Class of 2014

Sheila Baynes

Sheila is driven by a desire to advance the mutually dependent issues of healthy young people and healthy public lands in the United States. After graduating from Harvard in 2003 with a degree in History and Literature, Sheila moved to Alaska, where she led therapeutic wilderness expeditions for at-risk girls and became a high school teacher in a drug and alcohol treatment program for Alaska Native teens. She also instructed courses for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), eventually relocating to Wyoming to work at NOLS headquarters in the research and curriculum department. Her time spent living in rural communities in the American West reinforced her passion for working toward sustainable and collaborative solutions to their environmental and social challenges.

Sheila spent her 1L summer at Legal Services Corporation in Washington, DC, where she focused on improving the delivery of civil legal services to rural communities, and her 2L summer at the Environmental Defense Fund in Boulder, where she assisted with Supreme Court petitions aiming to curb the health impacts of air pollution and address climate change through regulation of greenhouse gases. During her 2L year, Sheila worked on litigation at the National Resources Defense Council through the Environmental Law Clinic, and assisted professors with research on criminal justice and environmental law. After graduation, Sheila will work as a law clerk to a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Billings, Montana, before pursuing her goal of being an environmental litigator.

In her free time, Sheila enjoys backcountry and cross-country skiing, triathlon, and fly fishing.

Wonjoo Choe

Wonjoo graduated with distinction from Cornell University in 2007 with a BA in Government and Economics. He interned at the Korean Public Interest Lawyers Group (Gong-Gam), a non-profit public interest firm in Seoul where he was actively involved in advancing immigration and refugee rights. There, he analyzed the legal status of North Korean refugees in developed countries, and helped translate a book composed of the letters from North Korean refugees to their families and friends in North Korea. Wonjoo is currently working with his brother to develop a social networking website called dooub, in hopes of using it as a channel to connect legal advocates and scholars across the globe.

Wonjoo was born in Daegu, South Korea, and grew up in Seoul and Silver Spring, Maryland. After law school, he hopes to bring about positive change in the political and economic condition of refugees in developing countries, and ultimately benefit those who seek asylum in his home country, South Korea.

Elizabeth DeGori

Starr Foundation Scholar

Elizabeth grew up in east Tennessee. She graduated from Scripps College in 2010 with a degree in International Relations and French Studies. During college, Elizabeth studied in Paris, interning at Confrontations Europe where she examined US-EU climate cooperation leading to the 2009 UNFCCC Conference. She later developed this to create her senior thesis on the domestic politics and international interactions of these players and China.

Elizabeth also volunteered as a sexual assault counselor and co-led the Criminal Justice Network, creating an on-campus program to support the organization Get on the Bus and send children yearly to visit their mothers in prison for Mother’s Day.

In law school, Elizabeth is interested in expanding her knowledge of environmental law and policy, with an emphasis on China. She is building on previous experience as an intern with the US Mission to NATO and her time after graduation when she worked as Climate Change Coordinator for the World Federation of UN Associations and interned for the US Mission to the UN.

Elizabeth spent her 1L summer at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Beijing, China, completing a self-designed research project on US-China environmental cooperation, a field she would love to pursue after law school.

Akiva Fishman

Sullivan & Cromwell Scholar

Akiva is fascinated by the fundamental problem posed by the world's deteriorating environment and the impacts of impaired or destroyed ecosystems on human society. Born and raised in New York City, where he failed even to recognize that one tree might belong to a different species than another, Akiva would seem an unlikely advocate for effective natural resource management and environmental equity. He traces his interest to an undergraduate taxonomy course where he first learned about the threats to nature which can in turn harm people.

During his first year in law school, Akiva co-chaired the annual day-long environmental law symposium, which drew over 300 participants, and flew to Bogota, Colombia to help coordinate a conference on environmental law and regulation in Latin America. He also co-authored a chapter on the role of land reform efforts after armed conflict with a visiting professor, which was published in a book on the economic aspects of transitional justice. That summer, he worked for the Liberian Environmental Protection Agency on reforms to the environmental impact assessment regime, a national oil spill contingency plan, and decision-making and compliance around environmental permits. Akiva continued to work on environmental challenges in Liberia as a 2L, helping draft a regulation to govern forests on private land and writing a comparative analysis of Liberian and Brazilian forestry law to inform development of Liberian forest policy tools. Over his 2L summer, Akiva worked in Indonesia at the Center for International Forestry Research examining the impacts of European illegal logging regulations on the Indonesian timber trade, and exploring potential conflicts between trade restrictions on illegal timber and WTO treaty law.

Although he continues to serve as an editor on the Environmental Law Journal, Akiva is otherwise taking a two-year break from law school to complete a Masters in Forestry degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He intends to combine his studies in environmental and international law with coursework and experience in forest science and management to design effective natural resource governance mechanisms in developing countries.

Brittany Francis

Graduating from Indiana University in 2011 with highest distinction and a degree in Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Communication & Culture, Brittany spent her undergraduate career pursuing her interests in race relations, advocacy, and service. As a Cox Research Scholar, Brittany conducted four years of legal research under Law Professors Dr. Jeannine Bell and Kevin Brown on the topics of hate crime, race relations, education law and civil rights law. In recognition of her academic achievements in the liberal arts and sciences she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in 2010.

Brittany came straight from Indiana University to NYU Law. During her first summer Brittany worked for the Bronx Defenders to provide free holistic legal representation to members of the Bronx community. During her 2L year she will participate in the Employment and Housing Discrimination Clinic as well as serve on the boards of the Women of Color Collective and the Black Allied Law Students Association as the Community Service Chair. She is passionate about working toward racial equality in the United States and is pursuing a career as a civil rights attorney.

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, but raised in Indianapolis, IN, Brittany graduated from Decatur Central High School.

Amelia Pelly Frenkel

A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Amelia arrived at NYU Law via Washington, DC, where she attended Georgetown University and worked as a speechwriter.

Amelia spent her 1L summer with the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice where she assisted attorneys with ongoing investigations and litigation related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

During her second year at NYU Law, Amelia was excited to participate in the SDNY Government Civil Litigation Clinic. She spent a portion of her 2L summer with the Civil Appellate staff of the Department of Justice, where she assisted attorneys with legal research relating to pending appellate litigation and the implementation of recent decisions.

After graduation, Amelia looks forward to returning home to Washington, DC, where she intends to clerk.

Rachel Hoerger

Sinsheimer Service Scholar

Rachel graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College, where she majored in
Economics and played on the Amherst softball team. After college, she worked as a union organizer for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), organizing in-home child care providers across the state of Iowa; served as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Peru; and coordinated a statewide project to increase Census participation in farm worker and immigrant communities throughout rural California.

Rachel now hopes to use law as a tool to support grassroots organizing, activism and advocacy, and to empower individuals and communities to actively address the issues that affect them. She will spend the summer working with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, which organizes guest workers, day laborers, and low-income residents in New Orleans and around the country. As a 2L, she will participate in CoLR (Coalition on Law and Representation), the All-ALSA Coalition, and NYU’s Litigation, Organizing and Systemic Change clinic.

Rachel is a proud native of Oakland, California.

Malika Lubell-Doughtie

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar

Malika grew up in Bronx, New York. She graduated from Pomona College in 2008 with a double major in Politics and Gender and Women’s Studies. After Pomona, Malika returned to New York where she served as a residential counselor and street outreach worker with Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), an organization serving young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.

