Meet Our Current Scholars
Class of 2018
B.A. Psychology/French, College of William & Mary, 2013.
Sarah was born and raised in Southborough, Massachusetts. She was introduced to social justice at a very young age by her mother, the Executive Director of Romanian Children's Relief (RCR), a nonprofit benefiting the abandoned and handicapped children of Romania. Throughout her youth, she volunteered and fundraised for RCR, and eventually visited the country in 2010 to work in the orphanages and hospitals. Her experiences working with Romanian children affirmed her commitment to educational equity and social justice. Sarah majored in psychology with a focus on the intersection of mental health, early childhood intervention, and poverty. After her graduation from the College of William & Mary, she joined Teach for America where she taught 8th grade in eastern North Carolina. There, she witnessed first-hand the numerous injustices her students faced, inside and outside the classroom, due to immigration policy, healthcare access, racial discrimination, and income inequity. Sarah is looking forward to learning more about poverty and special education law at AUWCL.
B.A. International Affairs/Economics, The George Washington University, 2012.
Originally from South Jersey, Rupalee moved to Washington, DC to study International Affairs and Economics at The George Washington University. While studying abroad at the London School of Economics, coursework in environmental economics confirmed her interest in international development issues. She spent a semester in Rabat, Morocco working for an association that provided loans to refugees who were starting small businesses. She also studied Community Peace-building at GWU, through which she created and sustained a dialogue using Nonviolent Communication with Washington, DC high school students. After graduating from GWU in 2012, Rupalee worked with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and their training and research arm, the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI) to travel around the country planning legal skills and issue-focused training for state Attorney General staff. Rupalee was inspired by the tireless work of prosecutors who break up human trafficking rings around the country and Assistant Attorneys General who work to protect consumers from fraud and deception. Her work with state attorneys confirmed her desire for a career in public service. While at NAAG, she also volunteered for Justice for Juniors, a group of college students and recent graduates who visit juvenile detention facilities to generate honest conversations about issues important to incarcerated teens. Rupalee is excited to join the PIPS Scholar community and AUWCL, where she hopes to build upon her past experiences, while exploring international human rights and criminal law.
B.A. Latin American Studies/Human Rights, University of Washington, 2009.
Karina is originally from Seattle, where she graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor's degree in International Studies, focusing on Latin America and Human Rights. During her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad in El Salvador, where she spent much of her time teaching English and learning from a rural Salvadoran community. It was there that Karina first became interested in learning about the impacts of migration. After graduation Karina spent time volunteering at a humanitarian aid organization on the Unites States/Mexico border. She also assisted with immigration legal services at a refugee resettlement agency in Seattle. For the past five years Karina has worked alongside immigrants in New York City, which has included work as a paralegal, organizing advocacy efforts, coordinating an adult education program, and developing a worker cooperative incubator. Most recently she was a program director at a settlement house in Queens, New York, where she managed a program that provided support for low-income immigrant families to achieve self-sufficiency and become stronger advocates for themselves and their communities. Karina looks forward to expanding her skills at AUWCL and to more effectively construct programs and policies that bring justice and equity to marginalized populations.
B.A. Anthropology/African Studies, University of Virginia, 2012
Chloe is a Maryland native who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and African studies. While she has always had a passion for community service, she began honing her focus on gender-based violence in Sub Saharan Africa through her undergraduate studies and a public health internship in rural Uganda, where she educated women about family planning. Through her experiences in Uganda, Chloe found that lack of access to education, health services, and the legal system created hurdles that left women vulnerable to violence. This experience led her to pursue volunteer work at a local domestic violence shelter when she returned to school, where she gained a deeper understanding of the links between immigrant rights, legal issues, poverty, and the perpetuation of domestic violence. Chloe also spent several months interning with a non-profit in Washington, DC, where she obtained grants for girls' education in West Africa. Chloe hopes to work on international policy pertaining to women's rights, and is excited for the international human rights focus that AUWCL offers.
B.A. English/History, Furman University, 2014.
