Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship Program

With a commitment to building the next generation of human rights advocates, the Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship provides two exceptional NYU Law graduates with an opportunity to spend one year working with an innovative human rights organization. The fellows are placed in partner organizations that engage in: (1) legal empowerment / community-driven justice; (2) protecting the rule of law and defend dissent; and/or (3) NYU institutes and centers that promote human rights.

Fellows are paid a competitive salary of $60,000 with benefits. The Bernstein Institute supports fellows throughout the year with fellow-centered events, mentoring and consultations with staff, and inclusion in a supportive community of human rights advocates.

2024-2025 fellowship placements will be at Beyond Legal Aid and The Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Visit our How To Apply page to learn more about the about the organizations and the application process. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through November 10, 2023.  

Our 2023-2024 fellows are working with RFK for Human Rights and Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU Stern School of Business!

2022-2023 Fellows:

Photo of Iva Petkova

Iva Petkova

Iva Petkova is a fellow with Namati, a legal empowerment organization that advances social and environmental justice around the world. While at NYU Law, Iva focused on international law, immigration, and human rights research and advocacy. During her 1L summer, she interned with the Refugee Solidarity Network, an organization that advances global legal frameworks upholding refugee protections. She spent her 2L summer as an International Law and Human Rights Fellow with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which promotes human rights and the rule of law in Southern Africa through strategic litigation and capacity building. Through NYU Law’s UN Diplomacy Clinic, Iva was a student legal advisor for the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations, where she assisted the Mission on issues related to climate change and rising sea levels. She has also helped represent asylum seekers and immigrants in New York City and Los Angeles through internships with Brooklyn Legal Services and the Refugee Representation team of Human Rights First. She was a staff editor and article selection editor on the Review of Law and Social Change, and also served on the boards of Law Women and the NYU chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Prior to law school, Iva worked in international development, with a focus on access to education in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. She holds a J.D. from NYU Law and a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights from the University of Connecticut.

Photo of Maria Alejandra Torres

María Alejandra Torres García

Alejandra Torres (she/ella) is a fellow with the Global Justice Clinic at NYU Law graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law in 2022, where she was a Derrick Bell Scholar for Public Service, a Social Sector Leadership Diversity Fellow, a Critical Legal Empowerment Symposium Fellow for NYU’s Bernstein Institute, and a Book Annotations Editor for NYU’s Journal of International Law and Politics. During law school, she was also a student advocate with the Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative, an International Law and Human Rights Fellow at the International Law Commission, a Voting Rights Project Legal Intern at the ACLU, and a judicial intern at S.D.N.Y. In past years, she has worked primarily with immigrants, women, children, and racialized minorities through grassroots organizing, policy analysis, and legal services.

Alejandra graduated summa cum laude from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a self-titled concentration, “Empire and Postcolonial Subjectivity” in 2018. Alejandra was selected to be a speaker at the 2018 Gallatin Senior Symposium where her presentation was titled “Borderlands: U.S. Empire, México, and Postcolonial Mestizaje.” She also obtained a postgraduate Specialization in Human Rights and Access to Justice in Latin America at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2019. She was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and raised in present-day New Jersey (Munsee Lenape land).

Read Reflections from Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellows

graphic with quote from past fellow Madhulika
















Learn More About Our Fellowship Host Organizations