Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Bar Awards Reception

April English ’00

The 31st Annual Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Bar Awards Reception will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, from 4:00 to 5:15 PM in 250 Dockser Hall. The awardees are selected by the Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors based on an application process.

Keynote Speaker:
April English ’00
Chief Secretary to Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey ’98

>> Register online


Congratulations to the 2024 Denise Carty-Bennia Bar Memorial Award Winners:

Darion Alexander ’24*
Lacey Allen ’24
Meiriely Amaral ’24*
Jessica Andrade ’24
Christopher Darling ’24
Chelsea Diaz ’24*
Nora Doherty ’24*
Tiba Fatli ’24
Maria Amanda Flores ’24*
Michelle Fujii ’24
Asmaa Hamdan ’24
Kayli Jones ’24
Grace Kang ’24
Melissa Niles ’24
Amerique Phillips ’24
Alida Pitcher-Murray ’24
Cecile Tchoujan ’24
Nina Thacker ’24*
Tiffany Wang ’24
Lauren Yamaguchi ’24

Thanks to our generous donors, 20 students were selected to win this award.
* Six of the 20 students were selected for additional funds in recognition of their outstanding work in communities of color — their essays will be read at the reception.

Professor Denise Carty-Bennia was a highly successful attorney and tireless educator, advisor, mentor and friend to countless Northeastern law students. She was dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence and the expansion of opportunities for people of color. Professor Carty-Bennia’s untimely death in 1990 created a void for many who knew her and her work.

Each year, as the applications for this award are reviewed, it is inspiring to see that so many Northeastern law students are dedicated to improving the social and political issues that affect our communities as she did. Professor Carty-Bennia’s legacy survives in the memories of those who knew and worked with her and lives on in those who choose to pursue a similar dream.

If you would like to support this important cause, please visit:

>>Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Fund


  • The 30th Annual Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Bar Awards Reception was held on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, from 4:00 to 5:15 PM at Northeastern University of Law

    Congratulations to the 2023 Denise Carty-Bennia Bar Memorial Award Winners:
    Princess Diaz-Birca
    Merafe Gedewon
    Javier Gerardo
    Maya Marie Hill
    Sree Kotipalli
    Grace Mamo
    Robert Mogollon
    Ruchi Ramamurthy
    Sarah Ratsimbazafy
    Tanvi Verma

    Keynote Speaker

    Dr. Deborah A. Jackson

    Dr. Deborah A. Jackson is managing director of Northeastern Law’s Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR). CLEAR brings together the school’s pioneering programs and faculty — long engaged in theoretical and translational research, innovative pedagogy and collaborations with external communities — to address today’s challenges and provide tomorrow’s solutions for the nation’s most complex social challenges.

    Prior to joining the Northeastern community in 2022, Jackson served for eight years as the Mayor of Lithonia, Georgia, from 2012 to 2020. She previously served as city attorney and later as a council member. She was also active in the environmental justice effort to stop the building of a biomass gasification plant in the area and served as an advisor to Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) prior to becoming mayor. She was named in the 2014 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta Section on Environmental and Sustainability. During her tenure as mayor, she established a variety of partnerships to produce results for the community, including converting a dilapidated strip mall to a $12 million 75-unit housing project; renovating a foreclosed property for use as City Hall; establishing the Lithonia Farmers Market to address the issue of food insecurity in the area; completing an award-winning housing inventory with the Atlanta Regional Commission; and preparing a concept plan for the redevelopment of the historic African American Community corridor known as Bruce Street.

    Jackson’s leadership as an elected official resulted in her appointment to a variety of boards and councils, including the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and its Subcommittee on Poverty. Jackson served as president of the DeKalb Municipal Association, representing the cities within DeKalb County; and is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and the ARC’s Regional Leadership Institute.

    After serving two full terms as mayor, Jackson decided to use her experience and skills and become a candidate for the US Senate in the Georgia November 2020 special election. She finished in second place among the Democratic candidates and placed fourth in a field of 22 candidates, garnering more than 300,000 votes state-wide.

    In addition to service as an elected official, Jackson has over 30 years of experience as an attorney. Her areas of practice include municipal and community development law. She has practiced law in Georgia, New York, New Jersey and Mississippi. Her community activities include the National Council of Negro Women-DeKalb section (Chair, Political Empowerment/Voter Registration Committee), NAACP DeKalb branch (member of Political Action Committee), and Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA). She is the founding president of DeKalb Lawyers Association Community and Education Fund, a 501 (c)(3) organization supporting the DeKalb Lawyers Association, and the CrossRoadsNews Foundation, which provides scholarships to DeKalb County high school students pursuing a degree in the field of communications. Jackson is also a member of the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance board, which is responsible for the management of 2,550 acres of a nature preserve and 30 miles of walking and biking trails. Jackson’s other experiences in the nonprofit sector, include serving as national director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

    Jackson holds an MA and a PhD in public policy and community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University; a JD from Rutgers The State University of New Jersey-School of Law; an MA in political science and international affairs from Rutgers The State University of New Jersey-Graduate School; and an AB in history from Princeton University, with certificates in both African American and Latin American studies.

