SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Carie Martin headshot

April 26, 2024

Carie Martin Awarded the 2024 George and Katrina Woolverton Public Service Award

Please join us in congratulating 3L student Carie Martin on receiving the 2024 George and Katrina Woolverton Public Service Award! 

They were selected for the award for their extraordinary dedication to public interest law activities at Southwestern. The Woolverton Award is in the amount of $10,000. Only one student is chosen for this prestigious honor annually.

Meet Carie Martin

Carie Martin George and Katrina Woolverton  Public Service Award Recipient

Carie Martin (they/them) is a former healthcare provider and imminent law school graduate focused on creating healthy, sustainable societies where everyone can thrive. As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Carie's interests in public-service focus on the intersections and the margins - communities often left out or left behind and those that experience overlapping systemic and institutional oppression. Post-graduation, they hope to continue in Community Economic Development, working on expanding economic access for small business owners, micro-entrepreneurs, and community-serving non-profits, developing community-owned real estate models to help resist gentrification and displacement in culturally significant communities, and building alternative economic systems that meet working-class people's needs.

We asked Carie...

What is the most satisfying aspect of public service for you?

A healthy and vibrant society is one where everyone can access the necessary resources and support for their well-being. The public interest field is a space where individuals dare to dream of a better world and work to make that vision a reality. When lawyers, legal workers, activists, organizers, legislators, and clients work together, we can co-create systems and institutions responsive to people's needs and uplift entire communities.

What have been some of your favorite highlights of your service involvement during law school?

From clerking in the Community Lawyering Clinic, the Pathways to Justice program at Foshay Learning Center, my externship at Public Counsel this past year, and my time in student leadership, my best moments and memories have been shared with others. While working with Ms. Antoinette Pippin at Foshay Learning Center, we spent time with students and staff to envision ways to fill the justice gap and inspire civic engagement in the next generation. During my time at the Community Lawyering Clinic, I worked with housing attorney Antonio Gallo, Professor Julia Vazquez, and Julissa Salgueiro (Class of 2023) on a case where we swung for the fences and won a motion to set aside a default eviction judgment for a commercial tenant, allowing us to negotiate a relocation timeline and obtain a refund of their substantial security deposit. That case was also fortuitous because it connected me with Ritu Mahajan and the Community Development Project at Public Counsel. For the past year, I have worked directly with local small business owners and microentrepreneurs who are still navigating post-pandemic recovery - a cause close to my heart as a former small business owner. These experiences have motivated me to counter our current systems and institutions that de-privilege and disenfranchise historically marginalized communities and continue to push for alternatives that include us all.    

What words of advice would you have for future Southwestern students?

I spent significant time outside the standard curriculum pursuing experiential opportunities like externships and clinics to keep my knowledge rooted in the real world. I sought mentors, peers, and advisors for guidance and accountability and built relationships with those who understand intersectionality and are committed to collective liberation. I also found my fellow law school disruptors resisting the normalization of privilege and oppression that keeps people like us out of important decision-making rooms. We supported each other, celebrated our successes, and had a safe space to vent our fears and frustrations. Change work is challenging and resisting the status quo can be isolating. These people and programs kept me focused and energized when things felt impossible.

Congratulations on receiving the George and Katrina Woolverton Public Service Award! Feel free to share a personal note with those you’d like to thank for supporting you during your law school career.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to George and Katrina Woolverton for this incredible honor and their continued investment in our campus and community members striving to make change. I would also like to thank Michelle Takagishi-Almeida and the Public Service Program at the school for their continued support of our public interest work. I am deeply grateful for the invaluable mentorship and guidance provided by Dean Dickerson, as well as to Ritu Mahajan, my amazing supervisor at Public Counsel. I would not have made it without Professor Julia Vazquez, a sounding board and safe space throughout my time here and an incredible advisor to our activist community on campus. There are countless other faculty, staff, and administration on this campus whose contributions to our professional and academic success often go unnoticed, including the Career Services Office, Student Affairs Office, Communication and Marketing, Institutional Advancement, and the DEI department.

I also want to center and uplift my Public Interest Program cohort. Their courage, passion, and advocacy have inspired me and kept me going, even when it was hard and I wanted to quit. To Shara, Ester, Alex, Madison, Sarah, Bryon, Karen, Bianca, Daniel, Cassandra, Nikki, Liv, Herbert, Lucia, Julissa, Alix, Nadia, Zara, my NLG, MIALS, OUTLaw, and ACS boards, and my fellow graduates, I am so grateful to you all.  Your commitment, energy, and passion have been the spark in the machine that has kept the engine of progress running, and I am so fortunate to call you my friends and future colleagues. Last but not least, a special shout out to my longtime community, who have supported me through this process as a 40-plus-year-old law student with a dream of something different. Dr. Ninochka McTaggart, Dr. Chloe Weber, Kris, Deanna, Seye, Tiff, Tymmony, Irv, my parents, and more of my wonderful friends and family humored me when all I could talk about was law school, gave me space to vent my frustrations, picked me up when I fell, celebrated every single win I had (no matter how small), and kept me laughing, fed, and loved. We did it!

Michelle Takagishi-Almeida, Carie Martin, Prof. Julie Vazquez
(L to R) Michelle Takagishi-Almeida, Carie Martin, Prof. Julia Vazquez

 Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Carie!