Summer is originally from Gainesville, Florida and recently graduated from Furman University with a degree in History and English. Summer was also a member of the Division I soccer program there. As an undergraduate, Summer focused her historical research on the prosecution of crimes against humanity following the Nuremburg Trials. Her interest in human rights further developed when she studied in Southern Africa with a program focused on global health inequalities and childhood development in poverty, specifically the spread of HIV. Upon her return to the states, she began working with a program called AIDS Athens, which serves to address the needs of individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS through supportive services and preventative education and outreach programs. Summer also assisted a pilot project called Law-In-Action, working to guarantee timely release from jail for magistrate and city court detainees, and to enforce the right to free counsel for indigent defendants. Following graduation, Summer backpacked Europe for three months before moving to New York City. There, she spent the past year serving as an AmeriCorps member working with middle school students in an under-resourced neighborhood in Queens, as a tutor and mentor. Summer is looking forward to being in DC and expanding her interests and knowledge in international human rights law.
Class of 2017Christina Moehrle
B.A. American Studies, Minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies, Fordham University, 2011.
Originally from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Christy developed a passion for social justice and immigrants' rights while studying at Fordham University in the Bronx. During her undergraduate career, she volunteered with various community schools and agencies including Cristo Rey High School in Spanish Harlem, Mercy Center, and LIFT the Bronx. After graduation, Christy served as a paralegal assistant in the immigration legal clinic at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in San Francisco as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Since then, she has worked as a Legal Assistant at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, focusing mainly on access to health care for low-income D.C. residents, as well as Social Security Disability benefits appeals. She looks forward to expanding her passion for immigration and poverty law while at WCL.
B.A. Urban Studies, Vassar College, 2009.
Sara joins the PIPS community after spending three years in Sydney, Australia where she was working as a caseworker in the field of child protection, with families from refugee and migrant backgrounds. She learned about the immense challenges displaced persons face and became extremely frustrated with Australia's current policies regarding asylum. Prior to moving to Sydney, Sara lived in New York City where she worked at STEPS to End Family Violence as an advocate/counselor with women, teens, and children who had been affected by domestic violence, many of whom were involved in the criminal justice system. Sara is a graduate of Vassar College, where she became passionately interested in domestic violence issues, the criminal justice system, and how they intersect. Sara served as a counselor with CARES (a 24-hr peer listening service for students affected by abuse), volunteered with the local domestic violence service, co-founded the Vassar Prison Initiative, and worked as the assistant for a program in Otisville Correctional Facility that brought together Vassar students and incarcerated men to foster cross-cultural understanding. She culminated her studies with a senior thesis that explored how incarceration reproduces the dynamics of power and control that most women entering prison have previously experienced in abusive relationships and/or as victims of child sexual abuse. The fatal inequality and institutional violence that Sara has witnessed through each of these experiences has motivated her to pursue a law degree. She is honored to be a part of the PIPS community at WCL and looks forward to learning how to use the law as a tool to address injustice on a broader, more systemic level.
B.A. International Relations, University of Southern California, 2007.
Katherine was born in New York City and grew up in upstate New York. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2007, where she first became interested in international migration. Katherine taught English as a Foreign Language in Argentina and later worked at a non-profit organization focusing on education and social justice in Guatemala. While working in Guatemala, Katherine observed the effects of mass migration to the United States and the impact of deportation on the community. Katherine relocated to the U.S.-Mexico border where she worked as an immigration paralegal for three years with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) serving hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children in detention centers. She gave Know Your Rights presentations to immigrant children ages 5-18, and connected children with pro bono legal representation. Katherine then moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative at Ayuda, a legal and social services non-profit organization serving the low-income immigrant community. Ayuda provides legal representation to immigrant men, women and children from all over the world. During her three years at Ayuda, Katherine represented clients before the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in defensive and affirmative immigration legal proceedings. She speaks Spanish and French. Katherine is grateful for the opportunity to pursue her JD at WCL as a member of the PIPS community. She looks forward to continuing to serve the local immigrant community though pro bono work.
