The Pro Bono Program is administered by a 12-student board and one faculty supervisor who work throughout the year with community partners, legal aid offices, law school student groups, professors, alumni, private attorneys, and fellow students to facilitate individual pro bono projects, special clinics, and group trips in which students can participate. Each February, the director for the following academic year is chosen by interview process by the current board from those currently serving board members who apply for the position. Applications for open board positions are then solicited from the student body each March, and open positions are filled by interview process by the current board.
Meriwether Evans, 3L
Office Hours: By appointment
Meriwether grew up in a small town west of Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from Emory University in 2005 with a B.A. in English and Anthropology and an M.A. in English. After graduating, she worked in the entertainment industry. During her three-year adventure of living in Los Angeles she had the opportunity to work in every facet of film production, from story development to premiere.
In 2008, her interest began to shift toward social justice and law. Participating in the Pro Bono Wills Trip in Moore and Richmond Counties was an amazing start to her law school career, which reaffirmed her dedication to helping her fellow students find rewarding pro bono projects. Meriwether is inspired by great movies, moving books, horses, delicious food, her wonderful husband, and her dedicated colleagues and professors here at UNC Law.
3L Class Coordinator
Kathryn Van Wie, 3L
Office Hours: Monday, 11-noon
Kathryn grew up in Dothan, Alabama, and graduated from Auburn University with dual degrees in Spanish and Public Relations. After graduation, Kathryn was an au pair in Verona, Italy, taught English in Barcelona, Spain, and worked in compliance in Charlotte, NC while her husband trained for the 2008 Olympic Swimming Trials.
Kathryn worked at law firms in Birmingham, AL and Raleigh, NC during her first and second summers. She also works with general counsel for an international company in the Research Triangle Park.
After graduation, Kathryn and her husband will move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he will attend business school. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys traveling, running with their dog, Mamie, photography, and cheering for the Auburn Tigers.
2L Class Coordinator
Joey Polonsky, 2L
Office Hours: Tuesday, 2-3 p.m.
Joey grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. After graduation, Joey led a group of volunteers to Honduras, where they educated middle and high school students about HIV/AIDS. Joey subsequently worked on NC Senate campaigns throughout the 2010 election cycle.
Joey was attracted the the Pro Bono Program because it allows all interested students to gain practical experience, while making a serious and lasting impact on local communities that are frequently under-served and overlooked by the legal system. In his free time, Joey can be found cooking, running 200-mile, 36-hour relay races and cheering on all things UNC with his wife and their two dogs.
1L Class Coordinator
Gabriel Kussin, 1L
Office Hours: Monday, 2-3 p.m.
Gabriel was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, Gabriel returned to North Carolina and worked in Charlotte and in Durham as an educator as well as for non-profit organizations focusing on Latino advocacy.
As 1L Class Coordinator, Gabriel is excited to connect his classmates to opportunities in the community and successfully represent the class of 2015 on the Pro Bono Board. Outside of law school, Gabriel is a diehard New York Giants, Yankees, and Carolina Hurricanes fan and enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and spending time with his friends and family.
Alumni Outreach Coordinator
Annie Bryan, 3L
Office Hours: Thursday, 10:45-11:45 a.m.
Annie grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Event Management. After graduation, she moved to Charlotte and began working for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte in fundraising, event planning, and volunteer management.
After a few years in Charlotte, she and her husband moved to Chapel Hill where she began law school at UNC and her husband began Business School. During her first year in law school, Annie was happy to discover she could use her passion for helping others by volunteering for Pro Bono projects. As the Alumni Coordinator for the Pro Bono Board, Annie is excited to help alumni continue their commitment to Pro Bono and UNC after graduation and throughout their careers.
Annie loves running, reading, and spending time with her husband Josh and their new puppy, Mac.
Student Group Projects Coordinator
Yolanda Fair, 3L
Office Hours: Monday, 3-4
Yolanda grew up in Durham, North Carolina, and attended Tufts University, where she majored in International Relations. During college, Yolanda became involved in anti-modern day slavery advocacy, and continues her involvement at UNC Law. Yolanda has interned with JusticeMatters, Inc., Byalik, P.C., the Durham District Attorney's Office, and Global Freedom Center.
After law school, Yolanda hopes to combine her involvement in anti-human trafficking advocacy with her legal education. Yolanda is excited to serve as the Group Projects Coordinator and hopes to encourage student participation and project development in our many student groups. Outside of law school, you can find Yolanda playing capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts, playing music or teaching children at her church, Calvary Chapel Cary. Yolanda is an avid UNC basketball fan and loves anything French.
New Projects Development Coordinator
Jean Abreu, 3L
Office Hours: Wednesday, 1-2 p.m.
Jean grew up in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in History and Political Science. After graduating, she taught middle school in the Dominican Republic and served as an Americorps VISTA, coordinating and afterschool and community center in South Texas. During law school Jean has interned at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham, and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Immigrant Justice Project in Atlanta.
As New Projects Development Coordinator Jean is excited to create new sustainable projects at the law school and help more students and attorneys continue their commitment to Pro Bono. Outside of law school, Jean loves traveling, reading, running, and spending time with friends and family.
