Arianna Cook-Thajudeen and William Tronsor, two members of Notre Dame Law School’s Class of 2018, are this year’s Bank of America Foundation Fellows.
The fellowship covers the cost of salary and benefits for two Notre Dame Law graduates to work for two years at a city agency or nonprofit organization of their choice. The fellows’ work must advance community sustainability, and fellows must provide legal services to low-income or other underrepresented populations.
Through the Bank of America Foundation Fellowship, fellows create their dream jobs. They select the organizations where they want to work and design the projects they will complete at those organizations.
Cook-Thajudeen will be a Bank of America Foundation Fellow at the National Housing Law Project in San Francisco. Tronsor’s fellowship will take him to Disability Rights New York in Albany.
Both students said the fellowship is enabling them to do the type of public interest work that inspired them to pursue a legal career.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Cook-Thajudeen said. “The National Housing Law Project has been advocating for housing rights for over 50 years. And I am thrilled to continue that tradition.”
Tronsor said, “I chose to go to Notre Dame Law School because I wanted to join a service-based community. I always knew I wanted to use my legal education to support those most in need of an advocate.”
Cook-Thajudeen’s project will combat a climate of fear and facilitate immigrant communities’ access to affordable housing through litigation, education, and advocacy.
“I actually didn’t plan on going to Notre Dame, but I am glad I did,” Cook-Thajudeen said. “Notre Dame Law School and the Bank of America Foundation Fellowship played a big role in helping me become a public interest attorney. I probably would not have become a public interest attorney if I had gone somewhere else.”
Cook-Thajudeen earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Vassar College. While at Notre Dame, Cook-Thajudeen pursued many public interest opportunities, including the Appalachia Externship and an externship with Indiana Legal Services. She served as the first Center for Civil & Human Rights Fellow last summer, working as a summer intern at the National Housing Law Project.
Through his project, Tronsor will provide information and legal representation to Native American students with disabilities.
“One group that is truly in need of advocates is Native American students with disabilities in New York, who are not being provided with the supports and services they need to receive a quality education,” Tronsor said. “I am extremely grateful that the Bank of America Fellowship is giving me the opportunity to begin my legal career at Disability Rights New York, providing legal representation, information, and support to those who really need it.”
Tronsor earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, New York. While at Notre Dame, he has also been active in pursuing public interest opportunities, including interning at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission his 1L summer, interning at the National Labor Relations Board his 2L summer, and serving as vice president of Notre Dame’s ACLU Club.
Cook-Thajudeen and Tronsor are in the fourth class of Bank of America Foundation Fellows.
The fellowship launched at Notre Dame Law School in 2015. Past fellows from the Class of 2015 and Class of 2016 have completed projects in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. Current fellows are completing their fellowships in Detroit and Chicago.