Distinguished Professor of Law Jonathan Todres is working to have his students’ efforts recognized beyond the classroom. Most recently, he collaborated with Lauren Meeler (J.D. ’22) to co-author an article titled Confronting Housing Insecurity—A Key to Getting Kids Back to School that was published in JAMA Pediatrics.
This stemmed from a writing assignment in his course, Global Perspectives on Children and the Law, in which Meeler wrote about housing issues and their impact on children.
“Professor Todres had been wanting to address housing and getting kids back to school. So, he asked if I wanted to take some of what I had written and researched for my paper and cowrite an article on the eviction moratorium and education,” said Meeler.
Their article focuses on the pandemic’s devastating impact on millions of children, which has often been overlooked, because relatively few children have become very ill with COVID-19. However, the impact has still been dramatic. One area that has received attention has been children’s education.
“As schools around the country reopened, it struck me that policymakers were overlooking the impact of housing insecurity on children. In effect, if we don’t address the threat to millions of families’ housing, then our efforts to address learning loss and counter inequities in education will fall short,” said Todres.
JAMA Pediatrics, a peer-reviewed journal, is the oldest and highest-ranked pediatrics journal in the world. Todres says it’s a significant accomplishment for a law student to publish in JAMA Pediatrics, and credits Meeler’s excellent work for making it in the journal. As for Meeler, she enjoyed seeing the process side of a publication, from writing and editing to submitting.
“As we made revisions, it felt strange, but definitely fun, to critique my professor or change something he’s written,” Meeler said. “I appreciate that I even had an opportunity to do this, but more so that we accomplished something through equal effort and mutual respect.”
Todres added, “I love when students get to that point where they are comfortable critiquing me. Then they recognize their own expertise and genuine collaboration can occur.” While Meeler might be the first student to publish from his Global Perspectives on Children and the Law class, she won’t be the last, Todres noted. He is already working with others from the class on projects.
“Publishing gives you a chance to be part of a dialogue on issues that you care about,” Todres said. “Early in one’s career, it’s also a signal to employers about the quality of your research and writing. I love the idea of supporting students in their efforts to add their voices and insights to discussions on important issues of the day.”
Written by Mara Thompson