NEW ORLEANS – Kaitlin L. Locascio didn’t seem any different
than any of the other 90 students taking Isabel Medina’s constitutional law
class at Loyola University's Law School in New Orleans.
“She was relatively quiet in the class,” Medina recently told the Louisiana Record.
“She didn’t necessarily stand out as far as being assertive or anything.”
By the end of the class, Locascio had received the highest
And at commencement ceremonies May 21, she was awarded the university’s
Spirit of St. Ignatius Award and recognized as one of the its top students.
“Not only did she establish early on that she was gifted
academically, but that she was willing to commit to the work," Medina said.
That’s why Medina nominated her for the prestigious award.
It was Medina’s integration law course where Locascio really
started to look like a standout student.
The course involved working at a summer refugee program in
Austin, Texas, where Loyola law students volunteered to help with refugees
seeking asylum in the United States.
“I found she had this zeal for working on behalf of people
who don’t have the resources to pay for legal services,” she said. “She was
willing to do more than I ever expected. You give her something to do and she
gets it done. She always rises to the task.”
Locascio has been rising to the task for some time.
Before coming to Loyola’s law school, she attended the University
of San Francisco, also a Jesuit school, where she studied international studies
and world religions.
She spent her sophomore year studying human trafficking and
child soldiers, addressing the issues up-close in a trip to Uganda.
As a junior, she traveled to Morocco to study the Arabic
language and Islam, adding stays in Israel and Palestine as a volunteer for
Abraham’s Vision, an organization working to build bridges between the two
After coming to LUNO’s law school to finish her
post-graduate work, she focused on immigration and other social justice issues,
working as, among other things, a student practitioner in the Loyola
And somehow she was able to find the time to be the
editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Interest Law, where she led a campaign
to raise more than $2,000 for Syrian refugees who had arrived in Louisiana.
“She did more than most editors do,” Media said.
“I don’t know how she’s done all of that,” Hiroko
Kusada, a professor who supervised Locascio’s law clinic work, told the Louisiana Record. “For the clinic,
she took on every case with a passion and kindness. She was always the first to
volunteer and she even mentored other classmates. I can teach students to do
things, but I can’t teach them compassion or empathy.”
Locascio is also active in the New Orleans community,
volunteering at Catholic Charities in its Immigration and Refugee Services
Medina said Locascio plans to take the Louisiana Bar exam in
July and then travel to South America to hone her Spanish-speaking skills.
Watching the quiet student blossom into a strong leader with
a passion for service has been a rewarding experience for both professors.
“She embodies what the Jesuit community is all about,”
Kusada said. “She really exemplifies the mission of public service and helping
the less fortunate.”
“I can see her continuing to surge ahead,” Medina said. “She
is truly committed to public interest work. She’s going to make an incredible
advocate for people who don’t have the resources to access the legal system.
I’m in awe of her.”