After Duke, Chelsey Amelkin became an investigator for one of the public defender offices in the Bronx, and then a paralegal for the Federal Defenders in New York. After that, she went to NYU for law school, and graduated in 2016. For the last 4 years, Chelsey has been a public defender for the Legal Aid Society, representing indigent clients in Manhattan.
How has being a Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies (formerly Women's Studies) graduate from Duke University help shape your professional success?
"I predominantly represent poor people of color as a public defender in New York City, in a terribly racist and classist system. Being a Women's Studies graduate from Duke has helped me understand my role as a public defender in this context- one where gender, race, and class impact criminal outcomes. As a white woman, I strive to initiate each new client relationship checking that privilege, acknowledging that their lived experience is something I cannot personally understand, but ensure their voices are heard in the ways they want them to be."