Our student fellows are chosen through a competitive selection process to conduct research into topics of diversity, inclusion, and belonging under the guidance and supervision of center leadership; work on research-backed projects to advance the Law School's efforts on diversity and inclusion; and contribute to the Meltzer Center's sharing of expertise on diversity and inclusion with external organizations.
Fall 2023 Fellows
Rachel Lefkowitz (she/her) is a third-year student at NYU School of Law. Originally from Springfield, Virgina, she grew up in Northern Virginia. She graduated with distinction from University of Virginia in 2021 with a BA in English and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. As part of her Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies major, she helped author a chapter of a book regarding sexuality as it intersects various other identities. While at UVA, Rachel worked as both a tutor to local elementary students and a hotline volunteer at a Sexual Assault Resource Agency where she provided crisis intervention to survivors of sexual assault at the time the support was needed and directed survivors to resources and possible next steps. During the summer of 2020, Rachel worked at the Workers' Rights Clinic in Washington, D.C. helping workers who had been laid off from their jobs or for other reasons due to the pandemic had found themselves unemployed and needed legal help.
At NYU Law, Rachel has served as a Staff Editor on the Review of Law and Social Change Journal and as a Teaching Assistant for the Lawyering Program. She spent her 1L summer at the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office in Trenton, N.J. working in the Crimes against Children division. During her 2L year, she did prosecutorial work at the Eastern District of New York and spent the summer as an intern at Kelley, Drye, & Warren LLP working on civil litigation cases. As a student with a disability, Rachel is extremely dedicated to increasing inclusivity at the Law School for students with disabilities. As a 3L, Rachel will be the chair of the Disability Allied Law Students Association for the second year in a row and the Community Education and Accessibility Coordinator on the Review of Law and Social Change Journal as part of her mission to make the Law School a place of belonging for students with disabilities.
Veronica McLean (she/her)
Veronica is a second year JD student at NYU School of Law. She grew up in Garner, North Carolina and completed her bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in Economics and History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college, she pursued her interest in education reform through Teach for America as a high school English teacher with the Dallas Independent School District. While teaching, she earned her master’s degree in urban education from Southern Methodist University in 2022. Veronica’s interests continue to include education reform and a newfound passion for working to increase the opportunities for Black law students to start a career in corporate law.
At NYU Law, Veronica served as a 1L Representative and advocate for the NYU Parole Advocacy Project, where she did parole preparation work. Her 1L summer was at Winston and Strawn as a 1L Diversity Scholar, including a secondment at U.S. Bank, working on internal and regulatory investigations. This year, Veronica is the Private and Professional Development Co-Chair for the Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA) as well as the Administrative Co-Chair for the Parole Advocacy Project. Veronica was also nominated and selected to participate in the law school’s Clerkship Diversity Program. She will also be joining the Family Defense Clinic and is excited to serve as a Student Fellow for the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Briana Thomas (she/her)
Briana is a third-year JD student at NYU School of Law. As a native New Yorker from East New York, Brooklyn, she is passionate about Black liberation, community, mentorship/education, and civil rights. Her legal interests include a mix of civil and impact litigation and administrative/regulatory law. At NYU Law, Briana is a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar on the Diversity Committee. She was also the Co-Director of the Suspension Representation Project (SRP), Communications Chair for the Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA), and a Research Assistant to Professor Deborah Archer. During her 1L summer, she interned with the New York Legal Assistance Group in their S.D.N.Y. Federal Pro Se Legal Clinic helping pro se clients with the civil litigation process. She spent her 2L summer at Ropes & Gray LLP working on mostly civil litigation and pro bono work involving racial justice and immigration assistance. Briana graduated from Georgetown University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Economics. One of the most formative experiences there included working at the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access supporting BIPOC, low-income, and first-generation students. She is excited to continue the work of diversity and equity as a Student Fellow for the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Olivia Turk is a second-year JD student at NYU School of Law. Her research interests include the intersection of corporate law and diversity and inclusion, specifically as it relates to the increasing number of black women in positions of leadership. She is also interested in how the rise of ESG measures impacts that intersection. At NYU Law, she is a member of the Black Allied Law Students Association and is an NYU Law Admissions Student Ambassador. In her second year at the law school, she will be a Partnership & Diversity Co-Chair of NYU Law Women. This year, she will also be in the International Transactions Clinic. Olivia spent her 1L summer as a Summer Associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. Prior to that, she was an SEO Fellow at Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton in New York. Olivia graduated from Yale College with degrees in Political Science and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Prior to law school, she worked as a legal analyst at a private family office.
