The Pro Bono Council at Campbell Law School was informally started by two students in 2009 and subsequently became a formalized group in the fall of 2010. The Pro Bono Council has grown to 10 student members who are selected as part of a competitive application process each year.
The following members have been selected to serve on the Pro Bono Council for 2015-16:
Devon Karst, Director Close ▲
Devon Karst grew up in the quaint town of Clayton, NC. After falling in love with the mountains of Boone, she decided to attend Appalachian State University where she studied Psychology. While interning in college for the National Council for Adoption in Washington, D.C., she learned of the legal difficulties families face when adopting children. This inspired her vision to make a difference in the field of adoption law, and led her to make the conscious decision to go to law school. Upon graduating from ASU, Devon traveled to Uganda and worked in schools and orphanages where she spent time with children who had been abused and neglected. While she developed a bond with those children, she knew there were children in the United States facing the same kind of adversity. Developing an interest in combating the various legal struggles children and their families face, she was excited to serve last year as the Co-Coordinator of the Child Permanency Appeals Project, and began working on other ideas for child custody pro bono opportunities. She is eager to serve as the Pro Bono Council Director this year as she serves as the SBA President and continues to work for Campbell Law’s Juvenile Justice Project.
Meredith Mercer, Assistant Director
Meredith moved to Raleigh from Asheville, NC, where she graduated from Mars Hill University. Meredith has been passionate about volunteering and the legal system since she became a volunteer for Teen Court at the age of twelve. Since then, she has dedicated countless hours to Teen Court programs across the state. She developed a passion for working with juveniles in the court system and helping them find ways to give back to their community. During her time at Campbell Law, Meredith had the opportunity to work as an intern at the Legal Aid of North Carolina Helpline, where she further developed her passion for helping others. Through these experiences, Meredith has realized how important and life changing pro bono legal services can be to low-income families, and has made a conscious effort to maintain a strong commitment to pro bono service. Meredith currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Pro Bono Council and Project Coordinator for the Capital Area Teen Court Project at Campbell Law.
Travis Albea is a rising third year student at Campbell Law School. He was born and raised in Greenville, N.C. After graduating high school, Travis left Greenville to attend Chowan University, located in Murfreesboro, N.C., to follow his dream of playing college soccer. He graduated from Chowan University with a B.S. in History, concentrating in Pre-Law. Travis has been passionate about volunteering since he traveled to Mexico to build houses for low-income families at the age of 13. While in high school, Travis also traveled to Biloxi, MS to help clean up areas that were left demolished from Hurricane Katrina. While at Chowan University, Travis helped establish a reading program for kindergarten students in a nearby elementary school. For the last six years Travis has organized and hosted an annual fundraiser in Greenville, aimed at collecting toys for Toys-for-Tots and funds for a local scholarship. As a law student he has participated in a number of Campbell Law pro bono projects. Travis will serve as the Re-Entry Project Coordinator for the 2015-16 school year and looks forward to serving on the Pro Bono Council.
Amanda Brookie grew up in Cary, NC, and has lived in Raleigh since she began college at North Carolina State University. She graduated with a B.S. in Fashion and Textile Management with a concentration in Brand Management and Marketing and a minor in English. Amanda’s passion for service began in high school when she had the opportunity to participate in several Appalachian Service Project trips where she traveled to rural areas of Central Appalachia to repair homes for low-income families. Those experiences led her to take her passion for service abroad. While attending North Carolina State University she was able to travel to the Dominican Republic through the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service. She volunteered through the Outreach 360 program and taught English at elementary schools and learning centers in low-income areas, with the hopes of inspiring children to pursue degrees at universities or obtain employment after graduation. While at Campbell Law, Amanda has been able to utilize her legal skills to give back to the Triangle area and beyond by participating in several pro bono projects, such as the Wills/Advance Directives Project and the Campbell Law Innocence Project. After studying domestic violence in her family law course last semester, Amanda was inspired to use her knowledge to help domestic violence victims in her local community, and to help encourage and lead other law students to do the same. She will serve as the Project Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project for the 2015-16 school year.
