Program on Church, State & Society announces 2021 summer fellows

Author: Jonathan Hannah


The Notre Dame Law School Program on Church, State & Society has awarded three fellowships to Notre Dame law students for the summer of 2021. The fellowships are designed to give law students legal experience with religiously affiliated organizations. This year’s fellows are Lizzie Walter, Alec Afarian, and Mary Coleman.

Lizzie Walter will be working for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Legal Services and General Counsel. "This summer, with this Fellowship, I'm excited to explore the public sector and the non-for-profit side of law. This gives me an opportunity to develop and advance the skills I have learned at Notre Dame Law School and experience how they can be used in the real world to help real people. At the Archdiocese, I will be working in a multitude of areas and working with other institutions such as Catholic Charities, all of which will help me serve the community of Chicago and discern my path forward in law," said Walter.

Alec Afarian was selected for an internship with the Napa Legal Institute. "It is such a blessing to have the support of this fellowship in pursuing my internship with Napa Legal Institute. We are each called to spread the love of Christ into the world. While for some of us that is through Holy Orders, the Church needs good, Catholic people in all areas of life. I am excited to work with the disciples at the Napa Legal Institute in supporting those good, Catholic individuals working in nonprofits across the country,” said Afarian. “Hopefully, I may be of service to those who are helping people in need. The flourishing of faith-based nonprofits is a wonderful testament to St. Teresa's vision that Christ has no hands-on earth but ours. With the support of this fellowship, I am ready to put my hands to work for His love of my brothers and sisters."

Mary Coleman will use her fellowship opportunity to serve her alma mater at nearby Saint Mary’s College. “I am excited that this fellowship allows me to work with planned giving counsel at my alma mater, Saint Mary’s College. This experience will allow me to learn more about how Saint Mary’s embraces its Catholic identity and mission through planned giving and development. Saint Mary’s is such a special place and I cannot wait for my internship this summer,” said Coleman.

Richard Garnett, the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law and director of the Program on Church, State & Society said he is excited about the opportunities these students will have this summer.   

“As part of NDLS’s mission to educate a ‘different kind of lawyer,’ the Program on Church, State & Society’s fellowships allow students to gain exposure in the area of religious-institutions practice and explore some of the career options that combine law and religion in our society,” he said.

Notre Dame law students and prospective Notre Dame law students with interest in the Program on Church, State & Society can contact Program Director Jonathan Hannah at or (574)631-9898.