In 2010, Malika became the court representative for the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services’ (CASES) Alternative to Detention (ATD) project, Choices. Malika advocated for youth with pending delinquency cases to remain in the community with the support and supervision of Choices ATD.

Malika spent her 1L summer with the International Legal Foundation–Nepal, a public defender office dedicated to ensuring that all accused persons have access to effective legal representation. As a 2L, Malika will serve as the Director of the Suspension Representation Project and co-chair of the Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA) symposium committee. In the spring semester she will also participate in the Litigation, Organizing and Systemic Change clinic.

2L summer, Malika Lubell-Doughtie returned to her home borough of the Bronx to intern with The Bronx Defenders's Family Defense and Criminal Defense practices. Under the tutelage of three skilled attorneys, Malika assisted her supervisors on case specific legal research, motion writing and trial preparation. As a summer intern, Malika participated in The Bronx Defenders’s Trial Advocacy Skills training.

Malika looks forward to pursuing a career in criminal justice, with a focus on rehabilitation and prison reform.

Sara Maeder

WilmerHale Scholar

Sara graduated from Wesleyan University in 2008 with honors in Classics. While at Wesleyan, she developed a strong interest in social justice and constitutional law, which she explored further through an internship at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia. After graduating, Sara worked as a legal assistant at Lambda Legal’s New York Headquarters. There, she assisted on LGBT rights cases, including one in which Lambda defeated a ballot initiative attempting to exclude transgender people from protection under a county's employment nondiscrimination law. She then went on to work as a paralegal at Children’s Rights, where she assisted in the investigation of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the early stages of a class action lawsuit seeking to reform that system.

Sara grew up in Narberth, Pennsylvania. She hopes to spend her career working for the empowerment and self-determination of marginalized communities through direct advocacy, with a particular focus on queer and youth communities. Sara is the political action co-chair of OUTLaw at NYU, and a member of CoLR and the Suspension Representation Project. This summer, she will be an intern at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in New York.

Annie Mathews

Jacobson Public Service Scholar for Women, Children & Families

Annie graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006 with a degree in Social Studies. Fascinated by the social world and eager to combat issues of social justice, she researched and wrote her thesis on the political impact of a coalition of community organizations in the impoverished, migrant, outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Passionate about immigrant rights, women’s rights and economic development, she worked for 3 years at C.E.O. Women (Creating Economic Opportunities for Women), an Oakland based microenterprise organization. C.E.O. Women helps immigrant and refugee women start businesses through training in entrepreneurship and English language. As an AmeriCorpsVISTA volunteer and then a project manager, Annie led the development of all of C.E.O. Women’s business support programs, including their microequity grant initiatives.

Fueled by her clients stories of success and day-to-day struggles, Annie returned to graduate school to better understand the social and economic phenomenon she encountered on the grassroots level. She is currently a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Annie grew up in Boston, MA. She is eager to combine her grassroots, education in public policy, and legal training to advocate for low-income and immigrant communities in the United States.

Nicholas Melvoin

Coben Scholar

After teaching in his hometown of Los Angeles, Nick came to law school to attack the problem of educational inequity from another angle. Initially prompted to apply after working with the ACLU on a lawsuit to protect his students from the disproportionate effects of teacher layoffs, Nick has spent his time at NYU focusing on civil rights more broadly. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of NYU’s Review of Law & Social Change and a Guarini Government Scholar.

Nick spent his first summer back in LA at the ACLU, where he worked on statewide education litigation and policy, as well as juvenile justice reform and homeless advocacy. During his second summer, Nick worked at the White House on a Domestic Policy Council Team focused on implementing the President’s agenda on civil rights and criminal justice reform. Nick worked on a number of new policy initiatives including voting rights, equal pay, employment nondiscrimination, offender reentry, and supports for children of incarcerated parents.

Outside of school, Nick spends his time directing a camp for homeless children, playing soccer and tennis, skiing, fishing, and practicing yoga.

Evan Milligan

Lindemann Family Public Service Scholar

Evan graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2003 with a degree in Religion. Following graduation, Evan spent several months working for a tax-reform campaign, encouraging Alabama voter’s to support a constitutional referendum to modify the state’s regressive tax system. He then studied Theology and Economic Development issues at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
Between 2005 and 2008, Evan worked as a community organizer for the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL), a child-care advocacy and community development organization. From 2008 to 20011, he worked as a paralegal for the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an indigent criminal defense organization also based in Alabama.

Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Evan aspires to practice indigent defense law in Alabama. He also wants to explore multi-disciplinary, community-based responses to the needs of formerly incarcerated and marginalized people.

Candace Mitchell

Sullivan & Cromwell Scholar

Candace graduated as a John Kluge Scholar in 2009 with a degree in English from Columbia University, where she crafted a rich curriculum around her commitment to empowering marginalized communities. At Columbia, Candace was a resident of the Intercultural Resource Center, which gathered activists, artists, and intellectuals under one roof to create programming around diverse notions of social justice. She was one of the co-founding editors of the proxy magazine, a publication that honored the many voices of the African Diaspora, and a political columnist for Columbia's weekly newspaper, chronicling the University's Hunger Strike of 2008. She relished working for the Chaplain's Office, which embraced a historically activist interpretation of its mission to serve faith communities and engaged the wider New York City community through numerous service projects with a public school, hospital, and jail facility.

After graduating, Candace worked as a New York City Urban Fellow for Programs and Discharge Planning at the Department of Correction. As a Fellow, she helped coordinate services, programs, and resources for those exiting the New York City jail systems.

Candace was born in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and lived in Gainesville, Florida, for thirteen years. Candace’s professional goal is to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Kendal Nystedt

Kendal is passionate about integrating approaches to social change in order to achieve justice for low-income immigrant communities. A native of Tucson, Arizona, her passion was fueled by the injustice that she witnessed in her hometown.

As a 1L (and again during her 2L summer), Kendal interned with Make the Road New York, providing legal services to support Latino and working class communities with housing and immigration concerns. Her 1L summer, she returned home to work with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, where she assisted men detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Florence, Arizona. Through the Immigrant and Advanced Immigrant Rights clinics Kendal has represented a long-time legal permanent resident in fighting his order of removal (which included work before the 2nd Circuit, Federal District Court in NJ, and ICE), served as counsel to the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign, and explored litigation options to address USCIS’ failure to provide a process through which certain immigrant victims of violent crimes can obtain employment authorization. She has also served as a co-chair for CoLR and on the Review of Law & Social Change.

Robert Pollack

Doris C. and Alan J. Freedman Scholar

Robert studied philosophy, literature, and the history of math and science in the Great Books Program at St. John's College, where he graduated in 2004. He spent time both on the Annapolis and on the Santa Fe campus and while in Santa Fe was a field-qualified member of the St. John's College Search and Rescue Team.

After college Robert joined the Mississippi Teacher Corps and taught English at a rural public high school in Sardis, Mississippi and then at an urban one in Jackson, where he was a teacher sponsor of the Civil Rights / Civil Liberties after-school club. He earned an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi. After three years in the Deep South, he returned to Santa Fe to study Sanskrit and classical Asian literature and philosophy at St. John's College and earned an MA in Eastern Classics. He continued working in the public schools and upon completion of the degree began teaching math at a public high school and a community college in Santa Fe.

Robert is a fellow at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, and he has spent time during law school working in both the civil and criminal divisions of the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, as well as in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. He is interested in government and policy, and especially in matters of criminal justice.