- Past fellows
ZAKIYA LEWIS (she/her)
Zakiya Lewis (she/her) is a third-year student at NYU School of Law. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in Boston, Massachusetts with her mother as part of a large, working-class West Indian extended family. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2015 with a B.A. in Sociology and African American Studies. Zakiya worked extensively with Harvard’s student-run non-profit, The Phillips Brooks House Association, as a volunteer, counselor, and later co-director of one of its summer academic programs for low-income children in her hometown of Dorchester. After college, she continued to pursue her interest in education reform as a middle school science, math, and special education teacher with KIPP DC for five years. While teaching, she earned her Master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership from American University in 2018. As a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar, Zakiya is excited to learn how to utilize the law to impact systemic inequalities and continue to advocate for marginalized and underrepresented communities.
At NYU, Zakiya has served as a Staff Editor on the Review of Law and Social Change Journal and a Teaching Assistant for the Lawyering Program. She spent her 1L summer at Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem working in both their Family Defense and Criminal Defense Practices. During her 2L year, she did parole preparation work with the Racial Justice Clinic and spent the summer as an intern with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund working on 4th Amendment education cases. As a 3L, Zakiya will be joining the Juvenile Defender Clinic and is excited to serve as a Student Fellow and Research Assistant for the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging.
YIMENG WANG (they/them)
Yimeng is a second-year J.D. student at NYU School of Law. They were born in 西安 and grew up on Treaty 13 land, the Traditional Territories of the Anishinaabe peoples, Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Yimeng graduated from the interdisciplinary Arts & Science Program at McMaster University in 2021 with a Combination in Political Science and a Certificate for Applied Ethics and Policy. At McMaster, they were the Coordinator of the Women and Gender Equity Network (WGEN), a student-run peer support service centering the needs of survivors of sexual violence, folks under the trans umbrella, and all individuals who experience gender-based oppression.
As a first-year student, Yimeng was a 1L Representative with Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) and worked with other board members to develop political education around abolition that challenged and supplemented the 1L curriculum. This year, Yimeng is a Community Activism Chair in the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association, as well as a member of the Coalition on Law & Representation (CoLR) and the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA). This past summer, Yimeng interned at Just Futures Law, an immigrant and women of color led movement law organization that focuses on how new mass surveillance technologies intersect with the policing of immigrant communities. Yimeng is interested in immigration work grounded in support for open borders and Indigenous sovereignty. They hope to use their time in law school to learn how lawyers can better support community activists and grassroots organizations.
As a Student Fellow, Yimeng is interested in exploring how a lack of collective memory and quick turnover in student activists enables universities to repeat and reuse tactics that undermine student organizing efforts. Yimeng is particularly interested in focusing on how the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement has been addressed by university administrations. Yimeng aims to bring an abolitionist lens to their work as a Student Fellow.
SAM YU (he/him)
Sam Yu is a second-year J.D. student at NYU School of Law. He grew up in China and Singapore and completed his bachelor’s degree in political philosophy and in economics at the University of Virginia. Prior to law school, Sam was a senior analyst at Analysis Group, where he applied quantitative methods to business and economic issues.
