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UI student named congressional fellow

Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor
(217) 333-2894;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Margaret Brooks LaRaviere of Chicago, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, will be working on Capitol Hill this academic year instead of on campus.

LaRaviere, a student in the UI’s School of Social Work, was recently named one of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Congressional Fellows.

As a fellow, she will work as a congressional staff member, assisting in the development of legislative and public policy initiatives, doing research and analysis, responding to constituent mail, and other responsibilities. During the congressional recess, she also will work in a federal agency or public policy institute.

The program includes opportunities to meet regularly with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other congressional and governmental leaders. Participants also have a chance to learn more about issues and policies through a series of seminars and forums, and have access to resources for professional development.

According to Jill Doner Kagle, dean of the School of Social Work, LaRaviere already was a "woman of distinction" when she entered the school’s doctoral program. She had earned a bachelor’s degree from the UI, a law degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and led a successful career as an attorney in Cook County’s Office of the Public Guardian.

During her two years as a graduate student, LaRaviere took on several responsibilities in addition to her studies, Kagle noted. "In all her work, she demonstrates a high level of insight, intelligence and imagination."

Among those responsibilities, LaRaviere served as legal coordinator for a community initiative to improve services for children and families, developing seminars and programs that brought together attorneys, judges, child-welfare professionals and other members of the community. She also assisted an Illinois legislator in the formulation of "second-chance" legislation, designed to aid non-violent ex-offenders.

The Fellows Program runs from Sept. 5, 2001, through May 10, 2002.