Meet 4 Students Honored with Top Scholarship in Class of 2017

From left, Jessica Douglas, Danielle Desaulniers, Jonathan Bubar and Austin Clarke are among this year's recipients of Dillard Scholarships.

August 28, 2014

First-year University of Virginia School of Law students Jonathan Bubar, Austin Clarke, Danielle Desaulniers and Jessica Douglas are among this year's recipients of the prestigious Hardy Cross Dillard Scholarships, which offer full tuition to a select group of outstanding UVA Law applicants.

In total, there are 26 Dillard Scholars in the Class of 2017. The scholarships, named after the Law School's fifth dean, are the school's premier awards program and serve as a recruiting tool for students who demonstrate the potential for extraordinary leadership.

"UVA Law is a very special place that offers the very best of educational and professional opportunities, and also a real community," said Leslie Kendrick, who chairs the Dillard Scholarship Committee and also attended the Law School as a Dillard Scholar. "We want to make sure that students who could go anywhere decide to come here and become part of our community."


Jonathan Bubar

Hometown: Stamford, Connecticut

Education: B.A. in history and political science from Columbia University.

Notable work experienceAfter graduating I worked for two years for REACH Prep, a nonprofit organization that empowers underserved students by facilitating access to independent schools with the ultimate goal of college completion. I served as a counselor, advocate, teacher, tutor, data manager and opportunities coordinator for the organization.

Why law? I enjoy identifying the critical issue(s) in a messy conflict or controversy. Law gives me an opportunity to formally participate in the undertaking of creating simplicity from complexity. Additionally, I've always been keenly concerned with the importance of verbal precision.

Why Virginia Law? The staff and faculty of Virginia Law demonstrate a unique and genuine concern for their students. I knew that the atmosphere of cordiality and collegiality of the Virginia Law community would enrich my experience.

What would you like to do with your UVA Law degree? I'm interested in pursuing a career as a tax attorney.


Austin Clarke

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

Education: B.A. in political science, Yale University.

Notable work experience: During one summer of college, I interned at the Southern African Media and Gender Institute in Cape Town, where I worked on their submission to a parliamentary bill. I also spent a summer working at an NGO in India that advocated for and treated indigent people with HIV/AIDS. In 2012, I was a field organizer for President Obama's re-election campaign in Colorado. Those experiences encouraged my interests in civil rights and social justice and motivated me to attend law school.

Why law? Law is directly connected to a lot of the civil rights and public policy issues I'm most interested in. I think learning the law will be helpful if I want to work in those areas in the future. I also like that lawyers can do intellectually stimulating work while making a tangible impact on their clients' lives.

Why UVA Law? I appreciate the emphasis on community at UVA Law. When I visited, I felt like I could have a really positive and collaborative law school experience here.

What would you like to do with your law degree? I've heard that being a law student changes a person's ideas about the type of law they'd like to practice, so I'm trying to be as open-minded as I can. But right now, I think I'd like to use the degree as tool to do civil rights advocacy or policy-making.


Danielle Desaulniers

Hometown: Clinton, New Jersey

Education: B.A. in political science and history from The George Washington University

Notable work experience: After graduation, I worked as a consultant for Deloitte's federal Strategy and Operations practice. Over the past three years, I've been involved in a number of projects, ranging from developing organizational structures and goals for the chief of the National Guard Bureau to creating and executing risk assessment methodologies for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Why law? When my former colleagues in consulting found out that I was leaving for law school, they joked that I was moving to an industry where clients actually listen to the advice they are paying for. Jokes aside, the study of law offers both a unique intellectual challenge and an opportunity to impact practical change. I believe that learning how our society defines and exercises "justice" and helping others work within that system will be an incredibly complex and rewarding endeavor. 

Why UVA Law? Every UVA student will tell you this, but I truly believe this is the most welcoming environment any law student could ask for. On top of that, the Law School boasts top-notch professors, incredibly helpful staff, and an extensive and accessible alumni network. I am very privileged to have the opportunity to learn from, and with, this amazing community.

What would you like to do with your law degree? As a consultant, I loved working with the federal government, particularly on projects where I supported those responsible for executing their agency's mission. The idea of working in support of those missions from the government side is very appealing. But I'm definitely keeping an open mind. (Given that I'm completing this survey on the first day of my 1L year, it's hard to know exactly what the next few months might have in store!) 


Jessica Douglas

Hometown: Mitchellville, Maryland

Education: B.S. in business administration and M.B.A from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.

Notable work experience: I completed four summer internships with the Central Intelligence Agency, two in Human Resources and two in Finance. After graduation, I spent a year at the U.S. State Department, where I worked in Finance. This past summer, I was a Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) law intern at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton in Washington, D.C. 

Why law? I chose to study law because I know that it will put me on a career path in which I will be challenged to answer some of the most interesting and enduring questions of our time. I see law as the way that I can have the greatest impact on the world around me.

Why UVA Law? The people at UVA were the biggest draw for me. The faculty, staff and alumni I've had the pleasure to meet and my fellow classmates are some of the most brilliant, caring and cordial people that I know. They are a resource at UVA Law that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

What would you like to do with your law degree? After graduation, I'd like to work in antitrust at a large firm or in national security for the U.S. government. Either of these career paths will build upon my previous classroom and work experiences. I am also very interested in civil rights work. Before I retire, I would like to be a professor. But at this point in time, I am very much open to other possibilities.


Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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