During his 1L year, Sam was a student fellow at the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy, where he explored cutting-edge topics in intellectual property and antitrust. As a Jacobson Scholar in Law and Business, Sam is also passionate about legal issues that affect businesses and business developments that shape the law, as well as how law and business can work together to bring positive societal changes. Driven by this interest, Sam also serves as a staff editor on the Journal of Law and Business. During his 1L summer, Sam was a law clerk at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP where he focused on regulatory investigations. Sam also worked on entity formation issues for a nonprofit dedicated to providing the disabled with free prosthetic implants.
Sam is really excited to leverage both his legal and data analysis skills to examine ways to improve diversity at workplaces and to contribute to the Center’s ongoing projects.
Nikita is a third-year J.D. candidate at NYU School of Law. Originally from New Zealand and having grown up in Asia, her academic and professional background is in international political/economic advocacy and research. Nikita worked as a contract research analyst for the United Nations Mine Action Service and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, developing recommendations for international actors and governments on human rights and public health issues. Nikita’s 2L summer was spent at White & Case in their commercial litigation practice, working on cross-border arbitrations and disputes, as well as on numerous pro bono lawsuits against municipalities for political and civil rights violations. She also continued her work with international organizations and governing bodies, assisting global institutional actors in improving multinational disaster risk management strategies or investigating systemic labor rights abuses. Her 1L summer was at Skadden Arps as a 1L Diversity Summer Scholar, including a secondment to The Bronx Defenders Civil Action Practice, where she advocated for low-income New Yorkers on housing and benefits cases.
While at NYU, Nikita has served as an executive board member of the Suspension Representation Project, as the Criminal Law Curriculum Coordinator for the High School Law Institute, and as a teaching assistant to Professor Samuel Issacharoff. She also holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Barnard College of Columbia University. Nikita hopes to apply her background in international and domestic political and civil rights advocacy to her time with the Center, working on research at the intersection of diversity studies and issues of democracy and governance.
Alma is a second-year J.S.D. candidate at NYU Law. Her doctoral research, under the supervision of Professor Jeremy Waldron, offers a jurisprudential analysis of the relationship between state institutions and law as social practice. She is particularly interested in contributing to legal scholarship that treats non-state legal practices, like customary an indigenous law, on their own terms, rather than through a state-centered lens. Previously, she has published on issues in constitutional law and transitional justice. Alma is originally from South Africa, where she obtained her professional legal education and lectured in contract law and economics.
Alma has previously worked at a grantmaking collective in Colorado where she familiarized herself with a diverse array of grassroots social justice organizing in the U.S. context. In New York, she presents a monthly conversation series on issues in public ethics and she was also part of the Brooklyn Public Library’s 28th Amendment Project in 2020. At NYU Law, Alma serves as Co-Chair of the African Law Association and on the Committee for Academic Career Preparedness, where she hopes to bring issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging into the conversation around the future of legal academia. She has previously served as the Senior Articles Editor of the Review of Law and Social Change and in various teaching and research assistantship positions. Alma is a firm believer in human potential, also our potential to change, learn, and grow. She is excited to contribute to the center’s incredibly formative work in nurturing the growth of more inclusive communities that can be called home by all their members.
VICO FORTIER (they/them)
Vico Fortier (they/them) is a third-year JD student at NYU Law. Vico spent their 1L summer at the Gender Equality Law Center, where they provided direct services to clients impacted by discrimination on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. They spent their 2L summer at the Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Unit. They have also interned at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund through NYU’s LGBTQ Rights Externship. Vico is interested in the intersections between employment law and LGBTQ+ rights.
At NYU, Vico is a student advocate for the Identity Documents Project, a student-run project assisting transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex individuals with obtaining legal name changes and documents that display the correct name and gender marker. In addition, they were a teaching assistant for Professor Edith Beerdsen in the 1L Lawyering program. They have also served on the boards of the Public Interest Law Students Association and OUTLaw.
Vico graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 2017 with a degree in English. Prior to law school, they worked as an immigration paralegal at the Law Firm of Moumita Rahman, PLLC.
Abhilasha Gokulan is a third-year J.D. student at NYU School of Law. Her research interests include the intersection of corporate law and diversity and inclusion, particularly as it relates to increasing the number of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in positions of leadership and its implication on transactions and corporate governance measures.
