Summer (Fellows) in the City: Lorna Chitty ‘20, Communications and Legislation Intern at Connecticut Veterans Legal Center

Lorna Chitty '20, Communications and Legislation Intern at Connecticut Veterans Legal Center

Lorna Chitty '20 is a Political Science major who is a Dwight Hall Summer Fellow at Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

Lorna Chitty and Margaret Middleton, Executive Director and Co-founder of CVLC, at downtown office
What is your dream job? 


What is your favorite thing about New Haven? 

I love the diversity of New Haven! It feels like there is something for everyone, with unique, distinct neighborhoods and lively community.

what have you been doing as a summer fellow?

I'm mostly working in the administrative side of non-profits: I get to do the majority of my work in our various organizational databases- that are comprised of donors, pro bono attorneys, clients, etc. I also write emails, surveys, and social media posts that are distributed to our vast network of supporters and our executive board, and get to review grants and legal briefs before they are submitted.

Why did you choose to become involved in this type of work as a Summer Fellow? 
I wanted to be involved in this work because I find that the work of the CVLC is at a fascinating intersection of three fields I'm passionate about: politics, human rights, and non-profit work. This is a fascinating opportunity to go "behind the scenes" to see exactly how non-profits work day-to-day.
What have you discovered over the course of your fellowship that has been unexpected or surprising to you?
I had no prior experience with the armed forces whatsoever, and, because the CVLC oftentimes works with veterans who need legal help to navigate the complex bureaucracy of either the Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, I feel like my perception of the veteran experience has been broadened tremendously. I now feel very strongly about many issues- like free mental healthcare for vets, VA funding for Medical-Legal Partnerships, access to VA services for vets with "other than honorable" discharges- that I didn't even know were issues before I started.
What inspires you to keep moving forward in your work?
The attorneys, paralegals, and directors that I work under! I am so amazed by their empathy, patience, and dedication. CVLC is the first Medical-Legal Partnership that works specifically for veterans (to help them overcome legal barriers to recovery from homelessness, severe mental illness, and poverty) so they're literally forerunners in an burgeoning legal aid field that they helped create. Whether they're grueling over endless grants to raise funds, meeting with clients who have faced horrific injustices, or building a massive online database from scratch, they inspire me every day.


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