Donya Khadem – 2017 Recipient

Major: Law
Degree: J.D.
School: University of Michigan Law School
Ghulam and Arifa Azad Family


Message to Supporters:
Thank you so much for sponsoring my ISF scholarship, which is in support of my legal education at the University of Michigan Law School. I am so humbled by your support, and endlessly thankful.

I am in my first year, but prior to starting law school, I served as a political appointee in the Obama Administration. I worked on the Administration’s progressive immigration policy agenda at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to serving in government, I worked at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) also in Washington, D.C., where my portfolio included humanitarian and removal immigration policy. This included refugee resettlement, anti-trafficking efforts, and humane detention policy efforts.
After law school, I hope to pursue a career in civil rights impact litigation, with a particular interest in issues affecting middle eastern and Muslim immigrant communities in the United States. Thank you again so much for your sponsorship, and I’m so excited to see where this journey takes me.


Bio: Donya Khadem is in her first year at the University of Michigan Law School.  At Michigan, she is on the executive board of the Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association (MILLA), the National Security Law Society, the Pro Bono Board, and a member of the Muslim Law Students Association. She currently serves as a student attorney for the Civil-Criminal Litigation Clinic, and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. Additionally, she is a peer tutor, and will serve as a Senior Judge for the 1L Legal Practice course beginning in Fall 2018. Donya will spend summer 2018 as a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Scholar at Crowell & Moring in New York City.

Prior to starting law school, Donya served as a political appointee in President Obama’s Administration, at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In addition to her role as Special Assistant to the General Counsel, Donya co-chaired her office’s participation in the Combined Federal Campaign, the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. She also served as a volunteer paralegal for the DHS volunteer lawyer team. Through the U.S. Department of Justice’s pro bono program, she assisted her team in representing indigent clients on a variety of housing and family law matters.

Before working in the executive branch, Donya worked at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where her portfolio included family, removal, and humanitarian immigration policies. During undergrad, Donya served as the immigration intern at the White House Domestic Policy Counsel, and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, where she coordinated a series of nationwide community roundtables to increase awareness around the Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

A native of Milwaukee, Donya graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an B.A. in Legal Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin Madison in May 2015. Her honors senior thesis focused on the strategic use of public information offices by state courts of last resort, and this research was supported by a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship. At the University of Wisconsin, Donya served as Co-Editor in Chief of Sifting and Winnowing: The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal of Law, Political Science and Public Policy, as well as an intake volunteer, interpreter and translator at the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Immigrant Justice Clinic, and Madison Office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender. Donya is a recipient of the On Wisconsin Society Scholarship, and the Louise Troxell Award for extraordinary undergraduate women. An alumna of the Public Leadership and Education Network, Donya is an active volunteer mentor for undergraduate women interested in careers in public service.

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