invites you to a presentation of – RU LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an online social network that is designed for business professionals. It is widely used by legal employers to find job candidates. Please join us for a presentation on how to create your profile and how to use LinkedIn to maximize your job search efforts. Professional networking through LinkedIn and recommendations for using other social media in your job search will also be discussed.

Our presenter will be Cheryl Kettler. Ms. Kettler has been a member of the Paralegal Studies Program faculty since 2003 where she teaches Commercial Law and Legal Writing. She is also a National Partner Specialist, for AbstoneLalley, Inc.

The presentation is being held twice. Attend on the day and time that is most convenient for you:

Monday, April 13, 2015
Roosevelt University Gage Building
18 South Michigan , Room 700
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Roosevelt University Wabash Building
425 S. Wabash, Room 1111
12:15 pm to 1:15 pm

Register by calling (312) 281-3186 or send an email to
Kay Levoy at klevoy@roosevelt.edu

SUST Graduate Troy Withers Promotes Wellness at Chicago Schools through the “Peace Diet”

Re-post from yesterday’s Sustainability Studies blog:

This story from The Chicago Crusader on May 3rd, 2014, profiles the work of Troy Withers, a recent graduate (BPS ’13) of RU’s Sustainability Studies program and current intern at Morrill Elementary in Chicago. We applaud Troy’s work as a advocate of community health, sustainable food production, good nutrition, and social justice. (Editor’s note: The text of the article has been modified slightly to refer to the May 6th Wellness Event in the past tense.)

As a new wave of gang and gun violence hits Chicago, a Roosevelt University intern at an impacted elementary school in Chicago is promoting a wellness agenda that includes a ‘Peace Diet’ that is meant to reduce youth aggression and violence.

Troy Withers, a 2013 graduate of Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies program and a vegan, has long held the belief that diet can negatively impact behavior, particularly processed foods high in omega-6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates and sugars.

That is why he organized a Wellness Day that was held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 at the Morrill Elementary School, 6002 S. Rockwell, Chicago, just blocks from the scene of a recent shooting of a 2013 graduate of Morrill and the brother of a current Morrill student.

“It will be a day devoted to healing in which we will be discussing why so much violence is happening and how we can turn the tide against it,” said Withers prior to the event. He works part-time at the school as a peacekeeper helping students resolve conflicts using restorative justice practices in conjunction with an internship through Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation.

“We will be presenting some possible solutions to the violence epidemic, including providing information on the importance of having our kids eat better on a regular basis,” said Withers.

The event included a 4 p.m. Symposium on Inner City Violence where Withers introduced the concept of his Peace Diet, (which includes plant-based whole foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and essential micronutrients), as a tool for violence prevention.

Sample servings of the Peace Diet, including lentil sloppy joes, sweet potato fries seasoned with kelp and a leafy green vegetable, were served at the Symposium. Free-food giveaways, hip-hop music geared toward violence prevention as well as participation by community activists, including Ameena Matthews from the award-winning PBS documentary, The Interrupters, were among other activities.

A resident of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, Withers is the founder of the Gahn Institute for Sustainable Solutions, a Chicago-based policy institute stressing sustainability, health and community wellness as a means to combat societal problems. He first began researching causes of violence last year as a Roosevelt student after learning of the highly publicized murders in Chicago of Hadiyah Pendleton and six-month-old Jonylah Watkins. During the research, Withers became convinced that there is a correlation between poor nutrition and violent behavior, and has been working since then to educate and engage communities, youths and their parents about the importance of eating healthy foods.

“Young people in this community are facing violence on a regular basis,” said Nancy Michaels, associate director of Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute, which has been working at Morrill since 2011 and at other Chicago Public Schools as well to support young people through the use of restorative justice practices, including peace circles.

“While there are many factors that can contribute to violence, we believe Troy’s ideas are worth considering as we look for ways to establish a more peaceful, positive environment for young people to thrive,” Michaels said.

The Wellness Day event was co-sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign, Morrill Elementary School and Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation. For more information, contact the Mansfield Institute at 312-341-2150.

Professor Wolfe Claims Fifth Nomination for Hugo Award

 

Gary-Wolfe_webpage-picProfessor Gary Wolfe has been nominated a  third time (2012, 2013, 2014) for a Hugo Award for Best Fancast–for the Coode Street Podcast which he records with Jonathan Strahan. He was also nominated for his book, Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001, in 2011 and Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996, in 2006.