  • The 29th Annual Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Bar Awards Reception was held on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the moot court room. All students, their families, the Alumni/ae Board, and faculty and staff of the Law School were invited to attend.

    >> View photos

    Congratulations to the 2022 Denise Carty-Bennia Bar Memorial Award Winners:
    Antonio Coronado ’22
    Nicholas Nava ’22
    Danae Rosario ’22
    Bavani Sridhar ’22
    Mahathi Vemireddy ’22
    Simone Yhap ’22

    Keynote Speaker
    The Reverend Willie Bodrick II ’20
    Senior Pastor, Historic Twelfth Baptist Church

    The Reverend Willie Bodrick II ’20 is the senior pastor of the Historic Twelfth Baptist Church (TBC) in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Bodrick leads with dynamic preaching, insightful teaching and gospel-driven social engagement in the community and throughout the country. He is the fourteenth senior pastor of the church which recently celebrated 182 years as a congregation and 217 years since the founding of its mother church the African Meeting House.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bodrick and TBC led vaccine education efforts, donated more than $375,000 to community members and organizations, and partnered with Boston Medical Center to establish the TBC Vaccination Clinic which vaccinated over 2,435 people. TBC also feed over 15,000 residents last year through the Food Pantry and special programming, as well as supporting an orphanage in Rotan, Honduras, and a school in Liberia which provided food and resources for clean water.

    Bodrick was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Northeastern University School of Law he served as the 1L chairperson of the Black Law Student Association during his first year and as the chapter’s treasurer during his second year. He has served as a judicial clerk intern in the chambers of the Honorable Judge Denise J. Casper at the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He was also appointed to the transition team steering committee for the Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. Afterward, he was the Vertex Legal Intern in the Global Litigation Division at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and later a law clerk at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Bodrick worked as a summer associate and law clerk at Brown Rudnick. He also served as senior advisor for the successful 2020 Ed Markey Campaign for the US Senate. Bodrick has previously served as the outreach coordinator in the Community Engagement Division of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General Maura Healey ’98.

    Bodrick serves as president of the Boston Network for Black Student Achievement, a member of the Boston Public Schools Opportunity and Achievement Gap Taskforce, a member of the board of directors of Massachusetts Advocates for Children, member of the Boston Medical Center Accelerator Community Advisory Committee (ACAC), co-founder of the Forward Fund, The Boston Foundation and Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery Advisory Committee, and on the board of advisors of the Roxbury YMCA.

    Bodrick is a member of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, Georgetown University Alumni Club of Greater Boston, THL, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He has been featured in USA Today, New York Times, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Commonwealth Magazine, NPR, The Bay State Banner and other media outlets.

    Bodrick has also received numerous awards including the 2019 Fletcher “Flash” Wiley Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association Legacy Scholarship Award, the 2019 Citizens for Public Schools Champion for Education Justice Award, Northeastern University Huntington 100, 2020 Eta Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Citizen of the Year Award, and the 2020 First District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Citizen of the Year Award. Most recently, Bodrick was named The Boston Foundation 20 Leaders of the 2020s, the 2021 Boston Business Journal (BBJ) 40 Under 40 Award, and the 2021 Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award.

    Bodrick lives in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston with his wife, Dr. Devin Cromartie Bodrick, and their son Willie Bodrick, III.


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  • The 29th Annual Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Bar Awards Reception was held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 from 4:00 to 5:oo p.m. All students, their families, the Alumni/ae Board, and faculty and staff of the Law School are invited to this virtual event.

    Congratulations to the 2021 Denise Carty-Bennia Bar Memorial Award Winners:

    Jenna Agatep ’21
    Jodie Ng ’21
    Khalafalla Osman ’21
    Iashai Stephens ’21
    Hannah Taylor ’21
    Joanna Xing ’21

    Keynote Speaker
    Professor Deborah Ramirez

    Professor Ramirez is a criminal justice expert. She teaches criminal justice for first-year students and advanced courses in criminal justice, race and reform. She also actively engages the student body in topics relating to criminal law and works on strategies and initiatives to reform the criminal justice system. Beyond this, she works extensively with Northeastern’s Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA).

    Professor Ramirez frequently works with academia, law enforcement, politicians and community leaders to ensure police accountability. She has testified numerous times before the US House of Representatives and state legislatures about related issues, written about these issues for national media outlets, including The Boston Globe, and has been interviewed by ABC News, “Good Morning America,” and NPR, and quoted in The Washington Post and Risk & Insurance, among others. She has also published numerous articles on criminal justice in leading journals, including the American Journal of Criminal Law, Temple Political and Civil Rights Review and Georgetown University American Criminal Law Review.