Andrew Deschler was born in Winston-Salem, NC and grew up in rural Pfafftown, NC. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor's in History and a Minor in Philosophy. From a very young age, Andrew credits his parents for getting him involved in community activities to help people. He was part of the Boy Scouts of America and the Indian Guides (Now Adventure Guides) through the YMCA. He also traveled to assisted living homes with his two dogs as part of Critter Cuddlers for seniors to have pets visit and play with them. Before moving to Raleigh for law school, Andrew became involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh by participating in the Raleigh Olympics, and now he is on the committee that helps plan and recruit for the annual event. Andrew chose Campbell Law because of the school’s success in developing North Carolina lawyers with a commitment to public service. North Carolina is where he wants to live and practice law, and he especially loves the Raleigh area. “I want use my profession to help the community any way I can. I hope that I can make pro bono work a large part of my career, and I am very excited about the opportunity the Pro Bono Council will give me in order to begin my career of service.”
Aracely Lopez is from Dallas, Texas. In 2011 she graduated from Wichita State University with a B.A. in Business Administration. Having grown up working for her father’s growing business, she realized the importance of being able to navigate the legal system and comply with the many applicable governmental regulations. Aracely contributed to the workforce for two years before she had the opportunity to join the Campbell Law family. While at Campbell Law, Aracely took advantage of the externship program to spend a semester working at Legal Aid on the Battered Immigrants Project. Her time there fortified her desire to continue to help indigent individuals who often times aren’t aware of the programs available to help. Before becoming a Pro Bono Council member, Aracely participated in the Reentry Project and witnessed first-hand the tremendous impact the Project had on clients facing barriers because of a criminal record. It is for these reasons that she is proud to be a member of the Pro Bono Council.
Cecilia Reyna was born in Alice, Texas. After attending the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, Texas, Cecilia chose to follow a childhood dream of serving in the military. She enlisted in the United States Army as a Combat Medic/Healthcare Specialist. Cecilia served five years of active duty stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and completed a one-year deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. Following the birth of her daughter, Olivia, Cecilia honorably discharged from the military and returned to college where she obtained a Political Science degree from the University of North Carolina - Pembroke. During her undergraduate studies, Cecilia served on the board for the Hoke County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center where she was inspired to pursue a legal career that would allow her to further advocate for those in need. At Campbell Law, Cecilia was introduced to the work of the Pro Bono Council by volunteering for the Wills/Advance Directives Project where she was inspired to become a member of a group of like-minded advocates providing legal assistance where most needed in the community.
Jared Simmons grew up in Wilmington, NC. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated in 2012 with BA degrees in History and Peace, War & Defense. After graduation, he worked for UNC and chaired a local town board focusing on improving pedestrian access and alternative transportation in Orange County. He had the opportunity to intern for The Honorable Melinda H. Crouch for the 5th Judicial District Court in Wilmington, NC, this past summer. Working and observing family court, DSS court and juvenile court has led him to appreciate working with children and families to resolve disputes in the best interests of the child. While serving on the Pro Bono Council, he hopes to further his passion in this area of the law.
Emily Anne Smith
Emily Anne Smith grew up in the small town of Midland, NC. After graduating high school at sixteen, she decided to broaden her horizons in the place she loved most growing up, the mountains. She attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, earning degrees in both Psychology and Theatre Arts. While at ASU, Emily volunteered for many organizations, including the Special Olympics of Watauga County and Ensemble Stage’s children’s theatre. Upon graduating in December of 2012, she enrolled in a Substance Abuse Counselor program at East Carolina University, but decided that was not for her. Instead, she turned her gaze to law school and has never looked back. Currently, Emily is looking into the fields of immigration and family law and hopes to use her joy of helping other to benefit the community and to help bring the Pro Bono Council to new heights.
Melissa Woodard was born and raised in Manteo, NC, on the Outer Banks. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from NC State University. She then attended the police academy and served as an NC State University Police Officer from January 2010 until May 2012. Before starting law school at Campbell Law, Melissa worked with two Raleigh attorneys as a legal assistant. She is passionate about working in the legal field and serving others. Melissa sees her ability to obtain a law degree as a gift that she should share by helping as many people in need as possible. She believes pro bono work should be an important part of her career as an attorney and looks forward to promoting pro bono service to her fellow students at the law school. Melissa will be serving her second year on the Pro Bono Council.