23 graduates honored with academic and citizenship awards at Commencement

May 13, 2016

Founders Medalist Lauren Messonnier Meyers with Dean Chris Guthrie and Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos at Commencement 2016, Photo by John RussellTwenty-three 2016 law graduates were honored with awards recognizing their scholastic achievements and professional and personal leadership during their tenure at Vanderbilt Law School, and recognized during Commencement ceremonies May 13.

Lauren Messonnier Meyers of Lafayette, Louisiana, was awarded the Founder’s Medal, signifying first honors in Vanderbilt Law School’s Class of 2016, at the university’s Commencement ceremony. Meyers also received the Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize, awarded to the member of the second-year class who maintains the highest scholastic average during the first two years of law school.

Dylan L. Jacobs of Malvern, Arkansas received the Archie B. Martin Memorial Prize for Scholarship, awarded to the student of the first-year law class who earned the highest general average for the year for 2012-13.

Samiyyah Ali received the Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Prize, Photo by Joe HowellSamiyyah Ali of Atlanta, Georgia, received the Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Prize, awarded to “the student of the senior law class who is not only well-versed in the law, but who shows the highest conception of the ethics of the profession.” This is the only award whose recipient is chosen by the vote of the entire law faculty. Ali also received the Myron Penn Laughlin Note Award, awarded to the student who, other than the recipient of the Morgan Prize, contributed the best student Note published in the Vanderbilt Law Review; the Law Review Candidates Award, awarded by the second-year staff of the Vanderbilt Law Review to the third-year editorial staff member other than the editor-in-chief who has made the most significant contributions to their development as Law Review staff members; and the National Association of Women Lawyers’ contributing to the advancement of women in society and promoting women’s issues in the legal profession, and “who has exhibited tenacity, enthusiasm and academic achievement while earning the respect of others.”Vanderbilt Law School Commencement 2016 - Desmond Dennis leads the class of 2016 with Dean Chris Guthrie, Photo by Joe Howell

Desmond Dennis of Atlanta, Georgia, received the Chris Lantz Award, awarded each year to a student who demonstrates a dedication to developing a sense of community among his classmates with a strong capacity for leadership and commitment to his legal studies. This award was endowed by the Class of 2011 in memory of their friend and classmate Chris Lantz.

Alex Vey received the Damali A. Booker Award and the K. Harlan Dodson Moot Court Staff Award, Photo by Susan AdcockAlexander Vey of Hixson, Tennessee, received the Damali A. Booker Award, presented each year to the third-year law student who has a keen dedication to legal activism and a demonstrated commitment to confronting social issues facing both Vanderbilt Law School and the greater Nashville community. Vey also received the K. Harlan Dodson Moot Court Staff Award, which goes to the senior member of the Moot Court staff, other than the chief justice, who has rendered the most outstanding service throughout the previous year in all aspects of the Moot Court program.

Zixin Zhou received the Weldon B. White Prize, Photo by Terry WyattZixin Zhou of Jiangyin, China, received the Weldon B. White Prize, awarded to the graduate who submitted the best paper in fulfillment of the law school’s advanced writing requirement.

Sharmeen Ladhani received the Philip G. Davidson Award, Photo by Joe HowellSharmeen Ladhani of Dallas, Texas, received the Philip G. Davidson Award, presented each year to the student who has demonstrated dedication to the law and its problem-solving role in society, and who has provided exemplary leadership in service to the law school and the greater community.

Janelle Geddes of Lexington, Kentucky, received the Stanley D. Rose Memorial Book Award for submitting the best legal writing in the field of jurisprudence or legal history in fulfillment of the law school’s advanced writing requirement.

Joshua D. Foote of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, received the Morgan Prize, awarded to the student who contributed the outstanding pice of student writing to the Vanderbilt Law Review during the school year.

Brittney Perskin received the Grace Wilson Sims Prize for Excellence in Student Writing in Transnational Law, awarded for submitting the best Note for publication in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.

Megan McLean received the Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law Student Writing Award, Photo by Terry WyattMegan E. McLean of Bronxville, New York, received the Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law Student Writing Award, which goes to the graduate who submitted the most outstanding piece of student writing for publication in the journal.

Calvin Cohen and G. Alexander Nunn both received Richard Nagareda Awards, prizes awarded by the Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program, Photo by Terry WyattCalvin W. Cohen of El Segundo, California, and G. Alexander Nunn of Dallas, Texas, both received Richard Nagareda Awards, prizes awarded by the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program to recognize extraordinary achievement in the study of litigation and dispute resolution.

Michael J. Heckmann of Wexford, Pennsylvania, received the Jordan A. Quick Memorial Award, which honors the student judge to have made the greatest contribution to the quality of life at the law school through his leadership with the Vanderbilt Bar Association.

Larry Crane-Moskowitz and Brittany Perskin both received Junius L. Allison Legal Aid Awards, Photo by Sandy CampbellLawrence Crane-Moskowitz of Ridgewood, New Jersey, and Brittany Perskin of Demarest, New Jersey, both received Junius L. Allison Legal Aid Awards, which honor graduates judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work of the Vanderbilt Legal Aid Society during their tenure at Vanderbilt.

Joshua Foote and Steven Kyle Klansek both received Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education Awards, Photo by Terry WyattJoshua Foote of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Steven Kyle Klansek of Waxahachie, Texas, both received Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education Awards, which honor students who, in their representation of clients in the law school’s clinical program, demonstrated excellence in practice of law and best exemplified the highest standards of the legal profession.

Laura Ezell and Matthew Doster both received Law Review Editor’s Awards, awarded by the second-year staff of the Vanderbilt Law Review to the third-year staff members who made the most significant contribution to their development as Law Review staff members.

C. Danielle Dudding of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Joshua D. Foote of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, both received the G. Scott Briggs Transnational Legal Studies Award, awarded to the third-year students who have exhibited a high degree of scholastic achievement in transnational legal studies and made the most significant contribution to the development of international legal inquiries while a student at Vanderbilt.

Macy Rose Cullison received the Grace Wilson Sims Prize in Transnational Law, which goes to the editorial board member, other than the editor-in-chief, judged to have done the most outstanding work on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year.

Jordan Taylor Wohlner received the Grace Wilson Sims Medal in Transnational Law, Third Year, which goes to the member of the third-year staff selected as having done the most outstanding work on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year.

Matthew Ryan Gaske received the Chris Lantz Memorial Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law Outstanding Service Award, which goes to the student, other than the editor-in-chief, who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.

Tiffany Marie Burba received the Thomas C. Banks Award for the Outstanding Jessup Moot Court Team Member, awarded by the competition team to the members who have made the greatest contribution to the overall success of the team during the previous year.

Shee Shee Jin completes the most pro bono hours in the Class of 2016, a total of 208 hours, Photo by Brandy DrinnonCongratulations to these members of the Class of 2016 whose law school accomplishments were recognized at Commencement, as well as to Shee Shee Jin, who was recognized at the law school’s student award ceremony for completing the most hours of service through the Pro Bono Pledge Program. Jin completed 208 hours of service.


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