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Wythe Out a Doubt Worth Sharing


The Wythe Out a Doubt Worth Sharing Award recognizes exemplary honorable behavior in the Law School's community of trust. The winners are awarded a Golden Gavel to commemorate their success. Below are their stories - please send your congratulations to these honorable people


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Danielle Makia (3L)

"I met Dani, when I overheard someone calling her name and told her that I too was referred to as 'Danni.' We would greet each other in the hall but never had a chance to get get to know each other better. A few weeks ago, out of the blue, she emailed me to check how my semester was progressing and offered to meet for coffee to just talk and answer any questions I have. This is consistent with many of the upperclassmen I've come across, but what stands out with Dani for me, is that she is not my mentor and we didnt cross paths in any of the traditional ways. She knew absolutely nothing about me except that we share the same moniker, yet she went out of her way to find my email address, send a thoughtful message and actually meet with me. If those actions alone weren't enough, she was very kind and super helpful offering resources, tips and advice to questions I didn't even know to ask. She is a true representation of the W&M law school spirit."

Chimuanya Osuoha (2L)

"Just to summarize, she has a very warm and kind soul. She has been a positive light in the lives of many 1L here at WM. She actively engages with us, checks on us, she supports us in many ways and has put on the majority of events hosted by BLSA this year. She has created a community for the black students here when no community was present and continuously works to ensure our success and comfort in this school. She's a friend, a mentor, a leader and will be a great citizen lawyer."

Jane Chiffriller (1L)

"Jane is, by far, the most worthy candidate I know for this award. When Hurricane Florence caused all student halls to be closed, Jane took me in for five days and nights. This was at the beginning of term, when I hardly knew Jane. As an international student, I was hugely concerned about where I could find shelter at that time. At the time, I had no close connections in the U.S. Jane recognised this, and reached out to me almost immediately, offering to share her place of residence with me unconditionally. Not only this, Jane showed concern for other LLM students who were in a similar position to me, and the community as a whole. Jane even considered travelling to the areas most affected by the hurricane to help with the clean-up. Jane made me feel so very welcome at her apartment, and I now consider her to be a valued friend. Jane is not only a valuable friend to me, but to the entire W&M Community. It is clear that the concern which Jane has for her fellow students is genuine. Jane made a huge effort to encourage students to register to vote in the mid-term elections. She tabled and promoted awareness of the opportunity to participate in the democratic process tirelessly. The way that Jane went about doing this is a good demonstration of the way that Jane approaches, with passion, the things which matter to her. I first noticed that Jane exhibits honorable behaviour during one of my first encounters with her. It was the second week of school, and many law students were socialising in town during the evening. Jane helped a stranger, whom she had no connection with, to get home safely after he had over-indulged at the bars. Jane went out of her way to assist a man, as an upstanding member of the community. I have since witnessed Jane go out of her way to help and support fellow law students in times of need. Jane goes out of her way to make sure that her fellows are okay, even at her own expense. We need more people like Jane, and we need to honor people like Jane for their positive contribution to our community. Jane is an ethical, responsible and reliable individual."


Professor Kern-Scheerer (Faculty Winner)

"Professor Kern-Scheerer consistently cares about the minority groups and students in general. She is constantly asking what she can do for Equality Alliance and BLSA, and is always willing to be a safe space for students. In solidarity with the LGBTQ+ she is allowing her writing classes this semester to use they/them/their pronouns. She is kind and someone any student would feel safe talking to. This is my first semester having SKS, but I feel like I could go to with her any problem, large or small, and she would use her voice as a faculty member to help."


Shawn Syed (2L) (Honorable Mention)

"In the midst of diversity conflicts within the school, Shawn has gone above and beyond to make a difference by carrying himself respectfully and honorably in having his fellow students of color's voices heard and forming bonds, trust, diplomacy and respect with the Deans and faculty members. He spoke up in a way that demanded action and change. He is truly honorable and a citizen lawyer. Shawn is the perfect example of a true ally. With all the recent town halls, controversy, etc., he has spoken up for other students of color, but also knows when to defer to others. He is not only an advocate for issues that affect himself, but is always thinking about how he can advocate for others. There have been several times where I have felt hesitant to speak, but he has, instead of speaking over me or explaining my words, has given me due credit, which in turn gives me the confidence to use my platform. He has an incredible ability to strike a balance between holding others (including people in positions of power) accountable for their actions, while still being positive, and focuses on working with others instead of being divisive."

Alicen Rodolph (1L) (Honorable Mention)

"Alicen is a perfect example of an honorable law school member. She consistently provides a reassuring presence for her fellow students. On her own volition, she brought coffee and donuts to school because she thought that students needed it. She sat in the lobby handing out the refreshments to all students/faculty/staff who were interested, brightening the day of many people. Alicen is always going out of her way to think of how she can help others and positively contribute to the William & Mary Law community. She is even working on coordinating a Thanksgiving potluck for students who will be in Williamsburg/the law library on Thanksgiving day. Even during the crazy stress/unfamiliar territory of 1L, Alicen is taking initiative to improve the lives of her fellow students. And, to me, that's pretty honorable behavior."


FALL 2017


Michaela Lieberman (3L)

“Michaela exudes honor in all her endeavors within the law school. Michaela is someone who makes you feel happy and brightens your day just by talking to her. She's funny, genuine, and truly cares about the school. She also cares about all her peers. In class, she gives 100% of her attention to other students when they are presenting or speaking. She actively engages in discussion and conversations during class and is interested in continuing conversations after class. She tries to understand new perspectives. It is clear from every interaction that she respects everyone in our community. She's welcoming, friendly, and exhibits qualities of a citizen lawyer. She's a role model and is definitely deserving of recognition for her overall positivity and genuine interactions toward others.”


Emma Vignali (3L)

“Last semester, I was studying in the library and accidentally knocked an entire travel mug of coffee over. It spilled all over the desk and soaked my laptop. Emma was sitting a few tables over and saw the whole spill happen. Although I did not know Emma very well at the time, she immediately jumped out of her chair to help me. While I stood frozen in shock at what had just happened, she ran to the bathroom and grabbed a bunch of paper towels to help me dry everything off. As she helped me clean up the coffee and dry off my laptop, she told me about the store in Newtown where I could take my laptop to get fixed. Emma went above and beyond to help me when she offered to let me borrow her old laptop to work on while I got my laptop fixed. Although I turned her down, she took the time to follow up with me a few days later by email to see how my laptop was doing and again offered to let me borrow her old laptop if I needed it. Emma's kindness really blew me away. Even though we did not know each other very well, she was willing to go above and beyond to help a fellow law student out.”


Professor Fred Lederer (Faculty Winner)

“Professor Lederer is a really honorable person. He makes it a point to teach his students and his staff members at CLCT to conduct themselves as ethical future lawyers; he points out and rewards ethical behavior. It's hard to think of one instance of him doing this in particular because he does it so often. Honor and ethics are really embedded in his character.”


Dean Patricia Roberts (Honorable Mention)

“When I was having a personal crisis, Dean Roberts was there not only to lend an ear and give support, but also to take action to protect my personal safety and the safety of others. I am very grateful to her for her help.”