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Gwen Handelman

“There is no question that being selected for and serving as an editor of the Michigan Law Review dramatically altered the trajectory of my career, offering me the credibility and platforms to advocate for systemic solutions to economic inequality and social justice."

Gwen T. Handelman graduated from LSA in 1968 and worked as a community organizer in Ann Arbor. She grew frustrated with the limitations of addressing issues of poverty and economic justice on the local level and decided to get a law degree to enable her to influence social policy on the federal level. She shares she was, “thrilled to be admitted to Michigan Law in 1978.”

As the spring 1979 semester was coming to a close, the student loan Gwen lived on was dwindling. She had budgeted to have enough left to cover her expenses as long as she could start working at her summer job in Chicago right after finals. However, she wanted to stay in Ann Arbor for a few more weeks to participate in the writing competition for the Michigan Law Review because she had no way of knowing if her grades would be good enough to be selected on that basis.

A CEW+ emergency grant allowed Gwen to cover her expenses until she got to Chicago. Two months later, she got the call informing her that she had “made Law Review.” The CEW+ counselor who helped Gwen secure her emergency grant appreciated the significance of making it possible for her to compete for a position on the Law Review demonstrating not only generosity but insight. “There is no question that being selected for and serving as an editor of the Michigan Law Review dramatically altered the trajectory of my career, offering me the credibility and platforms to advocate for systemic solutions to economic inequality and social justice. Although addressing these issues on the national level has had its own frustrations, I continue to think this is where solutions ultimately must come and so where my voice needs to be directed,” Gwen explained.

If you have a story of how a CEW+ emergency grant, counseling session, or program impacted your life please consider sharing it via our share your story submission form. If you would like to help CEW+ help current students who need to be seen and heard so that they too can finish their U-M degrees and reach their full potential, please contact Alicia Marting at 734-625-8257 or amarting@umich.edu.