Wayne Law student awarded scholarship for public service

DETROIT – Husnah Khan, a third-year student at Wayne State University Law School, has been awarded the Recognizing Public Servants Scholarship.

David Benowitz, founder of the scholarship, which is awarded to one student in the nation each year, is a criminal defense lawyer and partner at Price Benowitz in Washington, D.C. 

Khan, president of the Muslim Law Students Association at Wayne Law, spent the summer of 2016 as a legal intern working at the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and hopes to “complete the type of work that Mr. Benowitz admires and advocates for” after she graduates.

“I hope to be one of those legal practitioners who works toward creating positive change,” Khan said. “One of the topics I feel strongly about is wrongful conviction. Innocent individuals are being convicted each day for crimes they did not commit, and spending the rest of their lives incarcerated or sitting on death row. The justice system exists to preserve individual rights, and wrongful conviction undermines the very foundation of social justice.”

She first became interested in studying law because of a childhood passion for solving mysteries.

“I grew up in Woldingham, which is in Surrey, England, a very picturesque and peaceful part of the world,” Khan said. “My siblings, cousins and I would go for long walks in the woods, where we would re-enact scenes from our favorite adventure series, Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five.’ This love for solving mysteries led to my interest in the legal field. Lawyers are required to evaluate evidence, interrogate witnesses and uncover new leads with the goal of obtaining enough information to crack their cases.”

Her family moved to Bloomfield Hills in 1994, where they have lived ever since. Khan graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English, and spent a summer abroad as an undergraduate studying at Oxford University.

In 2016, she was awarded an Americorps JD Fellowship through her work at the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic. The fellowship is awarded to individuals working to provide legal assistance to people of low income backgrounds — work Khan said she wants to continue as a volunteer after graduation.

She also earned a Women Lawyers Association of Michigan scholarship and a Michigan Muslim Bar Association scholarship. Khan served as the American Bar Association’s Student Division Public Interest Chair for the Sixth Circuit, as well, and raises money for animal advocacy organizations. She was instrumental in re-establishing Wayne Law’s Muslim Law Students Association to provide Muslim law students an avenue to connect with one another, meet Muslim legal professionals and participate in community building events.

As president of the organization, Khan has led two significant events on Wayne State’s campus and considers them to be among the most outstanding experiences she’s had as a student. Last year, Rabia Chaudry spoke about her best-selling book, “Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice after Serial.” In January, Khan moderated a discussion with Halima Aden, a Somali-American refugee who made history as the first contestant to compete in her Miss USA state pageant in a hijab and burkini.

 “I was in awe of Rabia and Halima, two courageous, intelligent and incredibly compassionate advocates,” said Khan. “When I met them in person, they were just as inspiring and illuminating as I thought they would be.”

This past summer, Khan served as a legal intern with the U.S. Army, and spent eight weeks working at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, helping soldiers learn about legal assistance available on base, an experience she said broadened her perspective on the work of attorneys.

Photo:

Husnah Khan

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Contact: Kaylee Place

Phone: 313-577-4629

Email: kaylee.place@wayne.edu

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