Professor of the Practice
Director, Immigration Clinic
Professor Kern-Scheerer is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University School of Law. While in law school, she served as Executive Editor of the American Journal of Law & Medicine. She earned her Master of Public Health from Boston University School of Public Health, where she was the Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights Fellow. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Beloit College, where she received her B.A., magna cum laude, in Sociology and French.
As the founding Director of the Immigration Clinic, Professor Kern-Scheerer trains and supervises Clinic students, representing noncitizens in the greater Hampton Roads community seeking humanitarian forms of relief. She, and the students under her supervision, represent immigrant victims of crime, domestic violence, and human trafficking, as well as immigrants seeking asylum, DACA holders, and individuals applying for naturalization. Outside the Immigration Clinic, Professor Kern-Scheerer has taught courses on Legal Writing, Health Law & Policy, Food & Drug Law, and the Opioid crisis. She has also served as the Assistant Director of the Legal Practice Program.
Previously in her legal career, Professor Kern-Scheerer served as Assistant Counsel in the U.S. Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel. As Assistant Counsel, she specialized in drafting legislation for Senators and Senate Committees on matters of Federal health law and policy, particularly public health programs, health insurance, and food and drug safety. She drafted numerous provisions of enacted law on those issues in her role as a nonpartisan legislative writer and counsel.
Professor Kern-Scheerer has twice been awarded a "Golden Gavel" by the W&M Law School Honor Council for her contributions and commitment to the law school community. In 2018-19, she served as the Kelly Professor for Teaching Excellence and in 2019 she received the Law School’s McGlothlin Faculty Teaching Award. She was chosen by the Class of 2017 and the Class of 2021 as the recipient of the Walter L. Williams, Jr. Memorial Teaching Award.
J. Nicole Alanko
J. Nicole Alanko, J.D. ’18, is an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow at William & Mary Law School’s Immigration Clinic, her alma mater. As a Fellow in the Clinic, Nicole works closely with students in the Clinic to serve immigrants in Hampton Roads, especially those who are survivors of crime, torture, and persecution. In addition to her casework and student supervision, she also manages the Clinic’s online communication and engagement, especially the Clinic’s blog and pro se resources.
Before her placement at William & Mary, Nicole served as an IJC Fellow at Safe Horizon in Brooklyn, NY. During her time at Safe Horizon, she represented survivors of violence, crime, and torture in their immigration proceedings before USCIS and the Immigration Court. In addition to her casework, she was involved in Safe Horizon’s anti-racism policy initiatives, trained pro bono attorneys for days of service, and drafted a response on behalf of Safe Horizon to sweeping changes to asylum regulations.
Nicole is also a published scholar on issues related to U Visas and Asylum. Her articles have been published in the Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal and the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Law and Social Change.