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For the Greater Good

J. Zoë Beckerman has heard it too many times. Law students with good intentions apply for summer jobs at public interest organizations. But when they find the organization cannot pay a stipend, they are forced to look elsewhere.

When Beckerman, JD ’05, graduate certificate in health policy ’05, learned about an opportunity to help ensure they could be paid, she jumped at the chance to get involved. She helped lead alumni fundraising for the Hirsh Awards in Public Interest Health Law and Policy. The awards were funded by alumni and friends to pay students for summer placements at organizations that undertake health law and policy projects focused on low-income, medically underserved, or vulnerable populations. “These awards provide an opportunity for students, who otherwise could not afford it, to work with organizations providing important assistance for people who need it most,” Beckerman says.

Beckerman came to GW Law School with a master’s degree in public health and nearly a decade of experience in Washington. She had served as a Presidential Management Intern for the National Institutes of Health and for the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Public Health and Safety, and she had worked as a senior policy analyst at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Beckerman’s experience helps fuel her commitment to ensuring all students have a chance to follow their passions and give back to their communities.

Beckerman was drawn to GW because of the reputation of the Law School, the University’s location, and the opportunity to study with Sara Rosenbaum, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at GW’s School of Public Health and Health Services. The Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program and the school helped place Beckerman at the D.C. firm of Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP, where she practices law for nonprofit clients receiving federal grants.

It excites Beckerman to see how far the School of Public Health and Health Services has come in such a short amount of time; the school is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Nov. 5. “GW’s School of Public Health and Health Services has excelled in its decade of existence and is just ready to pop. It’s rapidly becoming the best school of public health in the country, bar none,” Beckerman asserts.

The proud alumna also supports the University through the Annual Fund and her service as a Recent Alumni Trustee. In 2006, Beckerman was elected to a four-year term as a trustee after receiving nomination support from both the Law School and SPHHS.

“I love learning from my colleagues on the Board, as well as providing input as both a recent student and as someone who works day-to-day with nonprofits,” Beckerman says. “I would not be where I am today without my GW experience, and that is why I choose to give back to the University both as a member of GW’s Board of Trustees.”