Jesse Rockoff

Sinsheimer Service Scholar

Jesse's mission in law school and beyond is to provide competent direct representation for immigrants and other populations who would otherwise be facing potentially life-changing and life-destroying legal proceedings on their own. Jesse's work has focused particularly on the intersection of the immigration and criminal justice systems. He spent his 1L summer with Immigrant Defense Project doing research on broad criminal-immigration issues and assisting criminal lawyers, immigration lawyers, and directly affected persons on criminal-immigration matters. In the Immigrant and Advanced Immigrant Rights Clinics and in his 2L summer at The Bronx Defenders, Jesse worked a variety of immigration cases for detained and non-detained clients facing deportation for criminal convictions, and assisted in ancillary tax, housing, and family law matters. Jesse's long-term goal is to directly represent indigent immigrants and other vulnerable populations in civil proceedings, focusing particularly on the collateral consequences of criminal justice interactions. He also hopes to assist in broader advocacy efforts to reform to the interlocking systems which underlie the continued marginalization of low-income communities.

Ariel Werner

William and Mary Sterling Scholar

Ariel is dedicated to indigent defense and criminal justice reform. While at Brown University, from which she graduated with honors in 2009, Ariel led creative workshops for prisoners, worked on a successful campaign to restore voting rights to parolees and probationers in Rhode Island, and interned at the state public defender’s office and at an organization serving formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Witnessing the inequities and indignities of the criminal justice system inspired Ariel to become an attorney.

At NYU Law, Ariel has represented juveniles charged with acts of delinquency through the Juvenile Defender Clinic and worked on civil rights lawsuits through the New York Civil Liberties Clinic. As a student fellow at NYU’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, Ariel has conducted research for the defense team in a federal criminal trial and contributed research to an amicus brief for the Supreme Court of the United States and to several academic papers. Ariel spent her 1L summer assisting state-based criminal justice reform initiatives at the American Civil Liberties Union and her 2L summer helping to represent indigent clients at trials, sentencings, bail hearings, and probation violation hearings at the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. While in law school, Ariel has also served as a research assistant, a teaching assistant, and an Articles Editor for the New York University Law Review.

After graduation, Ariel will serve as a law clerk to a judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before pursuing her longtime goal of becoming a public defender.


Michele Yankson

Andrew W. Mellon Scholar

Michele Yankson graduated with Honors from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2008 with degrees in English and Sociology. During college, she participated in service work from tutoring in under-resourced schools in Detroit and Ypsilanti with the America Reads program, to promoting campus discourse on issues of identity as a dialogue facilitator for Michigan's Intergroup Relations.

After graduating, Michele joined Miami Teaching Fellows to serve as a middle-school teacher in a school designated as high-need. While planning and implementing lessons for Reading and Language Arts, she learned the most invaluable ones from her students and their community. In 2010, Michele founded the Miami chapter of Stand-Up For Kids Don't Run Away program. Through this program, she worked towards curbing Miami's substantial population of homeless youth through education and outreach within schools.

During the summer of her 1L year, Michele worked in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. There, she helped prepare investigations concerning issues of juvenile justice, prisoner's rights, and police misconduct. Michele is interested developing an understanding of how to best serve marginalized and disconnected groups through the legal system.

Michele was born and raised in and near Detroit, Michigan to immigrant parents from Ghana.

Daniel Yu

Daniel graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2011 with a degree in Accounting. During college, Daniel worked with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, helping cultivate a passion for both Asian American activism and providing direct legal services to communities of color.

During his 1L year, Daniel externed with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, working with domestic workers who were trafficked into the country. He also worked as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, helping them obtain orders of protection against their abusers. In the summer, Daniel will be working at the East Bay Community Law Center; where he will provide direct legal services to the community through unlawful detainer defense, eviction clinics, and tenant’s right workshops.

Daniel is excited about using his legal education to advance the rights of marginalized communities.

Alyson Zureick

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar

Alyson is committed to using human rights legal and advocacy strategies to support marginalized groups in the United States and abroad to vindicate their rights and to shift the dominant social narratives that repress and undermine human rights.

As a student advocate in the NYU International Human Rights Clinic, Alyson researched and co-authored a human rights report, Nourishing Change, calling for the US government to strengthen crucial safety net programs and to embrace rights-based approach to the crises of hunger and food insecurity in the United States. Alyson is currently a member of the NYU Reproductive Justice Clinic, where she works on legal challenges to state laws that penalize women for using controlled substances while pregnant.

While at NYU, Alyson has also worked on issues of human rights and international law at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in Nairobi and at the US Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.

Prior to law school, Alyson worked extensively on issues of violence against women and women’s access to reproductive healthcare as a rape crisis volunteer at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City; as a grants officer with the International Rescue Committee in Sierra Leone; and as program associate with the Global Advocacy Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. After law school she will be clerking on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Class of 2015

Amanda Bass

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and/or Criminal Justice

Amanda’s passion for social justice led her to law school where she has developed an interest in how the tools, methodologies, mechanisms and discourse of the international human rights movement can inform civil, political, and economic rights struggles in the United States. In particular, she is interested in exploring how to use the law as one tool among many—including community organizing, robust political activism, and movement building—to advance racial and economic justice.

Prior to law school, Amanda worked as a community organizer in Macon, Georgia where she focused her efforts on African American voter registration. As a 1L, she served as an advocate with the Suspension Representation Project and as a member of Law Students for Human Rights. During her 1L summer, Amanda interned with the Worker Justice Center of New York where she assisted workers with wage and hour claims, participated in community know-your-rights workshops, and gained experience in class action litigation against employers for gross violations of federal and New York labor law.

As a 2L, Amanda has developed her legal research skills and enriched her knowledge of international human rights law and legal practice through NYU Law’s Global Justice Clinic. There, she worked on the legal team representing a victim of the US extraordinary rendition and secret detention program in his claim before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In addition, she works as a staff editor on the Review of Law & Social Change.

Amanda plans to return to Georgia during her 2L summer where she will work as a Human Rights Intern with the Southern Center for Human Rights. Her work will focus on death penalty litigation, prison-condition monitoring, parole advocacy, and criminal justice reform.

Emma Clippinger

WilmerHale Scholar

Emma graduated from Brown University in 2009 with a degree in Comparative Literature. Following a summer internship with the Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative in Rwanda, Emma co-founded Gardens for Health International in 2007. The organization partners with rural health clinics to provide agricultural solutions to the problem of chronic malnutrition. Since its inception, the organization has received numerous accolades, including awards from Echoing Green and Ashoka. Brown awarded Emma a Starr Social Innovation Fellowship to support her work with Gardens for Health International and an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship to support her work with the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health. While at Brown, Emma was a founding member of the Brown Social Innovation Initiative.

Following her graduation from college, Emma served as Executive Director of Gardens for Health International for three years. During this time, she developed a strong interest in access to land as it relates to access to food and, ultimately, health. She intends to use her law degree to advance global economic and social justice.

Emma grew up in Cambridge, MA. She is looking forward to living in New York City for the first time.

Zachary Dorado

Andrew W. Mellon Scholar

Zachary graduated from Fordham University in 2012 with Departmental Honors in English and Sociology. He completed a thesis on literary censorship trials and received a “Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Commitment to Service and Social Justice” and a “Certificate of Accomplishment for Outstanding Leadership and Service to the University.” He participated in and later assisted with “Urban Plunge” at Fordham which introduces incoming student to NYC through direct service work and social justice education and was a founding member of the Justice Council at his campus.

