Scholars and Alumni

Current Scholars

Class of 2015

Cristopher SantosCristopher Santos

Cristopher was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved to the United States at the age of 12. He graduated from UCLA with a BS in Psychobiology in 2011. At UCLA, he fundraised and advocated for undocumented students as part of IDEAS at UCLA. In 2010, he became the first undocumented student elected to UCLA’s student government and spent the year fighting against fee increases and advocating for the passage of the California DREAM Act. Following graduation, Cris was a campaign organizer for the United Farm Workers, focusing on the re-election of Congressman Howard Berman. He also volunteered at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, working on the immigration cases of low-income families. As an intern for the UCLA Labor Center, he spent the summer before law school fighting for the rights of workers in the communities of Compton, Torrance, and Inglewood, California. He worked at MALDEF in Los Angeles as a Ford Foundation Law School Fellow during his 1L summer, and at the Labor Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office in his 2L summer. At NYU School of Law, Cris has served as an advocate in the Immigrants Rights Clinic, LaLSA’s Co-Chair, and notes editor for the NYU Law Review. He is also a scholar in the Guarini Leaders in Government Service Institute. He will be joining the US Department of Labor Solicitor’s Office Honors Program after graduation.

Luis Angel Reyes Zavalza

Luis Angel was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. In 2010, he graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied Political Economy and Political Science. Throughout the years, Luis Angel has been politically active in various social movements. In the immigrant rights movement he has led community protest against the ICE raids and deportations as well as promoted a humane approach to immigration reform. Luis Angel has also been an advocate of farm workers’ rights and has organized hotel employees while working for UNITE-HERE Local 19. In New York City, he has joined the fight to end racial profiling and police brutality by participating in Cop Watch Teams across the city and promoting the passage of the Community Safety Act. Luis Angel recently worked for the Bronx Defenders as part of their Immigration Practice Unit. In 2013, he was awarded the Derrick Bell Scholarship for Public Service by the BLAPA Law Alumni Association. Luis Angel is currently in the Immigrant Rights Clinic and is an editor for the NYU Law Review.

Class of 2016

Frances DávilaFrances Dávila

Frances grew up in Venice Beach, California. In 2010, he graduated from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service where she majored in culture and politics. As an undergraduate, she served as co-chair of MEChA and programed immigrant rights events while advocating for a US-Latino Studies program through the Georgetown Initiative on Diversity and Inclusiveness. After graduating, she taught ESL at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago. In 2011, Frances began working for Communities in Schools of Los Angeles at her alma mater, Venice High School, where she developed college access initiatives specifically tailored to the needs of undocumented youth. The summer before law school, Frances interned at Atlas: Developing Immigrant Youth, where she served immigrant youth and helped them apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, U and T visas and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. She also participated in Families for Freedom’s Speakers Bureau, focusing on the intersection between the criminal justice and immigration systems. As a 1L, Frances co-found and co-chaired the NYU Law Immigrant Rights Project and was instrumental in creating its Detention Center Project. She also participated in the Suspension Representation and the Prisoners’ Rights and Education projects. During the spring semester, she interned in the Immigration Unit at Brooklyn Defender Services where she assisted attorneys involved in the groundbreaking New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. This internship cemented her interest in criminal-immigration issues. During her 1L summer, Frances took the opportunity to work in Arizona at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. She represented adult non-citizens detained in the Eloy Detention Center who were in removal proceedings. As a 2L, Frances is a Staff Editor on the Moot Court Board and a student advocate in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. She was also chosen as an NYU Social Sector Leadership Diversity Fellow. During her 2L summer, she will intern at the Defender Association in Seattle, where she will delve into the criminal side of criminal/immigration work.

Alicia NievesAlicia Nieves

Alicia graduated with honors from Indiana University with majors in political science and migration studies. Her academic interests in college led her to research the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Latin American settlement in the American Midwest. Outside the classroom, Alicia assumed leadership roles in public policy campaigns that affected the Latino community. As an undergraduate, she co-founded a statewide student coalition to lobby for pro-immigrant state legislation, including instate tuition for undocumented college students. Additionally, Alicia interned with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, helping the organization’s campaign to register new citizens to vote. She also worked in Washington, DC, with, an advocacy group co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg to promote policies to keep the United States competitive in a global economy, including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform. For her public service work in college, she was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2012. At NYU Law, Alicia is currently the co-chair of LaLSA and a staff editor of the New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. She also works at a legal tech startup called Plainlegal. During her first year of law school, Alicia earned a Ford Law Public Interest Fellowship to intern at the New Economy Project for the summer of 2014.

Class of 2017

Julianna Morgan-TrostleJuliana Morgan-Trostle

A native of Amherst, Massachusetts, Juliana graduated from Haverford College with a major in political science, a minor in Spanish, and a concentration in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Studies. She co-founded the college’s first support group for sexual assault survivors and led efforts to reform campus sexual misconduct policies. Her senior thesis examined the framing strategies employed by stakeholders in Argentina’s same-sex marriage and abortion rights movements. Before law school, Juliana worked as a paralegal at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, where she assisted homeowners facing foreclosure. She spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina, where she researched reproductive rights-related judicial decisions and interned at Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Catholics for Choice). Upon her return to the US, Juliana worked at an international consulting firm developing communications and advocacy strategies for a variety of global health issues. She also volunteered at Brooklyn-based Atlas: Developing Immigrant Youth, where she helped Spanish-speaking youth petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Juliana will spend her 1L summer at the Center for Reproductive Rights Global Legal Program.

Mariel VillarrealMariel Villarreal

Mariel Villarreal is from Los Angeles, California. She moved to New York for college, graduating cum laude from Columbia University in 2010. She received a BA in comparative ethnic studies and in history. Mariel studied abroad in Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico, writing a thesis on resistance movements and grassroots activism in San Cristobal. While at Columbia, Mariel became a research assistant at the African American Policy Forum, a social justice think tank dedicated to providing scholarly research and public discourse surrounding issues of institutionalized inequality and discrimination. After graduating, Mariel became a paralegal in the Rackets Bureau at the Manhattan DA’s office, working on investigations into white-collar and organized crime, as well as public integrity and official corruption. Two years later, Mariel became a paralegal at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project in New York, where she assisted attorneys with case-tracking, research, and case-filing, in addition to handling intake and requests for legal assistance from immigrants nationwide. During the four years between undergraduate and law school, Mariel also worked as a volunteer teacher at Make the Road NY in their Citizenship Through English classes, a mentor to an international high school student in Bensonhurst, and a contributing blog editor at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee for their People's Campaign for the Constitution Blog. Mariel is currently interning at The Door in the Legal Services Unit, working with immigrant youth on their petitions for immigration relief, as well as their applications for work authorization and permanent residence.


Class of 2014

Christine LaRochelle
Amy Pont

Class of 2013

Lisandra Fernández
Kevin Terry
Jordan Wells

Class of 2012

Maria Romani

Class of 2011

Alba Lucero Villa

Class of 2010

Maribel Hernández
Andrea Nieves

Class of 2009

Tom Fritzsche
Melissa Navarro