At NYU Law, she is a Senior Executive Editor of the New York University Law Review. In her third year of law school, she will be in the International Transactions Clinic and a Contracts Drafting Teaching Assistant for Professor Naveen Thomas. She has previously served as the Co-Chair of the South Asian Law Students Association and a Contracts Teaching Assistant for Professor Kevin E. Davis. As a 2L, Abhilasha was also selected as an ABA Women in M&A Scholar.
Abhilasha spent her 2L summer as a Summer Associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. Prior to that, she was a 1L Scholar Summer Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Estée Lauder in New York.
Abhilasha graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2018 with a degree in Economics, and minors in Public Policy and Quantitative Social Sciences. She was raised in College Station, Texas and Little Rock, Arkansas and is a proud graduate of Little Rock Central High School.
Myra Hyder is a third-year J.D. student at NYU Law. She hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of health and public interest law, and is passionate about increasing representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as justice-impacted folks, in the legal field.
At NYU, she is involved with Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), Health Law & Policy Society, and the Review of Law & Social Change. This spring, she will participate in the Brennan Center Public Policy Advocacy Clinic. Myra spent her 2L summer as an intern with the HIV Law Project, working on public benefits, health law, and immigration matters for low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Prior to that, she was an intern with NYU Langone Health’s Office of General Counsel.
Myra graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2016 with a degree in Classics and Philosophy, and from Columbia University in 2017 with a Master of Science in Bioethics. Prior to law school, she worked as an Institutional Review Board Analyst at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
DAVID SUNSHINE HAMBURGER
David Sunshine Hamburger is a second-year JD student at NYU Law. At NYU, David interned at the Furman Center, where he investigated the legal framework and standards by which a court would judge a city’s affirmative race-conscious housing policy. He has also worked as a research assistant for Professors Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow on their upcoming book. David is the current Vice President of I-PREP, a student organization that runs weekly mock interviews for young professionals with intellectual disabilities, as well as the Vice President of the Gender-Based Violence Advocacy Project (GVAP). In addition, David serves as the Supervising Coordinator for the NYU/St. Francis Project (part of Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC)), where he manages a team of tutors who provide academic support for formerly incarcerated students attending St. Francis College. David is also a proud member of the N.Y.U Review of Law & Social Change.
Before coming to NYU, David spent years in the education space. After graduating Columbia University in 2016 with a degree in Political Science, he completed a Fulbright-Nehru English Teaching fellowship in Kolkata, India where he taught first generation learners at Kaliash Vidyamandir, a government-run Bengali-medium secondary school. Following his time in India, David moved to Chile where he was a visiting researcher at Universidad Diego Portales and led a study into how Chilean public schools taught students about indigenous history and culture. Upon returning to New York, he was a Work First Foundation Fellow where he facilitated GED prep, employment skills, and youth mentorship classes to unemployed Brooklynites at a government-contracted back-to-work organization.
David is looking forward to his upcoming summer internship at the US Department of Labor Solicitor General’s Office in New York City as well as another fruitful three semesters at NYU. After graduation, he hopes to use his skills to promote equal justice under law. David is grateful for this unique learning opportunity and the chance to contribute to the Center’s crucial initiatives.
Hailing from sunny Singapore, Chihiro is a third year J.D. student at NYU School of Law. She spent her 2L summer at the New York and Hong Kong offices of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and her 1L summer as a diversity scholar in the New York office of Katten Muchin Rosenman.