Zachary spent two years on his campus’ mock trial team. He later tutored refugee students living in NYC with the International Rescue Committee and interned with community organizers at Housing Conservation Coordinators. He also completed a clerk internship at the Plymouth District Court and a paralegal internship with the Bronx office of the Children’s Law Center. He hopes to continue to explore social injustice by working with indigent tenants in NYC.
Zachary is originally from Sandwich, Massachusetts where he began his interest in Social Justice while in high school by becoming a founding member of “In Good Company,” which uses techniques from the “Theatre of the Oppressed” to spread awareness through theater to community and school groups.

Brooks Emanuel

Brooks Emanuel graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Georgia in 1999, with an Honors Interdisciplinary Studies Major: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in US Society.

After a career as a professional dancer and choreographer (hip hop, African, and modern), including work with companies in New York City and Atlanta, in 2007 Brooks became executive assistant to the director of Georgia Rural Urban Summit, a coalition of 50 progressive groups. In this role, he lobbied at the Georgia General Assembly and became involved in the progressive advocacy community.

After a stint in Boston serving on several political campaigns, Brooks returned to Atlanta to work with the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. As Director of Legislative Services, he works directly with the House Minority Leader and Whip, other Caucus Members, progressive advocates, and other lobbyists to promote Caucus legislative priorities and defend against the most egregious right-wing legislation. During the 2010 decennial redistricting process, he helped mount the Democratic legislative and legal challenge to racially divisive Republican-drawn House maps.

Brooks has worked on a broad range of issues including immigrant, reproductive, and labor rights; protections for working parents, welfare recipients, homeowners, and tenants; funding for public education; and death penalty abolition.

Anna Estevao

Lindemann Family Public Service Scholar

Anna is looking forward to a career in indigent defense and criminal justice reform. While at NYU, she has been exploring different aspects of the criminal justice system, from police practices and criminal defense, to sentencing reform and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions. She is a student advocate in the Community Reentry and Reintegration Clinic and a research fellow with the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, where she is assisting with the launch of a new clemency center working to identify legal avenues for the early release of people serving draconian sentences. She spent her 1L summer with the Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans, LA, and will spend her 2L summer with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia in their Special Litigation Division.

Before law school, Anna visited New York State prisons and interviewed inmates as an intern with the Prison Visiting Project of the Correctional Association of New York. Her interest in the effects of incarceration led her to the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she assisted litigation concerning the torture and detention of detainees, targeted killing, extraordinary rendition, and government secrecy and surveillance.

Anna grew up in Kearny, New Jersey.

Sophia Gebreselassie

William and Mary Sterling Scholar

Sophie graduated from Brown University in 2005 with a BA in International Relations with a focus on Economic Development. She has spent her time since supporting efforts to improve the health, prosperity, and equity of communities around the world.

Sophie became inspired by the law’s ability to bolster international development efforts while managing the communications of The World Justice Project (WJP), a non-profit organization that works to advance the rule of law. At the WJP, she led media efforts on five continents, and managed the launch of the WJP Rule of Law Index®, a tool to measure countries' adherence to the rule of law. Conveying the connection between the rule of law and development goals and publicizing the project's grassroots successes gave her new perspective on the law’s ability to empower communities. Prior to the WJP, she worked at cause-oriented communications agency, supporting the firm’s international development and global health projects. After college, she volunteered copy-writing services for development projects and worked in Ethiopia building a public health website.

Sophie was raised in Maryland by parents native to Ethiopia. She is excited about gaining a new set of tools to continue her advocacy on behalf of marginalized communities.

Rebecca Hufstader

Starr Foundation Scholar

Rebecca graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in English Literature and Spanish. She began volunteering on Claire McCaskill’s campaign for the US Senate during her first semester of college and immediately caught the political bug. Over the next four years she interned on numerous campaigns and organized teach-ins, protests and voter registration drives in her role on the Executive Board of the College Democrats.

After graduation, Rebecca moved to Pennsylvania to work on Joe Sestak’s campaign for the Senate. Following the election, she took her passion for electoral organizing and her Spanish skills to the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition in Philadelphia. As a Program Coordinator, she organized pro bono Citizenship Days and managed an effort to register newly naturalized citizens to vote. She also coordinated the organization’s advocacy in opposition to state level anti-immigrant legislation and developed a deep interest in immigration policy.

Rebecca grew up in Storrs, CT. She looks forward to using her law degree to represent low-income immigrants, and ultimately hopes to help craft or advocate for fairer and more practical immigration laws.

Diane Johnston

Sinsheimer Service Scholar

Diane graduated from Emory University in 2007. While in school, she worked with student groups and local organizations serving immigrant and low-income communities in Atlanta and in her home state of Massachusetts. Diane graduated early to travel in Latin America, developing her Spanish and volunteering with local non-profit agencies.

After returning, she taught ESL in Atlanta, provided counseling to high-risk youth in Brooklyn and worked as a paralegal in Staten Island Legal Services’ Homeowner Defense Project. Her years at SILS advocating on behalf of low-income homeowners to prevent unnecessary foreclosures convinced her that she could use the law to better serve marginalized communities.

Diane plans to continue working towards economic justice for low-income individuals and groups who are normally unrepresented in consumer debt defense, housing issues, and worker’s rights litigation. She worked at a plaintiff-side labor and employment firm during her 1L summer and as a 2L, she is working at Make the Road through the Litigation, Organizing and Systemic Change clinic and at the Urban Justice Center through the Community Development and Economic Justice clinic. She is street law chair of NYU’s National Lawyers Guild, co-chair of Law Students for Economic Justice, and Admissions chair of the Women of Color Collective.

Andrew Jondahl

Coben Scholar

Andrew graduated summa cum laude from Boston University in 2007 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After graduation, Andrew moved to Senegal, West Africa, where he served for two years as an agroforestry volunteer in the Peace Corps, working with rural farmers to incorporate trees into existing agricultural systems. He spent a third year with the Peace Corps in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, as a communications and volunteer support specialist, developing a series of iPod training videos for the greater development community and leading innovation in the program’s pre- and in-service trainings.

After returning to the United States at the end of 2010, Andrew continued to work in public service as a consultant for New York-based non-profits Malaria No More and NetGuarantee. He served as Malaria No More’s mobile health (mHealth) specialist, helping to design malaria awareness campaigns that capitalized on an expanding mobile phone market in Africa. With NetGuarantee, Andrew worked to apply innovative financial mechanisms to international funding processes to expedite the delivery of health commodities to malaria-endemic countries.

Andrew grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota and is excited to explore ways in which mobile devices can be used to protect civil rights, both domestically and abroad.

Julie Krumwiede

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Women or Children

Working from an intersectional anti-oppression mindset, Julie plans to focus her practice on holistic criminal defense for indigent individuals engaging in or affected by sex work; queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming folks; drug users, dealers, and those with street-based lives and livelihoods. Much of her passion stems from years of overnight, harm-reduction outreach with street-based survival sex workers and her case management work with low-income folks seeking abortion access and reproductive health services.

In law school, Julie sought out opportunities to better learn how to address the variety of intersecting issues – legal and otherwise – that face public defenders’ more marginalized clients. During her 1L summer at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Julie worked with low-income trans* people and trans* people of color in tackling immigration and status-related barriers to basic health, safety, and economic rights. While co-chairing the school’s LGBTQ student group and the student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild in her second year, Julie also participated in the Family Defense Clinic, where she directly represented parents accused of abuse and neglect and worked to reunite their families. Julie is can’t wait to finally dive into public defense as an intern at the Brooklyn Defender Services her 2L summer.

