Six University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students and alums earned their concurrent degrees through the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health in December.
Second-year student Aisosa Osaretin joined Corinne Kwapis (’20), Damien Powell (’20), and Jerome Wilson (’20) in earning their concurrent law degrees. The concurrent degree partnership between the Clinton School and Bowen Law is the only one of its kind in the nation, allowing students to earn their Master of Public Service and Juris Doctor while earning cross-credit for specified courses.
The intersection of public service and legal services takes place in government agencies at all levels, impacting educational and public international organizations, private public interest law firms, and private law firms performing pro bono work, among others.
Each of the students’ respective Capstone projects – the Clinton School’s third and final field service project – challenged them to put their concurrent degree skills into action.
Osaretin’s Capstone project, "Relevance of the Law in the COVID-19 Pandemic," serves as a report on her experience working at the Arkansas Department of Health, focusing on how laws intertwine with Arkansas' response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the ADH. Kwapis completed her Capstone project with the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office, where she also clerked in the summer and fall of 2020. Powell’s Capstone work was with the Consumer Protection Policy Clinic at Bowen Law where he represented three clients and reflected on how his experience related to public service. Wilson completed an analysis of the role of the prosecutor in the American legal system, showing that prosecutors are public servants as their goal is to remedy harms committed against society and its citizens.
Katie Clark (’20) and Robert Morris (’20) earned concurrent Master of Public Health degrees. The concurrent program with the Clinton School and College of Public Health allows students to apply public health science to a broad range of issues that affect the health and wellness of individuals, communities, and populations locally and globally. MPS-MPH students combine public service theory and skills with public health research and practice to develop sustainable solutions for positive social change.
Clark dedicated her Capstone project to research focused on the racial disparities between Black and white women during their prenatal experiences, finding that Black women experience difficulty accessing prenatal care due to lack of income and insurance coverage and often receive inadequate care. Morris’ Capstone project developed health resources with Harmony Health Clinic, a Little Rock nonprofit that seeks to provide access to quality health care at no cost to patients, to keep underserved Arkansans throughout the pandemic.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.