2013 JD/MDiv Graduate Jen Kidwell Aspires to Work for Structural Change

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Jennifer Kidwell

By Kyle Cristofalo

Congratulations to Jennifer Heald Kidwell, who graduates May 13 with a Doctor of Law/Master of Divinity joint degree. Pursuing ordination in the United Methodist Church, Kidwell was drawn to a dual degree as a way to connect her passion for ministry with her desire to work for structural change. She is particularly interested in immigration issues and sees using her law degree to help train congregations interested in partnering with local legal clinics. Kidwell credits her legal training with providing her with the tools to understand the best ways to implement strategies that effectively combat injustice. With a new found awareness for how the U.S. legal system operates, Jennifer looks forward to apply what she has learned to her work in congregational ministry.

While at Emory, Jennifer participated in the Legislative Advocacy and Public Policy clinics run by the Barton Child Law and Policy Center. During her time in the clinics she gained skills in using legislative analysis to impact state legislation, writing public policy papers, and talking with policymakers in persuasive and affirming ways. Jennifer looks forward to apply the tools she learned in the clinics and extending it beyond the realm of child welfare to include other marginalized populations.

Kidwell was twice a recipient of Emory Public Interest Committee Grants, allowing her to work for the Georgia Justice Project in the summer of 2009 and with the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services during the summer of 2011. She is particularly interested in Native American law, taking several directed studies on the subject. This spring, Kidwell will receive the Pro Bono Award, given to law students who have completed at least 75 hours of pro bono work.

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