B.A. History, University Of Michigan, 2005
Kristin joins WCL after two and half years with the Immigrant Justice Project, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center that defends the civil and employment rights of immigrant and low-wage workers in the South. As an outreach paralegal, Kristin supported the Center’s complex litigation, helped immigrant workers navigate the legal system, and conducted extensive outreach to workers throughout the Deep South. Hearing countless stories of wage theft, dangerous working conditions, and rampant mistreatment deepened her commitment to serving marginalized immigrant communities and inspired her to continue fighting for workplace justice as an attorney. Prior, Kristin worked as an international observer with Peace Brigades International in Colombia. Based in the volatile Magdalena Medio region, she provided protective accompaniment to threatened human rights defenders as they traveled throughout the countryside, investigating reports of human rights abuse, interviewing victims, and building legal cases. Kristin developed an interest in human rights and immigrant rights while living in Mexico after college. Over the course of several years, she worked as an English teacher, interned at a human rights organization in Mexico City, and volunteered at a school in rural Oaxaca. Upon returning to the US, she interned at the AFL-CIO’s Immigrant Worker Program and later worked as a case manager at Ayuda, a nonprofit organization in D.C., where she provided comprehensive social services to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. Originally from D.C., Kristin is excited to return to her home city and take advantage of the many opportunities available in the area to serve underrepresented immigrant communities.
B.A. History and International Studies, Minor in German Studies, Elon University, 2011.
Originally from the Northern Virginia area, Liz studied History and International Studies at Elon University. During college, Liz spent two and a half years researching international humanitarian law (IHL) in Nuremberg, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka alongside a faculty mentor. She studied the delicate balance between local and international actors in the aftermath of each conflict, and the capabilities and aims of justice or legal follow-up in such situations. The project kindled a deep interest in and passion for IHL and the unique and interesting problems it poses. Following graduation, Liz served three years in various AmeriCorps programs. She spent a year building fences, helping with controlled burns, and responding to disasters on the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team. Liz then moved to Helena, Montana to continue her service with Montana Legal Services Association. There, Liz helped low-income Montanans address their civil legal issues and apply for services like advice from an attorney and referrals to pro bono clinics or attorneys. After a college career focused on international issues, Liz’s AmeriCorps services showed her how much need there is in her own community and gave her a strong interest for work at the local level. Liz hopes to explore her interests in international versus domestic and civil versus criminal law while in school and to define her goals more narrowly
B.S., Neuroscience, University of Rochester, 2012
Naomi Ahsan is from Rochester, New York, and developed her goal of a legal career in public service while pursuing an interest in public health. While completing her B.S. in Neuroscience and minors in Clinical Psychology and Spanish at the University of Rochester, Naomi trained to volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician in the Rochester area. She also undertook a yearlong study of mental health among Middle Eastern Women through the University of Rochester’s Take Five Scholarship. This program included a semester at the American University in Cairo. Prior to graduation, Naomi completed fellowships with Young People For and the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, in addition to serving for a year with the Americorps program Jumpstart in the Rochester City School District. She also worked as a research assistant on projects in the University of Rochester's departments of Clinical and Social Psychology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Psychiatry at the Medical Center. Research in psychiatry related to intimate partner violence, health issues facing the incarcerated, and reintegration after incarceration. This work supported the opening of a transition clinic. Naomi also participated actively in the College Diversity Roundtable, Students for Interfaith Action, and Muslim Students Association. She was recognized by the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership with the Fannie Bigelow Prize for her undergraduate activities. Before beginning her law education, Naomi worked at the Center for Community Change, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to the political empowerment of people of low income, especially people of color, through community organizing. She worked closely with the Executive and Managing Directors on writing projects related to program strategy, development, and antipoverty policy. Naomi found additional inspiration for becoming a lawyer in the Center’s work at the forefront of the national immigrant rights movement, including organizing around comprehensive immigration reform that shaped Congressional debate in 2013. She also researched employment prospects for people returning from the criminal justice system as well as health burdens on poor minority women.