During her time as a law student, Chihiro has devoted herself to issues of diversity, inclusion and belonging, focusing on how these issues operate within specific institutional structures. At NYU Law, she has served as a staff editor of the Journal of International Law and Politics, the Partnership and Diversity Co-Chair for Law Women, the Professional Co-Chair of APALSA, an assistant legal advisor to the Republic of Nauru in the United Nations Diplomacy Clinic, a teaching assistant for the 1L Lawyering program and a research assistant for Professor Frank Upham. Her research for Professor Upham focuses on gender discrimination law and policy in Japan, while her final legal memo for her clinic examined how funding structures within the United Nations could become more inclusive for developing nations with small-scale economies. At the Center, Chihiro plans to continue research on how different institutional structures could operate to incentivize different behaviors vis a vis engagement with diversity and inclusion. In particular, she plans to expand on a law school-wide survey on diverse students’ experiences during the law firm recruitment process that she initiated on behalf of Law Women and All-ALSA this year.
Chihiro holds a B.A., with distinction in Comparative Literature and Film, from Yale University. Prior to law school, Chihiro worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and as a regional manager of a boutique investment advisory firm focusing on investments across Southeast Asia and Japan. She is excited to tie her research at the Center to her personal experiences as a woman of color in different institutional settings across the globe. She hopes to work towards making the language and conversations surrounding diversity, inclusion and belonging itself more inclusive, applicable, and approachable to all communities.
Shruti Kannan is a second-year J.D. student at NYU School of Law. She previously worked on corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives in the technology sector. Most recently, she ran global programs and oversaw the Latin American regional diversity and inclusion strategy at Uber Technologies.
At NYU Law, Shruti is a staff editor on the Journal of International Law and Politics, a Human Rights Scholar through the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice conducting research with Professor Meg Satterthwaite, a representative for the Public Interest Law Students Association, and a participant in the Women of Color Collective's 2L Leadership Program. This spring, she will also be an intern for the ACLU's Women's Rights Project.
Shruti spent her 1L summer at the nation's largest pro bono law firm, Public Counsel, with their Women's and Girls' Rights Project. Prior to her time in tech, Shruti graduated with honors from Scripps College, earning a B.A. in Neuroscience with a minor in Creative Writing.
A native of New York City, Jessica is a third-year Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. In both her research and activism, she has devoted herself to combating discrimination, focusing primarily on gender discrimination and reproductive justice. At the Center, she plans to expand upon this work through research on authenticity, stereotype threat, and mental disability. At NYU, she has served as Co-President of NYU Law Women, on the board of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, as an advocate in the Family Defense Clinic, and as a research assistant for Professors Erin Murphy and Kenji Yoshino. She is currently the Senior Articles Editor Liaison for the Review of Law and Social Change. Jessica spent her 2L summer at the Center for Reproductive Rights in their United States Legal Program and her 1L summer at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Educational Opportunities Section. Following law school, she will clerk for the Honorable Allyne Ross, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and the Honorable Cheryl Ann Krause, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Jessica holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in History from Yale. She also completed an an MPhil in Gender and Women’s Studies from Trinity College Dublin where she studied as a George Mitchell Scholar. She looks forward to using her background in law and social science to further diversity and inclusion efforts in the law school and beyond.
Mariana is a third-year J.D. candidate at NYU School of Law. She spent her 2L summer at the New York office of Milbank LLP and her 1L summer at Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth. Born in Colombia and raised in Miami, Mariana is passionate about the representation of women of color and the Latinx community in the law.
Prior to law school, Mariana was an immigration paralegal at LegalHealth, New York Legal Assistance Group’s medical-legal partnership. She worked to advocate for low-income, immigrant New Yorkers so that immigration status was not a barrier to care.
At NYU Law, Mariana has served on the board of the Latinx Law Student Association as a Professional Development Co-Chair and will be participating in the Pro Bono Scholars Externship Program in the spring. She holds a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. After law school, Mariana plans to pursue a career in project finance, with a specific interest in renewable energy infrastructure projects in Latin America.