The passion doesn’t stop there, however: she is also energized by her love for pugs, doilies, and female rap artists.

Jehan Laner

Doris C. and Alan J. Freedman Scholar

Jehan graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011, with a double major in Political Science and Communications Studies and with a minor in Civic Engagement.

Her involvement with public interest law began when she interned with AmeriCorps serving as a JusticeCorps member at the Stanley Mosk Resource Center for Self-Represented Litigants in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. As a volunteer, she provided direct legal assistance to indigent litigants throughout all stages of their family law actions. Following her work with the courts, she studied with the UCLA’s Center for American Politics and Public Policy in Washington, DC, where she interned with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. While at the ABA she provided legal information to detainees in immigration custody.

Throughout her work in college, Jehan began to see a need for bilingual services in the law and the barriers to the judicial system that many people encounter. She hopes to use her law degree to empower traditionally marginalized communities.

Jehan grew up in Whittier, California, and graduated from Whittier High School. She is excited and grateful for this opportunity to continue her education at NYU.

Julia McCarthy

Jacobson Public Service Scholar for Women, Children & Families

Julia graduated in 2008 from Georgetown University with a degree in history and minor in biology. While at Georgetown, she captained the lightweight women’s rowing team and co-founded the culinary club.

After graduation, Julia joined Teach For America in New Orleans where she taught second grade. Despite New Orleans’s strong culinary culture, Julia saw students, 99% of whom qualified for free lunches, subjected to nutritionally-deficient meals, so she investigated sourcing healthier, local food. Julia researched policies affecting the National School Lunch Program, started a community garden, and helped the District resource teacher develop a healthy eating curriculum.

Realizing the problem of healthy food access for low income communities was greater than the school lunch program, Julia secured an internship at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to better understand supply-side barriers. At NSAC, Julia advocated for inclusion of provisions to promote healthy food access in the Nutrition Title of a 2012 Farm Bill and helped craft redline language for marker bills. With a law degree, Julia hopes to work for a policy organization that advocates for adequate, healthy food for children in low income communities.

Julia spent most of her school years in the states, but calls Tokyo home.

Hannah McDermott

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Women or Children

Hannah was born and raised in rural upstate New York, where she became interested in providing legal services to immigrant farmworkers. Hannah’s interest in workers rights led her to Cornell University, where she majored in Industrial and Labor Relations. Her passion for immigrant rights, human rights, and workers rights grew throughout college and during time spent in Egypt and Jordan.

As a 1L, Hannah became involved with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program where she was able to file a Request for Reconsideration for an Iraqi family’s refugee application. She also became involved in the Coalition of Law and Representation. During her 1L summer, Hannah worked with the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) in Bangkok, Thailand, where she conducted research on state anti-trafficking policies, the human rights impact of anti-trafficking service providers, and methods of accountability for both state and grassroots organizations. As a 2L, Hannah is part of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, where she is representing a young woman trying to remain in the United States with her husband and children, and is serving as counsel to The International Youth Association (TIYA). She is also a staff editor for the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy.

Hannah hopes to work to promote equality and prevent exploitation of immigrant workers in the US and abroad. She hopes to spend her 2L summer litigating violations of the employment laws that protect migrant farmworkers.

Hannah Mercuris

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and/or Criminal Justice

Hannah graduated cum laude from Columbia University in 2010 with a degree in Anthropology and Human Rights. During college, Hannah led education initiatives and activism campaigns with Columbia's Amnesty International chapter to demand accountability for torture, stop violence against women, and close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Hannah also interned with the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, where she supported research efforts on corporate social responsibility and sexual violence.

After graduation, Hannah moved to Washington, DC and assisted a small law firm, Burke PLLC, in cases against private military contractors for fraud and complicity in the torture at Abu Ghraib prison. Hannah also worked on litigation addressing the failure of the military to ensure justice and protection for members of the military who were raped or sexually assaulted. In the year before law school, Hannah worked as a legal assistant with the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and volunteered with Sanctuary for Families.

Hannah is proud to be from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she attended Germantown Friends School. In law school, she hopes to continue her work at the intersection of civil liberties and armed conflict and on inequality in the justice system.

Jack Nelson

Jack is passionate about creating sustainable and equitable communities in urban and rural areas across the country. He believes that strong health and environmental protections, increased access to affordable housing, and smart land use and development planning can reduce poverty and improve quality of life.

Before law school, Jack spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Oslo, Norway, where he researched environmental politics in the context of the welfare state. He then worked for two years at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC. During his 1L summer, he was a Ford Fellow in the Climate and Air program of the Environmental Defense Fund. As a 2L, he is a research fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, and a student advocate with the Environmental Law Clinic at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He plans to spend his 2L summer at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, a public interest environment and land use law firm in San Francisco. At NYU, he is also a board member of the American Constitution Society, active in OUTLaw and the Unemployment Action Center, and a Staff Editor on the Law Review.

Jack hopes to pursue a career in impact litigation and community organizing with an advocacy organization working to advance environmental and economic justice.

Brence D. Pernell

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Women or Children

A commitment to improving public education for low-income and students of color inspired Brence to come to law school. He is particularly passionate about drawing from his own education experience in Blackville, South Carolina, a rural and mostly African-American community he still calls home.

Since beginning his legal career at NYU, he has become interested in how to effectively combine tools from the direct services, litigation, policy, and legislative advocacy arenas—as well as partnership with the private bar—to bring about comprehensive social justice reform.

During his 1L summer, Brence worked as a summer associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, where he spent much of his time on pro bono matters. His work included research support for a lawsuit involving racial profiling by the New York City Police Department and completing a report on the harms of preserving diplomatic immunity against human trafficking claims.

Brence spent the first half of his 2L year interning at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (LDF) in the Education Group and his second half completing the Community Development and Economic Justice Clinic. Outside of the classroom, Brence serves on the board of the Education Law & Policy Society and as a staff editor on the New York University Law Review, among other activities.

Brence hopes to use his law degree to bring about meaningful social change in the sphere of public education for students with backgrounds similar to his.

Joshua David Riegel

Joshua spent seven years working for the American Civil Liberties Union, first in its Women’s Rights Project, and most recently as the senior paralegal in its Racial Justice Program. While at the ACLU, he assisted with impact litigation and other advocacy aimed at leveling structural barriers to equality that disproportionately and adversely impact women, girls, and communities of color. From 2011 to 2012, he also facilitated a weekly support group for LGTBQ residents in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn as part of Queers for Economic Justice’s Shelter Project.

Born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, Joshua graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a BA (2002) and MA (2004), where he was a Barbara Wallace Cornwall Scholar. As an undergraduate, he studied history and cultural anthropology and, as a graduate student, studied women’s history with an emphasis in feminist and queer political thought.

Through his studies and professional endeavors, Joshua has become deeply interested in the history and development of the law as it relates to the mediation of power, the administration of difference and recognition, and the regulation of low-income and queer communities of color. As an attorney, he looks forward to a career advocating for economic and criminal-justice reform.

Seth Silverman

Sullivan & Cromwell Scholar

Seth is passionate about innovative and scalable solutions to big challenges. Whether through policy or social enterprise, he aspires to continue working at the leading edge of international development and environmental challenges. Motivated by new approaches to intractable problems like climate change and global food insecurity, he is excited about the ways in which his legal education can enhance the impact of his work.

