PILO Board Bios

Executive Director

Stephanie Jackson

Stephanie JacksonStephanie grew up in the Cleveland area of Ohio and received her B.A. in English Literature from Miami University (OH). After a stint working in book and magazine publishing in New York City, Stephanie returned to school to study issues related to disparate access and equity in higher education and obtained her M.A. in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Upon completion, Stephanie spent the next several years helping to establish the Office of Student Activities and Resource Center at NYU Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn before enrolling in Wake Forest School of Law in order to continue to pursue a career that addresses the legal structural barriers to equity in education and civil rights. During her 1L Summer, Stephanie worked at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of the General Counsel assisting attorneys from the Office of Civil Rights, Legislative Branch, and Post Secondary Education Divisions. For her 2L Summer, Stephanie worked as a legal intern in the North Carolina Department of Justice, in the Education and Special Litigation Section, thanks to the help of the Professor Hopkins Humanitate Summer Grant.

Communications Director


Fundraising Directors

Fundraising coordinators are responsible for planning and organizing the Annual Chili Cook Off, Annual PILO Auction, and Annual Golf Tournament, as well as any other fundraising opportunities that arise during the year. This involves soliciting donations for supplies, raffle items, and food, and securing sponsors to make monetary gifts. The Chili Cook Off is held in the fall, and students compete to have the best chili recipe and best recipe name. The Annual Auction (Live and Online) is held in early in the spring. The Live Auction is open to current law students, faculty and staff, and the corresponding Online auction is open to students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Gold Tournament is held towards the end of the spring semester and students and community members alike are encouraged to play. All of the proceeds from the Chili Cook Off, Auctions, and the Golf Tournament support PILO and the Professor Hopkins Humanitate summer internship grant.

Annual Auction Directors

Kristin Smith

smitkh0Kristin grew up in nearby Mount Airy, NC before attending Wake Forest University and earning her B.A. in Political Science and English in 2014. She decided to become a Double Deac, and during her time in law school has continued to cement her commitment to a public interest law career, with specific interests in housing, civil rights, and education. Kristin spent her 1L Summer at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte, NC working in their Consumer Protection practice group with the help of a PILO Grant.  For her 2L Summer, Kristin returned to Charlotte as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow with Legal Aid of North Carolina. Upon graduation, Kristin plans to continue working to provide equal access to justice wherever her career takes her.

Laura O’Grady

actual pilo photoLaura was born in the Dominican Republic but emigrated to Miami, FL when she was five years old. She received a Bachelors in Legal  Studies and another in Psychology from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!). Laura has always wanted to become a lawyer and is finally fulfilling that dream by attending Wake Forest Law. As a 1L Laura worked for the Judge Advocate General office at Fort Stewart. There she learned that she wanted to further pursue a legal career in teh military. Laura joined the ROTC Program at Wake during her 2L year. During the summer of 2L year Laura got married to Kyle O’Grady, worked at the Lee County DA’s office thanks to the Professor Hopkins Humanitate Summer Grant and completed cadet summer training at Fort Knox.  Her goals as a 3L are to raise as much money as she can in order to fund students working in the public interest field this upcoming summer. Laura is involved in several other student organizations,she is a 3L Representative for SBA and the Vice President of VALOR.

Chili Cook-Off Director

Katie Barkley

BarkleyKatie was born and raised in Durham, NC. She moved across the country to attend the University of San Francisco, earning her B.A. in Psychology and History in 2011.  Katie quickly moved back to North Carolina, working as a waitress and in retail for three years to save up money before attending Wake Law. She went into law school to be a public defender, but enjoyed her position as a 1L summer intern in the Rowan County District Attorney’s office. Her 2L year she worked in Raleigh for the Wake County District Attorney’s office. After graduation, Katie dreams of changing our criminal justice system to lower incarceration, focus on rehabilitation, and make it easier for indigent communities to have efficient legal representation.

Golf Tournament Director

Conor Degnan

degncp14 (2)Conor grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania before attending Penn State University where he earned a B.S. in Crime Law and Justice. Conor spent his 1L Summer working in the Clerk’s Office at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. During his time at the Clerk’s Office, Conor ensured attorneys and pro se petitioners complied with both the Circuit and Federal rules of civil procedure. During his 2L year Conor’s chili was named runner-up in the best name category. For his 2L Summer, Conor traveled to Wilmington, NC to work in the New Hanover District Attorney’s Office. While there, Conor represented the State of North Carolina in over thirty bench trials. The New Hanover District Attorney’s Office promotes the concept of community prosecuting, focusing on justice and community outreach. Upon graduation, Conor plans to work as a prosecutor in North Carolina.