Clarence Okoh is a third-year law student at NYU invested in building the capacity of marginalized communities to achieve justice. Prior to law school, Clarence was as an AmeriCorps volunteer serving economically distressed communities in the Deep South, and afterwards, worked as a policy advocate at a Washington D.C. think-tank. During his time in law school, Clarence has served as Co-Chair for the Black Allied Law Students Association, as a Colloquium Editor for the Review of Law and Social Change and as a Student Fellow with the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law. He has participated in the Criminal Defense and Re-Entry Clinic and will participate in the Civil Rights Clinic this Spring. He spent his summers interning with the Advancement Project and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Clarence received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and is a proud native of Birmingham, Alabama. After law school, he intends to pursue a career in civil rights and racial justice legal advocacy.
Shlomit is pursuing her LL.M at NYU School of Law, where she focuses on civil rights and labor and employment law. She earned her LL.B at the Faculty of Law of Tel Aviv University, Israel in 2011, and has been a practicing lawyer since. Shlomit practiced for three years at N. Feinberg & Co, Israel’s leading labor and employment law firm. Her commitment to social justice and education led her to become a clinical instructor and advocate at the Workers’ Rights Clinic at the Tel Aviv University, where she worked prior to moving to NYC.
At the legal clinic, Shlomit worked to strengthen underprivileged and exploited employees of various backgrounds, using different legal tools such as litigation, promoting statutory amendments, and providing legal consultation to workers attempting to unionize. She also mentored students who worked beside her on the clinic’s cases and projects. Shlomit is eager to continue her work in advancing employees’ rights in the U.S. through public interest law and academic research.
Shlomit also holds a BA cum laude in art history and history from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She has worked in the education departments of many museums, and currently enjoys visiting the wonderful museums and galleries of New York City.
Erin Shea holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law along with a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Journalism and Political Science. She is the co-chair of the Mental Health Law & Justice Association and the co-chair and co-founder of the Disability Allied Law Students Association.
Prior to coming to law school, she worked as a legislative assistant, aiding in state-level lobbying efforts for health care, elder law, disability advocacy, and state-aided organizations, researching proposed legislation of interest and assisting in the preparation of testimony for bill hearings. She has taught English in Chile and volunteered with La Lengua de mi Barrio, an organization that conducts nonviolence trainings and hip hop exchanges in Colombia and the U.S.
For her 1L summer she interned at the ACLU’s Disability Rights Program in San Francisco, where she worked on special education and voting rights cases and researched police practices and guardianship issues. This summer, she will be interning at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, DC.
Wenny Shen is a third-year J.D. Student at NYU School of Law and uses she/her/they/them pronouns. Wenny grew up in Shanghai, China and is the first member of her immediate family to finish a college degree. She graduated magna cum laude with high honor in philosophy from Mount Holyoke College in 2019. She is interested in contemporary metaphysics and the intersection between law and philosophy.
At NYU Law, Wenny was an Admissions Co-chair of OUTLaw, an event co-chair at Law and Business Association (LBA), 2L leadership Program fellow of Women of Color Collective (WoCC), and a 1L representation of If/When/How (Lawyering for Reproductive Justice). She was a staff editor on NYU Journal of Law & Business and was a member of the submission Committee. Currently she sits on the NYU Law Career Service Student-Faculty committee.
During her 1L summer, Wenny received the New York City Bar Diversity Fellowship and worked as a Summer Law Fellow at the Manhattan DA’s office. She spent her 2L summer at Dechert LLP in New York. She was also a research assistant for Professor Erin E. Murphy and will be a teaching assistant for Law, Business & Society in Fall 2021 at NYU Stern School of Business.
Taro Tanaka earned his law degree at Keio University Law School, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class and received multiple scholarships.
After he passed the Japanese national bar examination, he joined Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, (one of the largest full-service international law firms in Tokyo) with a focus on both international and domestic disputes. In 2015, he joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where he belongs to the dispute resolution group. He has substantial experience with international arbitration, such as representing a Japanese energy investor before the ICSID in an Energy Charter Treaty arbitration against Spain.
Alongside his work, Taro has been playing a central role in achieving LGBTI equality in Japan. He represents the marriage equality petition before the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (the only time this argument has been made in Japan). He gave numerous presentations/lectures to, among other things, the Diet members as well as companies and schools. He took a lead on launching the UN’s Corporate Standards of Conduct on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI in Japan upon request by the OHCHR. His effort and experience were chronicled in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun (one of the most prominent national newspapers in Japan).
