Law student named 2015 Patsy T. Mink Fellow

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Apr 27, 2015

Linnea Schuster
Linnea Schuster

William S. Richardson School of Law student Linnea Schuster '17 has been named the 2015 Patsy T. Mink Fellow and will spend the summer working in the office of U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard in Washington, D.C.

Schuster, 25, has had several years of experience working for members of the Hawai‘i State Legislature, and she hopes her time in Washington will give her a  broader perspective.  "I see this as an opportunity to get to know the federal political system a whole lot better,” said Schuster, “in addition to supplementing what I’m learning in class since we discuss both state and federal law.”

A ceremony honoring Patsy T. Mink and her legacy will take place on Wednesday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. in the Moot Court Room at the UH Richardson Law School.  The keynote address will be made by former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa '77, with additional remarks by Schuster and last year’s Patsy Mink Fellow, Diana Kim '16.

This is the 13th anniversary of the landmark fellowship launched by UH law students in 2002, the year of Mink’s death, to honor her legacy and provide an extraordinary educational experience for a Hawai‘i law student before graduation.

One of Mink’s crowning achievements in her 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives was passage of Title IX, a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, that provided equal access to opportunities in education for women.

Mink was always a powerful force for gender and racial equality, partly fueled by the discrimination she suffered as a young professional woman. “I can’t change the past, but I can certainly help somebody else in the future so they don’t have to go through what I did," said Mink.

Noted Law School Dean Avi Soifer, “The Patsy Mink Fellowship is a marvelous example of sustained law student initiative that benefits our students as well as the larger community.”

Schuster, who graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, with a bachelor’s degree in English, will spend two months in Washington, D.C., beginning June 1. The Fellowship includes a $5,000 stipend to cover expenses.

Over the years Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegates have participated in the fellowship, taking turns including students in their offices and cultivating high quality legal research and writing skills.

As a result, the Fellowship has helped chart the careers of many past recipients and provides a unique experience to participate in leadership at the national level. Awardees are encouraged to research areas in which they are interested.

Schuster hopes to weigh in on the current debate over removing industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act so it can be grown nationwide as a crop. “Industrial hemp is distinct from marijuana because of its insignificant levels of THC, the ‘active ingredient’ in marijuana,” she said. “There’s a bipartisan effort to have industrial hemp removed from the Controlled Substances Act because of its many uses, including phyto-remediation, building materials and more.”

Schuster, a Kaimuki resident, is the daughter of a civil engineer and a technical math teacher. She shared, “The only lawyer in our entire family was my great-grandfather. He spent one semester at USC Law and then passed the Bar. But there were fewer laws to learn then!”

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