The Polking Family Fellowship was established in February 2016 to recruit and provide funding for top law school candidates who have a demonstrated passion for the Catholic mission of the Law School and who share Notre Dame’s commitment to the inalienable dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. The fellowship was made possible through a generous endowment made by Paul and Joan Polking. Paul Polking ’59 B.S., ’66 J.D., is a retired executive vice president and general counsel for the Bank of America Corporation. He is also a member of the Law School Advisory Council.
In 2020–21, the Center hosts three Polking Fellows.
Notre Dame Law School 3L
Aly Cox is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2017 with a major in Biological Sciences and minors in Theology and Catholic Social Tradition. Before law school, she worked as a research assistant for Professor O. Carter Snead. Aly spent her 2L summer at Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C. and her 1L summer at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. She has also been heavily involved in the Sorin Fellows program, Jus Vitae, and the Future Prosecuting Attorney’s Council. In 2020-21, she serves as Managing Articles Editor of Notre Dame Law Review.
In 2018, Aly spoke alongside Bishop Robert Barron at a panel event in Rome accompanying the Synod of Bishops on Young People organized by the de Nicola Center. Her presentation at the panel is available here.
Following graduation, Aly will serve as judicial clerk for Judge William Pryor of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit for one year, after which she will clerk for Judge Amy Barrett of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
Notre Dame Law School 2L
Michael Bradley is a native of South Bend, growing up in the shadow of the Golden Dome as one of eight children, all of whom attended Notre Dame. He began participating in de Nicola Center events while in grade school, and during his time at Notre Dame was a regular attendee of the dCEC's Bread of Life dinners, Evangelium Vitae Medal celebrations, and the Fall Conference. His senior thesis was co-directed by the Center's founding director, David Solomon. After earning his undergraduate degree in philosophy and theology in 2014, he worked for a year as a research and programs assistant with the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and Public Life in the Department of Political Science, and then pursued his graduate studies. Following the completion of his master’s degree in 2017, he worked as the communications and events coordinator for the Lumen Christi Institute for Catholic Thought in Chicago.
"As someone who has been benefiting from the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture's programs since I was in grade school, I'm honored and humbled to have now the opportunity to represent the Center and contribute to its mission as one of its Polking Fellows," Bradley said. "My wife and I are deeply grateful to the selection committee and to Professor Snead for the vocational, academic, and financial support that the fellowship promises to afford me during my studies at Notre Dame Law School, which I am confident will prepare me well for a career of service to the Church and for the common good of society."
After graduation, Michael will serve as a judicial clerk to Judge Tom Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
Notre Dame Law School 1L
Veronica Webb begins her law studies at Notre Dame in Fall 2020, after several years of service as a pediatric occupational therapist in southern California. She is pursuing legal studies with an eye to public law and policy, drawn from her experience working with children with disabilities.
"I realized that attorneys who understand both the legal issues as well as the therapeutic needs are crucial to fully serving these children and their families. Initially, I was looking to find someone else who could best serve these families legally and therapeutically; however, I now recognize that with my character and training, I am the best person to fill this role. A legal education will provide me the tools to step into this role and positively impact lives on a far larger scale, from advocating for my clients’ access to services in schools to amending disability law to ensure legal parity between those with and without disabilities. As an attorney, I will continue to use my expertise as an occupational therapist and my own skills and character traits to complement the skills I will obtain in law school to provide the most comprehensive support possible to allow people with disabilities to reach their potential."
Former Polking Fellows
Margo Borders, J.D.
Notre Dame Law School Class of 2019
Margo Borders is an associate attorney in the Business Law department at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, where she was a summer associate in 2018. She received the Faculty Awards for Excellence for the highest grades in Torts and Constitutional Law during her time at Notre Dame, and served as the production and technology editor for Notre Dame Law Review.
Hope Steffensen, J.D.
Notre Dame Law School Class of 2020
Hope Steffensen graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School and is currently serving as a judicial clerk for Judge Andrew Kleinfeld of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Following her one year clerkship with Judge Kleinfeld, she will clerk for Judge Holly L. Teeter of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.