Getting to know: Shayna Yogman
The first-year law student is on a mission to fight antisemitism.
Shayna Yogman’s war with antisemitism and bigotry has taken many forms.
Yogman, who is Jewish, conducted research that aided the civil prosecution of white supremacists involved in the 2017 Unite the Right events in Charlottesville, Virginia — a headline-grabbing incident nationwide. The case resulted in a multi-million dollar verdict against the extremist groups and leaders.
She studied the subject, too, first at Rutgers University, and then, later, graduating with two master’s degrees — one in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, and one in religious studies from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
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Yogman also worked for nine years at the Anti-Defamation League, first in its national office in Manhattan, and then in leadership roles in New Jersey and Colorado.
“ADL was a professional dream come true because I was able to channel my passion for inclusivity and battling bigotry,” Yogman, who lives in Greenfield, told the Chronicle. “I worked in a wonderful environment, with brilliant people, doing incredible things. And I felt I had a hand in actually fighting white supremacy.”
Yogman started with the ADL the day after she completed undergraduate studies at Rutgers, she said.
Yogman’s next chapter is unfolding at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is pursuing a law degree. A first-year student, the national firm Frost Brown Todd recently awarded Yogman its Zenobia Harris Bivens Diversity Scholarship. It was one of only seven scholarships awarded by the firm nationwide.
The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor who escaped Auschwitz and returned multiple times to liberate others, Yogman said she plans to keep fighting antisemitism — but has yet to determine the specific direction of her law career.
“I will commit myself to doing pro bono work in this area,” Yogman said. “I feel I bring a set of skills and experience that will help fight white supremacy in the courts.”
“As far as the main part of my future law practice, I’m not set on anything and am open to what seems like a strong fit,” she added, citing the Frost Brown Todd honor. “I champion inclusivity and justice. And I seek out opportunities to support those values.”
Frost Brown Todd established the FBT Diversity Scholarship Fund in 2010 and awarded its first scholarships to students that same year, according to its website.
The scholarship was recently renamed the FBT Zenobia Harris Bivens Diversity Scholarship in honor of their late colleague, who was a tireless advocate for the many people and causes she championed during her lifetime.
“Through [Yogman’s] work with the Anti-Defamation League, research on extremism and white supremacy, service to the community, and impressive academic record, she has embodied the goals of this scholarship,” said Dan Craig, senior associate and member of the Law Student Diversity Scholarship Committee. “Given her demonstrated service to the cause of diversity, we at Frost Brown Todd believe that Ms. Yogman will be an invaluable addition to the legal community and drive it towards a more diverse, inclusive and equitable future.” PJC
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.