Credit: Shira Epstien / The Daily Pennsylvanian

The Catalyst Grants, a new fellowship program at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, doubles the number of public interest fellowships available to the Law School’s graduates.

With the help of these fellowships, students interested in the nonprofit and public sectors can join workplaces they may not have otherwise considered.

“It’s a complete game changer for someone who’s just trying to get their foot in the door,” said Arlene Finkelstein, associate dean for Public Interest Programs and executive director of the Law School’s Toll Public Interest Center.

Thanks to these new fellowships, postgraduates can work in volunteer positions at government offices, NGOs and international and domestic nonprofit organizations. These opportunities allow students to gain real-world experience and cultivate new skills for their future careers.

Related: Penn Law graduates see exceptionally high employment rates

“In the meantime, they are fulfilling the needs of the organization [they are working for],” Finkelstein said.

Penn Law School Dean Michael A. Fitts said in a press release that he believes public service by lawyers is necessary “to solve the problems our country faces.”

“It’s crucial that new generations of lawyers dedicate themselves to public service, including and especially in government,” he said.

Related: At Penn, pro-bono work is a right of passage

Penn Law’s Toll Loan Repayment and Assistance Program also reduces student loan debt for grant recipients. The first set of Catalyst Grants will be awarded in April 2014.

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