The Hugo Awards are the most prestigious award in science fiction. They have been presented annually since 1955.

The winners will be announced at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon 3, London, United Kingdom, August 17, 2014.

(An earlier post of this blog forgot to include Wolfe’s impressive book nominations.)

Roosevelt University Hosts University Partners Day

Roosevelt University will host University Partners Day for high school and community college counselors on Friday, Dec. 6 in Chicago. From 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., you can learn more about Roosevelt, talk with faculty and students, take a tour, and enjoy lunch on us.

This is an excellent time for our partners in the community to learn more about our programs as department and program chairs will be available to discuss ways we can help your students succeed.

Learn more about University Partners Day and register to attend.

 

Professor Shares Research from Fulbright Experience

Professor Julian Kerbis Peterhans spent last year in Uganda after being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, where he trained African students in biodiversity survey techniques. During that time, four new mammal species were discovered, with three of them from a single unexplored ‘montane island forest’ in central Africa.

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A collaborative international effort by Dr. Julian Kerbis Peterhans of the College of Professional Studies at Roosevelt University (Chicago), the Wildlife Conservation Society (New York), the Centre de Recherché des Sciences Naturelles (Lwiro, Dr Congo), and the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) has documented multiple unique species in a remote forest overlooking the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The forest, known as the Misotshi-Kabogo Highlands, is located within an African biodiversity hotspot known as the Albertine Rift.

Paralegal Studies Instructor Advocates for Students with Special Needs and offers new course in Special Education Law

The Paralegal Studies Program faculty members are a diverse group of legal professionals. A great example is Sande Shamash, Director of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Legal Advocacy Program (run through Jewish Child and Family Services) which has provided affordable Special Education legal services to thousands of families for more than 20 years. Shamash has devoted his career to working with children and families.  He started in 1993 as an Assistant Cook County Public Guardian and Attorney, successfully representing over 800 children alleged to have been abused or neglected.  Since then he has worked for Illinois Department of Public Aid in various capacities, including Chief Judge. He has also served as the first ever Executive Director of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Illinois, Inc.  Shamash joined the Paralegal Studies Program in 1996 and taught Commercial Law for several years. He also serves as a member of the program’s advisory board. Shamash is bringing his expertise in special education law to the program with a new course to be offered in Spring 2014, LAWA L34/PARA 334 Introduction to Special Education Law.

In his current position with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Shamash along with staff attorney, Marissa LaVette, advocate for students with special needs in local schools.  Most of their special education cases involve getting school districts to provide adequate education for students with special needs. The specialized field of Special Education law can be expensive.  “Thanks to JUF and JCFS, we’re one of the very few programs I know of that can work with low-income families,” said Shamash.  “Our services aren’t free, but we use a sliding scale and might charge a client anywhere from five dollars an hour to $350 per hour. “ According to Shamash, at a full rate, fees for a family could approach $50,000-$100,000 if a case has to go to a hearing. “It’s nice to be able to do my job for the client and know that fees won’t preclude us from helping,” said Shamash.

Shamash’s new Introduction to Special Education Law course is geared towards giving paralegal students an overview of special education law and practice, and the unique role paralegals can play in this exciting field. Shamash finds that special education is a growing and underserved area of law. It is derived from a mix of federal and state law, the United States Constitution, statutes, regulations, administrative procedures, and state and federal judicial decisions.  In the new course, students will learn the core concept of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, that requires a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” in the “Least Restrictive Environment.” They will learn how to develop an individualized education program (IEP). In addition, students will study how Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law, can be used to protect all students and their family against discrimination in education. Students will become familiar with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it establishes educational rights. Finally, students will learn about the importance of paralegals in special education law and their ability to both participate in and impact cases. “Special education law is one of my passions. I am excited to be teaching the new Introduction to Special Education Law course because I can share that passion and knowledge about this unique and important area of law with students and soon to be paralegals, ” said Shamash.

Leading the Legal Advocacy Center's efforts to represent students with special needs are attorneys Sande Shamash (l) and Marissa LaVette.

Leading the Legal Advocacy Center’s efforts to represent students with special needs are attorneys Sande Shamash (l) and Marissa LaVette.