2017 Ritter Scholars Named

Distinguished Students Recognized for Honor, Character, Integrity
Phoebe Willis, Scott Shermetaro, Kirsten Jackson and Jeremy Bennie

Phoebe Willis, Scott Shermetaro, Kirsten Jackson and Jeremy Bennie are the 2017 Ritter Scholars.

September 20, 2017

The University of Virginia School of Law has named four students as 2017-18 Ritter Scholars: Jeremy Bennie, Kirsten Jackson, Scott A. Shermetaro and Phoebe Willis.

Each year, the Mary Claiborne and Roy H. Ritter Prizes recognize third-years who best exemplify the qualities of honor, character and integrity envisioned by Thomas Jefferson when he founded the University of Virginia. The honorees — selected based on nominations from students, faculty, staff and alumni — receive a tuition award.

This year’s students have diverse résumés that demonstrate service and involvements both at the Law School and beyond its doors.

Jeremy Bennie has served as co-president of the Program in Law and Public Service, a Dillard Fellow (legal research and writing teaching assistant), president of the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition and executive editor of the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law. He has worked as a law clerk for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Office of the Public Defender and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Kirsten Jackson has served as the social action chair of the Black Law Students Association, a Spanish translator for the Migrant Farmworker Project and on the editorial board of the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law. She has volunteered pro bono for the Legal Resources Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, and with the indigenous people of Panama and Colombia to help improve their waste management and disposal systems.

Scott A. Shermetaro has served as president of the Lambda Law Alliance, as a fellow in the Tri-Sector Leadership Program, as a Peer Advisor for the Class of 2019 and the Class of 2020, on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review and as a volunteer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. He is also a registered patent agent for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Phoebe Willis is a J.D.-MBA candidate who has served as chair of the UVA Honor Audit Commission, as a student member of the Board of Visitors, as a portfolio manager of the capital management fund of the Darden School of Business and as a student member of the UVA search committee that will select UVA’s ninth president. She won the Honor 150 Award for her contributions to the Honor System. The former varsity member of the UVA field hockey team is a Teach For America alumna.

“Ritter Scholars are chosen because of their commitment to honor character and integrity within our community at the Law School,” said Kate Duvall, director of student affairs. “These students exemplify those qualities. We’re delighted their contributions to our community could be recognized in this way.”

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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