Amanda Walsh, the 2011 CBF Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Scholarship recipient, started college at NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, expecting to study engineering. Fortunately, during her first semester at the University that stresses creativity, flexibility, academic rigor as well as self-directed and inter-disciplinary opportunities, Amanda realized in her interdisciplinary seminars that she had a different passion. She decided to embrace the challenges that she had faced in her family life including mental illness that resulted in her moving to several different living arrangements. From this point forward through graduation in May of 2011, Amanda focused her attention on learning through classroom studies and internships as much as possible about mental illness and its impact on families and children.
“Because mental illness is still something we struggle to understand, our society’s priorities rarely focus on keeping such a family together; instead, the mentally ill are often placed into a cycle of homelessness, incarceration, and institutionalization while their children are placed in various forms of foster care.” This passion and commitment has led Amanda to pursue this fall, the joint J.D./M.S.W. degree program at Loyola University Chicago, where the Law School selected her as a ChildLaw J.D. Fellow based on her academic ability, leadership potential and commitment to a career as a child advocate. One of her college professors said, “Amanda’s intellectual curiosity and strong academic potential is rivaled only by her sense of duty to put what she learns into practice, both in her activism and in her personal life.” We look forward to assisting Amanda reach her goals and to bringing another committed public interest attorney to the Chicago area.