Public Relations Coordinator
Tanner Kroeger, 2L
Office Hours: Thursday, 3-4 p.m.
After growing up in North Carolina, Tanner graduated from North Carolina State University with an English degree in May 2007. He earned a master's degree in United States history from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in December 2010. Prior to law school, he interned with Advocates for Children of New York, an education advocacy group in New York City, and he completed two full terms of AmeriCorps service. The first term was with Chicago Public Schools' Homeless Education Program, where he served as the program's development coordinator. The second term was with Hands On Charlotte, a nonprofit organization focused on volunteer mobilization, where he managed the organization's Strategic Partner Initiative.
Tanner is an uncompromising fan of the NC State Wolfpack and the Carolina Panthers. When not watching the Red and White, he enjoys cooking, running, playing racquetball and spending time with friends and family. He is married to Krista Meier, who is a member of the Class of 2015 at Elon University's physician assistant program.
Special Trips Coordinators
Munashe Magarira, 2L
Office Hours: Monday, 11-noon
Munashe Magarira grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English. During his undergraduate years, Munashe was a student organizer for APPLES, a student led service-learning program. After graduating, Munashe served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for the University of North Carolina Wilmington. There, Munashe worked with student leaders and staff to help engage undergraduates in service programs and events in the greater Wilmington
Munashe was attracted to the Pro Bono Board because it gives him the chance to engage law students in meaningful, legal work in the North Carolina community. In his free time, Munashe enjoys playing and watching soccer, music and performing standup comedy.
Kelly Anderson, 2L
Office Hours: Monday, 11-noon
Raised in a military family, Kelly grew up all over the world, but spent the majority of her childhood in Florida, North Carolina, Italy, and Japan. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Romance Languages. Kelly was drawn to UNC Law because of its prominent pro bono program, commitment to public service work, and strong sense of community.
Kelly participated in several pro bono projects during her 1L year, but sought to become more involved in the facilitation of these experiences based on the effects that the Special Trips projects had on her outlook of the state of legal needs in North Carolina. During the summer after her 1L year, Kelly interned at the UNC Center for Civil Rights. In her free time, Kelly enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Winter and Spring Break Projects Coordinator
James Jolley, 2L
Office Hours: Wednesday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
James grew up in Lawndale, NC, but he has called Raleigh home for the past four years. He graduated in 2007 from UNC-Chapel Hill with majors in History and Political Science. After earning his Masters in Education from Wake Forest University in 2008, he taught high school social studies at East Wake High School in Wendell, NC.
Making the transition from teacher to law student, pro bono served as a common thread that united James’s prior experience as a teacher and his new persona as a law student. Whether speaking with potential clients on the Legal Aid Helpline or researching education issues for the UNC Center for Civil Rights, pro bono helped James hone legal skills while doing legal work that met the real needs of local communities.
Over Winter Break during his 1L year, James completed a pro bono project with N.C. Prison Legal Services in Raleigh. He liked it so much that he chose to intern there during the summer in order to continue working on post-conviction appeals and civil litigation on behalf of the incarcerated in North Carolina. As Winter & Spring Break Project Coordinator, James looks forward to helping others connect with the good work that lawyers are doing in North Carolina and around the country. When not at the law school, James enjoys running around campus and hanging out with his wife, Emily.
Attorney Projects Coordinator
Sarah Colwell, 2L
Office Hours: Monday, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Sarah grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2011 with a double major in International Studies and Spanish and a minor in Women's Studies. During her undergraduate career Sarah was fortunate to be able to spend a semester at the University of Havana in Cuba.
Since coming to UNC Law, Sarah has enjoyed the experience she has gained through the Pro Bono Program and has appreciated the opportunity to combine her passion for serving others with her interest in the legal system. During the summer after her 1L year she worked in Charlotte, spending half of the summer at the International House and half with United Family Services. If you catch Sarah outside of the law school you’ll likely find her salsa dancing, cooking, traveling, or obsessing over anything Carolina.
Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs
In UNC Law's ongoing commitment to public service, Dean Boger appointed Sylvia Novinsky as the school's first Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs. Dean Novinsky has been with the School of Law since 1996, after practicing public interest law representing migrant farm workers and immigrant workers in Virginia and New York. She served as the school's first public interest career counselor and, in 2000, became the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. As Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs she combines these varied experiences to counsel, advise and support students interested in public service and public interest law, as well as continuing to foster the school's pro bono activities.
Dean Novinsky believes that as a great public law school, UNC Law's tradition of public service is deep-rooted and core to its mission. Upon graduation, approximately 20 percent of the class goes on to pursue careers in the public sector. While in school, approximately 50 percent of the student body performs pro bono service. Still, there are challenges for students and graduates who want to do public service, particularly as debt burdens at all law schools increase. Helping students identify avenues for pursuing their commitments to pro bono and public service, and supporting them while they are doing so, is crucial. Students are following in the footsteps of many great Carolina Law alumni who have gone on to serve our state and the nation, and Dean Novinsky's goal is to make sure they are supported as they incorporate the value of serving the public in their own educational pursuits and legal careers.