The Avery Friedman Human Rights Endowed Scholarship was established at Ursuline College to recognize passionate Legal Studies students who are committed to advancing their education and careers so that they can continue the cause of justice and equal human rights. The scholarship was established in recognition of Friedman, a civil rights lawyer, CNN legal analyst, and distinguished adjunct faculty member who teaches constitutional law at Ursuline.
View a video created when the scholarship was announced, featuring CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, beloved Cleveland television journalists Romona Robinson and Carl Monday, and rock icon Dion Dimucci.
“As a professor, I am continually moved by the students’ personal growth and tenacity to fight the good fight,” Friedman said. “These students are finding their voices and developing the skills to articulate and address human rights violations.”
Recent recipients include:
Erica Zalar '21, who spent several years as Director of Youth Ministry at St. Noel Church in Willoughby Hills, advocating for human rights and social justice. Her legal career will be the next step in that journey.
At St. Noel, Zalar coordinated annual service trips through Young Neighbors in Action, an experience that provides a dynamic Catholic approach to both service and justice through prayer, liturgy, and Catholic teaching. Young Neighbors was particularly effective at asking participants to not just engage in acts of service but unpack the social structures in place that make it so difficult for those on the margins to meet their basic needs and change their circumstances.
“When I learned I received this award I was truly humbled," she said. “I do my best to hear and respond to God’s call in my life and God most often speaks to me in the life and example of those who have showed me, through their lives and example, how to serve and how to be an advocate for others.”
Ellen Euclide ’19, who earned a certificate in Legal Studies, is a paralegal at Costas Network Law Center LLC working with clients and attorneys to prepare immigration cases. Her work includes serving Spanish speaking clients with asylum, bond and family-based cases as well as employer-sponsored visas. Ellen was recently elected to the National Board of Directors of DignityUSA, a group that serves LGBTQ Catholics. She also volunteers with the Legal Aid Society's "brief advice clinics."
Said Ellen, "I was honored to receive the Avery Friedman Scholarship because it recognized my values and motivations, rather than just financial need or scholastic achievement. I am so glad that Ursuline believes in supporting well-rounded scholars with vision, and I'm proud that the committee thought I fit in that group."
Sabrina Mitchell ’19, who earned her master’s degree in Educational Administration, is working as a substitute teacher for the Bedford City School District and completing her teaching licensure. She says, “I saw so many minority children involved in the justice system, and I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children in a way that prevents them from ever having to be involved in the justice system. If I just help one child, then I have fulfilled my dream.”
Heidi Van Kan ’18, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, is a supervisor at Progressive Insurance and volunteers with Legal Aid Society. She says, “As a supervisor, I feel very strongly about servant leadership. Sometimes I need to take a stand between my team and management in order to do what I feel is right and just. I’m the buffer that fights the battles to make sure that each person is viewed holistically. They are the front line, taking all the heat. My job is to have their backs so that they can focus on looking forward instead of over their shoulders.”
Sandra McGrath ’15, '20, who was already a registered nurse at Cleveland Clinic in Women's Health when she earned her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and a second bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) . She says, “I practice compassion every day. I treat my patients equally and make sure everyone is offered the same quality of care. Equality is the cornerstone of justice.” Committed to a career helping others, Sandy’s long-term goal is to find an opportunity that compliments her nursing schedule to start her own business or volunteer in the legal field.
To date, more than 180 friends and admirers of Friedman have contributed to the endowed fund totaling $170,000. To add your contribution, please click below.