Since arriving at NYU, Seth has sought out ways to assimilate his emerging legal training with these long-standing passions and aspirations. In his 1L year, he trained as a volunteer tax counselor, traveling by bush plane to rural Native Alaskan communities on an Alternative Spring Break trip and learned about the challenges to and benefits of delivering professional services in remote settings. He also joined, InSITE, a graduate student fellowship for students interested in technology, entrepreneurship, and venture capital and currently serves as its Vice President for CleanTech. He has performed researched on state and Federal clean energy policies through NYU’s Guarini Center on Environmental and Land Use Law and was awarded a Fellowship through the Center for his 1L summer internship in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget where he assisted in reviewing food, health, labor, and energy regulations at the Federal level. Seth supported the Natural Resources Defense Council in ongoing litigation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in Maine as part of NYU’s Environmental Law Clinic and is researching the balance between policies that promote financial inclusion and consumer financial protection in India.

Prior to law school, Seth worked in seven countries across four continents and in the nation’s capital. Immediately before law school, he served as Operations Manager in Kenya for the One Acre Fund, which is helping hundreds of thousands of the hardest working farmers grow their own way out of poverty. As a policy analyst in DC, he supported the White House Council on Environmental Quality in its efforts to move towards a first-ever national adaptation strategy. He hopes to continue this work – moving back-and-forth between policy and practice – with the tools to make an even bigger impact in the future.

Adrienne Warrell

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and/or Criminal Justice

Adrienne aspires to spend her legal career fighting against urban poverty and homelessness. She believes passionately in promoting economic justice and ending discrimination against minority and disadvantaged communities, including persons experiencing mental illness and formerly incarcerated persons.

As a 1L, Adrienne interned with the Legal Aid Society Homeless Rights Project, working with families in the New York City shelter system and assisting with impact litigation on behalf of shelter applicants and Hurricane Sandy survivors. Adrienne spent her 1L summer researching voting rights and learning about legislative advocacy as a Ford Foundation Fellow at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. She will spend her 2L summer at South Brooklyn Legal Services securing fair housing and government benefits for HIV positive and LGBT clients. Adrienne also serves as a staff editor for the Review of Law & Social Change and a board member for two NYU student practice organizations: Suspension Representation Project and REACH (Research, Education, and Advocacy to Combat Homelessness).

Adrienne’s long-term goal is to increase access to affordable housing, opportunities for employment, and social services for low-income, urban communities. She is interested in exploring these goals through work experience in direct civil legal services, impact litigation, and policy reform.

Matthew Wasserman

Matt is committed to working to remedy the inequities of the criminal justice system. His passion for criminal justice reform was sparked by his work investigating allegations of police misconduct prior to law school, where he saw firsthand how the burdens and benefits of policing were distributed.

At NYU, Matt is a student advocate in the Civil Rights Clinic, where he works on §1983 actions about police practices for the New York Civil Liberties Union. He is also a staff editor on Law Review and co-chair of the Prisoners’ Rights and Education Project. He spent his 1L summer with the Orleans Public Defenders and will spend his 2L summer with the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Matt hopes to use his legal training to fight against mass incarceration. He plans to work at the intersection of race, class, and the criminal justice system through indigent defense, impact litigation, policy reform, and grassroots organizing.

Class of 2016

Juan Caballero

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Juan graduated from Yale University in 2012 with a BA in History. During his undergraduate career Juan discovered his passion social justice. He began working with the Latino community in New Haven through Junta for Progressive Action. As the political action chair for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Atzlan, he organized students on projects to expand bilingual resources in public schools and a municipal identification card program. In 2010, Juan worked with students from around the state of Connecticut to form a statewide network of students and advocates of immigration reform. This organization would become Connecticut Students for a DREAM and would promote increased access to education for immigrant students by hosting college access workshops and campaigning for the state and federal versions of the immigration reform.

Following graduation, Juan continued his development as an immigrants’ rights activist during his year in Mexico on a Fox International Fellowship. His research into the international political ramifications of US immigration policy will inform his future career as an immigrant’s rights lawyer. His experience as an advocate has inspired him to view law as a powerful resource for defending the rights of marginalized communities.

Aimee Carlisle

A native Californian, Aimee grew up in Los Angeles and has lived in Elk Grove, Davis, and Oakland. Aimee graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Davis in 2010, completing her BA in Linguistics and Spanish with minors in Japanese and Middle East/South Asia Studies. Aimee wrote an honors thesis and received a Department Citation for Outstanding Performance in Linguistics, the Leslie Campbell Award for Outstanding Senior, and the “Gold” Community Service Award. She worked in the California Assembly’s Chief Clerk’s Office and as a Jesse Unruh Assembly Fellow before exploring policy advocacy a nonprofit law firm.

Aimee’s greatest passion is community empowerment: in college, she tutored low-income students and volunteered as a peer educator and president of Students Against Sexual Violence. Currently, she volunteers with Women Escaping a Violent Environment and serves on the board of African Queens Dance Company. All of these experiences, combined with her proficiency in Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, French, and Louisiana Creole, have inspired in Aimee a desire to utilize legal advocacy strategies to strengthen community voices and support self-empowerment. Aimee will use her JD to build on her family’s legacy of participating in civic activism as a means of eliminating oppression.

Anne Carney

Sinsheimer Service Scholar

Annie graduated with distinction from Yale University in 2009 with a degree in Political Science. During college, she served as managing editor of the undergraduate international affairs magazine, the Yale Globalist, and worked in the Ugandan Parliament. She has spent the last four years as a high school English teacher.

Annie joined Teach for America after graduation and taught literature at a high school in West Helena, Arkansas, a small town in the Mississippi Delta. In her second year, she served as a learning team leader for first-year TFA English teachers. When she returned to the Northeast, she joined the staff of Newark Collegiate Academy, the KIPP high school in Newark, NJ, where she helped lead the school’s new writing initiative and coached first-year writing teachers. At NCA, she also coached the cross-country team to – well, not victory, but at least some smiles.

Annie is from Pennington, New Jersey. She plans to use her law degree to ensure that students and their families have access to civil legal representation, so that they can take full advantage of their educational opportunities.

T. Patrick Córdova

Filomen M. D'Agostino Scholar for Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and/or Criminal Justice

Patrick Córdova is a dedicated public servant and civil rights advocate. Patrick grew up in Orlando, Florida and graduated from Winter Park High School’s International Baccalaureate program. He aims to become a federal prosecutor after law school. As an undergraduate at Stanford University, Patrick became a strong voice for mental and emotional wellness as the live-in director of the Bridge Peer Counseling Center, a member of the campus wide Climate Change Task Force, and an Undergraduate Senator. Upon graduating, the University recognized his efforts by awarding him the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel and J.E. Wallace Sterling prizes.

Between his junior and senior years of college, he interned at the Bronx Community Pride Center. Charged with developing social service programs and providing care to clients, he frequently confronted public policy that adversely affected LGBT Bronx residents in seeking healthcare, housing, and education. Since graduating from college in 2009, Patrick has sought to repeal those discriminatory policies by electing LGBT advocates to positions of public influence. As finance director for Steve Pougnet for Congress and Gary Schiff for Mayor of Minneapolis, and as the Midwest fundraiser for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, he helped generate the necessary resources for candidates to win.

Michael Danna

Lindemann Family Public Service Scholar

Michael grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, and is interested in issues of public policy, health care, and community development. Michael graduated from Brown University in 2011 with a degree in Public Policy. While at Brown, he first began to work on improving access to comprehensive health care with the organization Health Leads, which works with families in urban hospitals to address non-medical issues contributing to poor health. This experience set him on the path of working in community-oriented advocacy for improved health care access. After law school, he hopes to work to improve the complex health care system through direct representation, impact litigation, and policy advocacy.