To pursue an LLM in International Legal Studies, Taro has been granted a Fulbright Scholarship as well as a Dean's Graduate Award from NYU Law. His primary focus is human rights for the LGBTI community.
Kayla is pursuing a joint JD/MPA at New York University School of Law and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. At NYU, she is the Chair of the Black Allied Law Students Association, an Intake Manager for the Student Representation Project, and a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. Prior to going to law school, Kayla worked as a Social Studies Teacher in Brooklyn, New York, teaching students who were over-age and under-credited, and later at the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Academy II, teaching 7th and 8th graders. Kayla continues her work as an educator by coaching teachers as a New York City Teaching Fellows Field Consultant. This past summer, Kayla worked on police accountability and mixed income public housing as a Legal Intern at BPI in Chicago, Illinois. She is currently a clinical student in Columbia University's Center for Public Research and Leadership's Education Consulting program. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and African American Studies from Yale University and an M.S.Ed in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
EVA MARIA VIVERO
Eva María Vivero is a third-year J.D. candidate at NYU School of Law. She is originally from Ecuador, but immigrated to central Ohio as a child and grew up all over the globe. She spent her 1L summer working on international human rights and climate change litigation matters at Just Atonement Inc., and her 2L summer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in New York. She is interested in climate justice, the Latin American region, and the politics of identity.
At NYU Law, Eva was Co-President of the Latinx Law Students Association (LaLSA), where she focused on her passion for Latinx representation and empowerment in the law. She served as a student member of the Academic Personnel Committee and Sustainability Committee, and as a Staff Editor on NYU Law’s Tax Law Review.
Eva graduated Magna Cum Laude from Denison University with a B.A. in Religion and a concentration in Power and Justice Theology. She served as a Religion Department Senior Fellow and wrote her senior thesis on capital punishment through the lens of liberation theology. She hopes to use her international background and experiences as a Latina immigrant to further the Center’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
VICTORIA (TORI) WENGER
Tori is a 3L Furman Public Policy Scholar at New York University School of Law, where she focuses on civil rights and racial justice law and policy. Tori served as a staff editor for the N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change and as chair of NYU's Prison Reform and Education Project. She worked as a research assistant for multiple professors on projects regarding gerrymandering and Native American rights, and as a student fellow for the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law.
Tori spent her 1L summer working on death penalty defense with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, and her 2L summer working on housing affordability policy in California’s Bay Area with the nonprofit law firm Public Advocates. As a 2L, Tori participated in NYU's Civil Rights Clinic, and in the Racial Equity Strategies Clinic at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). For her final semester, she will participate in NYU’s Racial Justice Clinic with the ACLU.
Tori graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2014 with a degree in African American Studies and Government. Prior to law school, she worked as a communications associate for Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. After graduation, Tori will join LDF as a Skadden Fellow, where she will pursue impact litigation and community engagement efforts to expand voting rights and registration in the South.
Hadiya is a third-year J.D. student at NYU School of Law. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst earning a dual-degree in Psychology-Neuroscience (BS) and Anthropology (BA) alongside a Certificate in Culture, Health, & Science. Upon graduation, Hadiya was named a 21st Century Leader by the University of Massachusetts. The following year, she returned to Amherst to earn her Master's in Public Policy, where she focused on her passion for women's health policy and health equity.
At NYU Law, Hadiya was the Co-Chair of BALSA, in the Civil Rights Clinic, and the PILSA Diversity & Outreach Co-Chair. She is currently Executive Editor on the Law Review, a Birnbaum Women's Leadership Fellow, and will be a Pro Bono Scholar in the spring.
During her 1L summer, Hadiya was a Public Policy Litigation & Law intern at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She spent her 2L summer as a Summer Associate at Sidley Austin LLP. Hadiya is interested in litigation and advocating for health justice in communities of color.