Melbourne JD student awarded Chief Justices Medal

Melbourne Law School Juris Doctor student Kate Fitzgerald was today awarded the 2015 Chief Justice's Medal for Excellence and Community Service.

Administered by Victoria Law Foundation on behalf of the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC, the medal is awarded annually to one graduating Victorian law student who has demonstrated academic excellence in their legal studies and a commitment to community service.

"In addition to her impressive academic results, Kate's commitment to community service is outstanding," Victoria Law Foundation's Executive Director Joh Kirby said.

"Kate has shown impressive initiative and an unwavering dedication to overcoming social disadvantage within the community."

Kate began her volunteer work six years ago as a tutor in the Homework Club at the Flemington public housing flats.

After witnessing the social disadvantage faced by girls in the flats, Kate, together with a fellow student, designed and delivered a program called SheCanCreate, which was targeted specifically for girls from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

Developed in consultation with the local community, the program ran in 2012 and again in 2013, after Kate and her colleague secured several rounds of competitive grants funding.

Melbourne Law School Dean Professor Carolyn Evans said the award was deserved acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication Kate had put in throughout her JD program.

"This achievement is wonderful recognition for Kate and a reflection of her commitment to ensuring those from disadvantaged backgrounds are given opportunities to succeed. She is a role model for other Melbourne Law School students and alumni," Professor Evans said.

In addition to running SheCanCreate and completing her law studies at MLS, Kate has also volunteered extensively with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, the Jesuit Refugee Services in Cambodia and the Africa Middle East Refugees Assistance organisation in Cairo.

Kate recently accepted a graduate position in Bangkok to work with the Australia–Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

For further information about the Chief Justice's Medal, visit Andy Walsh