Thursday, July 31, 2014

A-dae Romero Receives Champion of Change Award

Vena A-dae Romero, a 2013-14 candidate in the LL.M. Program was honored as a “Champion of Change” on Tuesday, July 29 by the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The “Champions of Change” are 15 leaders from across the country who are doing extraordinary things to build the bench for the next generation of farming and ranching. A-dae completed her final LL.M. requirements this summer and graduates with a Master of Laws degree in August. She is Cochiti Puebloan and Kiowa Indian. She was born in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, as a granddaughter of a Pueblo farmer.

While in the LL.M. Program, A-dae served as a Graduate Assistant with the Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative. She now consults for First Nations Development Institute, a leading Native American nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen American Indian economies.

As we recently announced, A-dae was awarded a J. William Fulbright Scholarship for the coming year to complete a research study on indigenous food sovereignty in New Zealand. Her study will compare similar colonial experiences between the Maori people of New Zealand and the American Indians in the United States and explore the influence of traditional food systems.

The Champions of Change program featured USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, who discussed efforts to ensure that beginning farmers and the growing ranks of agriculture — women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees — have access to the programs and support they need. The event included a discussion about how to continue growing and supporting the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers.

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University of Arkansas Law School Dean Stacy Leeds traveled to D.C. to attend the ceremony with A-dae.  LL.M. colleagues in Washington gathered to congratulate A-dae.

Pictured, left to right:

  • Amy Lowenthal, LL.M. alumna and Assistant Counsel to the Inspector General, USDA; 
  • Richard Flournoy, LL.M. alumnus and Assistant to the Administrator, Risk Management Agency, USDA; 
  • Kelvin Stroud, current part-time LL.M. candidate and Legislative Assistant for Senator Mark Pryor; 
  • Jennifer Fiser, LL.M. alumna and Agricultural Program Specialist, Disaster Assistance Branch, Farm Service Agency, USDA; 
  • A'dae Romero; 
  • School of Law Dean Stacy Leeds; 
  • Steven "Brett" Offutt, LL.M. alumnus and Director of Policy and Litigation Division, GIPSA,USDA; and,
  • Visiting LL.M. Condensed Course Professor David Grahn, Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs in the Office of General Counsel, USDA.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses, and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. We are delighted to have one of our LL.M.s in the ranks of this honored group. Congratulations, A-dae!  We are proud of your work -

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