Since graduation, he has continued to focus on health policy as a paralegal with the litigation department of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. At PPFA, Michael worked primarily on patient access issues arising from state-level health regulations and government funding programs. This work was complemented by continued volunteering in the community, both in the legal services department of Whitman-Walker Health, an HIV/AIDS clinic, and with Court-Appointed Special Advocates for Children of DC, as an advocate representing the interests of a youth in the family court system.

Olivia Ensign

Andrew W. Mellon Scholar

Olivia is a native Californian, hailing from Woodland, but after five years on the East Coast is slowly becoming converted. Olivia graduated with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 2012 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Interested in the relationship between these two fields, Olivia completed her honors thesis on the origin and evolution of Peace and Conflict Studies and Security Studies. At Swarthmore, Olivia took on a number of leadership positions, including Co-President of the Student Council. Throughout college, Olivia was involved in a range of advocacy groups as well as mentoring programs for local middle school and high school students. Over the course of her undergraduate career, Olivia held a number of internships at nonprofit organizations including the Center for Progressive Leadership and the Center for American Progress. She hopes to focus on International Human Rights Law while at NYU.

Following graduation, Olivia spent a year as a Program Assistant with the Quaker United Nations Office in New York City. There she focused on the peace-building actions and architecture of the United Nations, as well as on the process surrounding the creation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

Leo Gertner

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Women or Children

Leo Gertner most recently served as deputy director at Service Employees International Union Local 615 in Boston, where he handled grievances and helped oversee contract enforcement for 15,000 janitors and security guards across New England’s offices and universities. He also worked previously as a case manager in a prisoner reentry program, helping people returning home from prison find housing and employment.

His interest in public service began in earnest during college on Chicago's South Side as president of Students for Human Rights, a campus group. He was awarded a grant by the University of Chicago's Human Rights Program to co-author a report on police brutality, racial discrimination, and gentrification while working at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs with a broad coalition of community groups. The final report was presented to the United Nations' Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Leo sees economic inequality and poor working conditions as barriers to democratic participation. After law school, he wants to provide legal services to workers in ways that empower them to take on various forms of injustice in their communities.

Leo attended the University of Chicago and majored in Anthropology. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was three years old.

Claire Glenn

William and Mary Sterling Scholar

Claire Glenn grew up in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, and graduated from Simley Senior High School. Claire graduated first in her class from Michigan State University in 2011, with a BA in Social Relations and Policy from James Madison College and a B.M. in Piano Performance from the College of Music. She has received numerous awards for her social justice research and advocacy, including the Regional Economic Innovation Center Author Award, Gillette Fellowship, Michael G. Schechter All-University Endowed Award, and MLK Advancing Inclusion through Research Award. She is dedicated to a career in public service law that holds businesses accountable, protects communities and stakeholders, and incentivizes responsible and sustainable corporate behavior on a global scale.

In 2010, Claire conducted research in Nicaragua, producing a senior honors thesis on health care in indigenous communities along the Pearl Lagoon, an area impoverished by corporate exploitation, civil war, and government neglect. Motivated to contribute to sustainable business development, Claire returned to Michigan and accepted an internship at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) to launch the Microenterprise Network of Michigan. After graduation, Claire worked as Special Projects Coordinator at CEDAM, managing program development, community projects, and advocacy for three statewide initiatives.

Kathleen Kavanagh

A native of Newton, Massachusetts, Kathleen (Katie) Kavanagh published an award-winning children’s book, Home is Where Your Family Is, at the age of ten. It is the story of a young immigrant’s journey to America. Katie graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University in 2004 and moved to San Francisco shortly thereafter, where she worked as a legal assistant, and later a paralegal, for the Immigration Practice Group at Duane Morris LLP. During this period, she was also a volunteer teacher for La Raza Community Resource Center’s Citizenship Program. In 2008, Katie moved to Buenos Aires to intern with La Fundación Comisión Católica Argentina de Migraciones, an NGO providing legal and social services to asylum applicants in Argentina.

Katie is a committed advocate for immigrants’ rights. Most recently, she spent over four years as a paralegal at the San Francisco immigration firm Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, where she specialized in deportation defense, asylum, family-based immigration, and cases involving victims of domestic violence and other crimes. Katie is fluent in Spanish and volunteers as a translator for the online micro-lending platform Kiva. She is excited to expand her capacities as an advocate for immigrant communities through her legal education.

Tiffany Lin

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Women or Children

Tiffany was born in Texas, and raised in Houston, Taipei, and Dallas. Tiffany graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a M.S. in Earth Systems and a B.S. in Biology. Tiffany’s interest in social justice began at Stanford, where she was involved in volunteer activities and outreach to the homeless population. Following law school, she hopes to defend the rights of women and children in international human trafficking.

Following graduation, she moved to East Palo Alto, where she is currently co-directing the O’Keefe Family Center, a nonprofit that offers services to the low-income immigrant community such as after-school tutoring, teen leadership programs, and adult ESL classes. In 2010, she worked briefly at the International Rescue Committee in San Jose, where she piloted the Community Outreach Program to Chinese immigrants and asylees. She has been working as an Environmental Consultant at Insignia Environmental since 2010, where she prepares CEQA- and NEPA-based environmental analyses for utility and renewable energy projects. For the past three years, she has been volunteering as a mediator with the Santa Clara County, where she mediates day-of-court small claims cases for the Santa Clara County Superior Court of California as well as community cases through the County’s Dispute Resolution Program.

Steven Marcus

Filomen M. D'Agostino Scholar for Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and/or Criminal Justice

Steve grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with an undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. At Princeton, Steve served as the Chair of the Pace Council for Civil Values, a committee dedicated to improving civic engagement on campus. The recipient of a Martin Dale Award, Steve traveled to Azerbaijan to study and perform classical Azeri piano music.

For his commitment to social justice, Steve was awarded the Charles W. Puttkammer Fellowship for Prisoner Reentry at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, in Newark. During two years at NJISJ, Steve drafted municipal and state-level legislation relating to criminal histories, designed in-prison and post-release programs, helped secure a gubernatorial pardon for a client, and worked directly with individuals returning home from prison. While living in Newark, Steve mentored an amazing kid through Big Brothers Big Sisters. After completing his fellowship, Steve worked as a paralegal in the Appeals Bureau at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he wrote and submitted briefs to the New York Appellate Division. Following law school, he plans to continue working in criminal justice, with an emphasis on reducing barriers to successful prisoner reentry.

Amelia Marritz

Amelia grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and has lived in Philadelphia since 2008. Amelia graduated summa cum laude from The University of Pittsburgh in 2008 with a degree in Sociology, a minor in Portuguese, and a certificate in Latin American Studies. As a student, Amelia completed an individual research project in rural Ecuador and spent six months studying in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. While at Pitt, she also interned at a program helping Burmese refugees resettle in Pittsburgh, and spearheaded a boycott of a college bar featuring a drink special with a racial slur.

She began her public interest legal career at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, advocating for low-income migrant farmworkers as a paralegal in PLA’s Pennsylvania Farmworker Project. In 2010, Amelia moved to Community Legal Services, PLA’s sister agency, where she worked for three years advising and representing tenants in subsidized housing. In 2011, she helped start and co-chaired the U-Visa Project for the National Lawyers Guild Philadelphia Chapter. The Project helps immigrant crime victims petition for legal status. Amelia is excited to use her legal education to continue working on social justice issues affecting immigrant communities and other vulnerable populations.

