Two Villanovans Earn Prestigious Skadden Fellowships

Villanova University School of Law alumnus Jonathan Sgro ’13 and Villanova undergraduate alumna Kristen Valosky 12 were among 28 graduating law students and judicial clerks nationwide chosen as 2015 Skadden Fellows.

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University School of Law alumnus Jonathan Sgro ’13 and Villanova University alumna Kristen Valosky ’12 were among a select group of 28 graduating law students and judicial clerks nationwide chosen as 2015 Skadden Fellows. Established in 1988 by the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the prestigious two-year fellowships support young lawyers as they begin their careers in public interest, delivering legal services to underserved populations. One of the most competitive and prestigious legal fellowships in the nation, the program provides significant financial assistance to awardees as they pursue projects at their chosen public interest organizations.

Sgro graduated from Villanova Law in 2013 and presently serves as a law clerk to the Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Through his Skadden Fellowship, Sgro will work at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS), a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents. His fellowship project is designed to assist with property tax relief for individuals and families facing foreclosure and other municipal collection actions.

Valosky graduated from Villanova University in 2012 and is currently in her third year as a Public Interest Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Through her Skadden Fellowship, Valosky will implement a medical-legal partnership between SeniorLAW Center in Philadelphia and LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) programs to address the health-harming legal needs of low-income seniors in order to provide more comprehensive care.

Jonathan Sgro

Jonathan Sgro (Chester Springs, Pa.) has an extensive resume in public service. As an undergraduate student at Boston College, he worked the night shift at CASPAR Emergency Service Center, one of three shelters in Massachusetts that accepts homeless people who are actively battling alcohol and drug addiction. After earning his Bachelor’s degree, Sgro spent three years as a case manager at Horizon House Homeless Services in Philadelphia.

Sgro went on to attend Villanova University School of Law as a Villanova Public Interest Scholar, where he graduated at the top of his class in 2013. He currently serves as a law clerk to the Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

"I am truly honored to be Villanova Law's first Skadden Fellow. I am excited to represent low-income and elderly Philadelphians facing municipal property tax foreclosures. I can think of no better sponsor than the Skadden Foundation and no better organization than Community Legal Services to assist in this worthy work,” said Sgro. “Villanova Law afforded me many opportunities to gain practical experience in public interest lawyering and I am grateful for the school's supportive public interest community."

During his time at Villanova Law, Sgro was actively engaged in public interest opportunities—participating in the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic, serving as Co-Director of the Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program, volunteering at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and holding externships at the Homeless Advocacy Project, the Defender Association of Philadelphia and CLS. Sgro was a 2011 Equal Justice America Summer Fellowship recipient and the winner of the 2013 Arthur J. Kania Prize in Professional Ethics, awarded by the Villanova Law faculty to the student who best demonstrates a commitment to professional ethics and integrity.  Sgro also served as a managing editor of the Villanova Law Review.

Kristen Valosky

Kristen Valosky (Media, Pa.) graduated Summa Cum Laude from Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2012, with dual bachelor’s degrees in sociology and Honors. She was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Valosky is currently in her third year at Georgetown University Law Center, from which she will graduate in May 2015.

"I am so grateful to Skadden for the opportunity to pursue this project that will provide a more integrated and comprehensive approach to supporting nursing home eligible seniors in maintaining their independence and enhancing their quality of life,” Valosky said. “The SeniorLAW Center has protected the rights of Philadelphia seniors for over 35 years and I could not be more excited to work with and learn from a group of such passionate advocates. Villanova gave me a strong foundation in issues of poverty and social justice, as well as the desire to dedicate my life to serving others. Having the chance to start doing so through this fellowship means everything.”

Valosky’s commitment to public interest began while at Villanova, where she worked with numerous service organizations and was instrumental in creating a partnership between LIFT Philadelphia and the University. She also conducted academic research on homelessness and was selected to present her research, “The Criminalization of Homelessness in Chester PA,” at the 2012 National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Ogden, Utah. Valosky was named a recipient of Villanova’s Thomas J. Mentzer Award, which honors a graduating senior who contributed significantly through service to expand opportunities for the poor and marginalized.

This commitment led Valosky to pursue Public Interest Law at Georgetown University Law Center. During her time at Georgetown Law, she has been actively involved with numerous public interest organizations assisting underserved populations. Valosky has held externships at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, Community Legal Services’ Public Benefits Unit, Legal Aid Society of DC, and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, among others. This spring, she will participate in the Community Justice Project Clinic representing low income clients. Valosky is also a staff editor of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy.

For more information on the Skadden Fellowship, click here.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.