Brian Perbix

WilmerHale Scholar

Brian Perbix was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. A 2009 graduate from Grinnell College with honors in Biology, Brian was awarded the President’s Medal for superior scholarship and leadership. At Grinnell he served as the Program Coordinator for the College’s Stonewall Resource Center and also completed internships with several community-based nonprofits, including the Streetworks Collaborative in Minneapolis, and the African Network for Integrated Development, in Sénégal.

For the past three years, Brian has put his passion for protecting the environment and empowering communities to work organizing against coal pollution with Prairie Rivers Network, an Illinois not-for-profit river conservation and advocacy organization. As a grassroots organizer, he worked on several campaigns opposing coal mines & coal-fired power plants, fought for tighter regulation and oversight of coal ash dumps, and helped build the Heartland Coalfield Alliance, a regional collaboration of community and advocacy groups working to advance a just and sustainable transition to a clean energy future in the Midwest. After law school Brian intends to continue to work as an environmental advocate, and hopes to focus on the intersecting issues of energy, water and environmental justice.

Meghna Philip

Filomen M. D'Agostino Scholar for Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and/or Criminal Justice

Meghna was born in India, and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from Brown University in 2011, with a BA in International Relations. Meghna first gained experience organizing around issues of economic justice and criminal justice reform while advocating for the rights of homeless and low-income communities in Rhode Island. She cultivated a broader understanding of the relationship between the criminal justice system and economic marginalization as an intern at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and received a Slavery and Justice Research Award at Brown to study the history of Rhode Island’s first state penitentiary.

After graduating, Meghna spent a summer at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she analyzed the impact of the fiscal crisis on prison, probation, and parole systems around the country. She then worked as a Research Associate at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she helped lead the Center’s work against the rise of new debtor’s prisons, and worked on projects related to sentencing policy, foreclosure reform, and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Meghna hopes to use her law degree to expand access to good credit and finances, especially in communities that are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system.

Alexis Piazza

Starr Foundation Scholar

Alexis graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2007 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). At CMC, Alexis served as his class president, advocating for greater scholarship opportunities for future students, more visits from distinguished speakers, and safer campus policies for social events. During that time period, Alexis also worked for US Senator Patty Murray’s reelection campaign in 2004, earned a Keck Fellowship to travel and study European Union reforms in Eastern Europe in 2005, and interned for International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006, an organization that advocates for more just and effective criminal justice systems in developing countries.

After graduating college, he spent 1 year interning with CARE in Lima, Peru, working to develop microfinance projects for farmers in the country’s poorest regions while teaching English to Peruvian youth. Since returning to the United States in 2008, Alexis has spent the last 5 years teaching middle school math in Los Angeles through Teach for America. During this time, Alexis taught predominantly underserved Latino students at both traditional public and charter schools, leading his students to achieve significant measurable growth. He has also served as a department chair, teacher leader, instructional coach, professional learning community leader, and School Director during that time.

Alexis was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, where he also coaches soccer to 8th graders and serves on his local neighborhood council. Although he will certainly miss the classroom, Alexis plans to focus both his study of law and his work after law school on education reform.

Chelsea Plyler

Coben Scholar

Chelsea graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2008, with a BA in English and Political Science. At UCLA, Chelsea served on the Undergraduate Students Association Council and Project Literacy.

Chelsea worked for four years at the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Boston, Johannesburg, and New York City. She has worked with governments, donors, regulators, pharmaceutical companies, and other manufacturers to increase access to health commodities in resource-poor markets. In South Africa, she managed a team within the National Department of Health to implement a set of policies aimed at increasing access to HIV/AIDS services throughout the country. Most recently, she worked on pricing and procurement deals for vaccines and helped to structure market interventions that de-risk supply and facilitate new supplier entry in developing-country vaccine markets.

Chelsea was born and raised in the Los Angeles area and has lived in New York City for two years.

Pooja Shethji

Raised in Avenel, New Jersey, Pooja is happy to be spending three more years in the tri-state area. She hopes to use her law degree to promote economic opportunity for low-income and minority communities. Pooja graduated from Yale University in 2012 with distinction in Political Science. While in college, she led or co-led legislative advocacy campaigns for in-state tuition for undocumented students, statewide education reform, and national healthcare reform as an active member of the Yale College Democrats. Pooja spent her summers at organizations including the Eagleton Institute of Politics, within its Program on Immigration and Democracy, and Demos, where she assisted with reports addressing economic security and access to affordable higher education.

After graduation, her interest in the link between financial stability and workplace fairness led her to Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP, a plaintiff-side labor and employment law firm in New York City. She provided support for employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases, among others, during her time there as a paralegal.

Matthew Tysdal

Sullivan & Cromwell Scholar

Matthew grew up in Sturgis, South Dakota. He is looking forward to living in New York City to get his legal education before returning to his native state to fight for his policy goals. Matthew graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2011 with a degree in economics and political science. A member of the Army National Guard, his belief in public service led him to apply for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, becoming South Dakota’s recipient in 2010.

After graduating, Matthew took a job with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission as a utility analyst. There he worked primarily on rate increase filings made by the investor owned utility companies in the state, striving to keep electric rates as low as possible while ensuring South Dakota ratepayers received safe, adequate, and reliable service. He views the law as an essential tool in addressing some of the stark challenges faced by South Dakotans, particularly on the Native American reservations. Blending law and smart public policy, Matthew hopes to effect changes in the criminal justice system to craft a smarter and more rehabilitative institution.

Ke Wu

Filomen M. D’Agostino Scholar for Women or Children

Ke was born in Wuhan, China and raised in Tucson, Arizona. A graduate of University High School, she has been deeply influenced by the liberating potential of a progressive public education. While studying biochemistry as a Flinn Scholar at Arizona State University, Ke travelled around the world investigating education initiatives on a Circumnavigators Club Foundation Grant. This research inspired her to deepen her understanding of issues in domestic education, leading her to join Teach For America after graduating in 2010.

As a chemistry teacher at John C. Fremont High School in South Los Angeles, she witnessed how school reconstitution, followed by large budget cuts, left students disillusioned with schooling. In response, she engaged students in discussions about the role of social inequity in education. These discussions shaped her role as the Academic Decathlon coach, through which she witnessed the transformation of her decathletes into social justice advocates. These experiences, along with the prolific encouragement of her students, led her to pursue an MPhil in Education on a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and now, a law degree. With a legal background, she hopes to improve the capabilities of all children, starting with the right to equal access to education opportunities.

Dian Yu

Doris C. and Alan J. Freedman Scholar

Dian graduated with honors from Harvard University in 2011 with a degree in History and Literature. During college, Dian was involved with the Harvard Phillips Brooks House Association as a leader of the Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment Program. Dian also served as a Regional Representative for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program/Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund in the greater Boston and Philadelphia areas.

Following graduation, Dian served as a Harvard Center of Public Interest Careers Fellow in New York City and helped launch an international grant-making venture philanthropy foundation. Consequently, Dian worked for EKO Asset Management Partners, an investment and advisory firm specializing in environmental markets and natural infrastructure. Dian helped manage the origination pipeline for EKO’s Green Carbon Fund and analyzed emerging natural resource related markets.

Dian worked for Acumen Fund in Nairobi, Kenya, helping to build financially sustainable organizations that deliver affordable goods and services that improve the lives of the poor. She conducted early-stage sector mappings of education investment opportunities for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Dian was born in Beijing, China and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After law school, she hopes to advance her interest in law and social innovation.