B.A., Global Studies, University of California at Los Angeles, 2011
Born and raised in Southern California, Angela's interest in travel and other cultures grew into a passion for social justice on an international level during her undergraduate studies at UCLA. During her studies, she was a research intern at International Medical Corps, where she analyzed data related to population displacement and climate change, and at Earth Rights Institute, where she assisted in the research and development of an online portal for nonprofits in West Africa. After a summer in New York City studying international organizations, she completed a paper on the conflicting interests of peace and justice in Darfur. She finished off her degree with a thesis on transitional justice in post-genocide Rwanda. Upon graduation, Angela joined an AmeriCorps program, focusing on social justice issues closer to home, and worked as a tutor and classroom assistant for remedial students in Gompers Middle School in the Watts neighborhood of South LA. After completing her service year, she worked briefly at a private immigration law office before joining Asian Americans Advancing Justice as the legal assistant for the Immigration and Citizenship unit where she assisted clients with citizenship applications and provided support to attorneys on other immigration cases. Angela spent the last 5 weeks prior to relocating to DC backpacking through Europe for the second time.
B.A., International Relations and French Literature, Wesleyan University, 2007
Born and raised in Maine, Chris completed his bachelors at Wesleyan University with a B.A in International Relations and French Literature. After graduation, Chris spent two years teaching French before moving to the Middle East where he spent time teaching English in Saudi Arabia and working in an orphanage in a refugee camp in Lebanon. For the last several years Chris has worked at a developmental organization in Palestine, managing projects that focused on youth engagement and community building within the Jordan Valley region of the West Bank. At WCL Chris hopes to pursue international law with a focus on refugee rights in the Middle East. Outside of work, Chris enjoys playing soccer and watching baseball as well as hiking and most anything that involves the ocean.
B.A., Women & Gender Studies and Economics, Wellesley College, 2010
Theresa was born and raised in Boston, MA. Growing up in an immigrant family, she gravitated toward the study of law because she felt that those with legal knowledge had an inherent advantage over communities with limited access. While at Wellesley College, she able to volunteer with organizations that empowered women and girls in high risk communities as well as focus on scholarship addressing Violence against Women policy issues. After graduating, she pursued her interest in policy and government, taking a fellowship at the MA State House through the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative. She then moved down to DC to work as a Paralegal in the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. During her time in DC, she continued her commitment to public interest by volunteering with the DC Pro Bono Program as well as CASA of DC. Theresa moved back to Boston in the Summer of 2012, where she was a fellow on the Elizabeth Warren for Senate Campaign. She will be leaving her paralegal/legal assistant position at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Healthcare Fraud Unit to start at American in the Fall. Theresa is looking forward to pursuing her diverse interests in the field of law and using her legal expertise to serve others.
B.A., Philosophy, Boston University, 2011
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Shahrzad moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 2000. Her experiences of immigration to the United States as well as the recent history of the Iran-Iraq war and its impacts on her immediate family, form the core of her professional interests in international criminal and immigration law. As an undergraduate student at Boston University, she became heavily involved with on-campus activism relating to these arenas. As the president of Amnesty International at BU, she organized several events spotlighting issues of internal displacement in Haiti, human rights in China and freedom of expression in Iran. Moreover, she had the opportunity to work on the establishment of a socially responsible investment committee at BU, with the goal of achieving the university’s divestment from sources involved in war crimes and human rights violations around the world. In the months following her graduation from Boston University, she began working as a legal assistant in an immigration and asylum law firm, aiding individuals from all over the world apply for asylum and lawful immigration status in the United States. Through this work, she helped many who had been left with no reparations or recourse due to failures of the international legal regime, gain some degree of relief. Moreover, in response to the imposition of intensified sanctions, as accompanied by the growing calls of war on Iran in the time after her graduation from Boston University, she began focusing on anti-war, Iran-related activism. In this effort, she found it imperative to create a space in the national narrative on Iran for the recent experiences of many Iranians with war and its impacts during the 1980’s. Through collaboration with organizations throughout the country, she also directed her energies to shedding light on the practical impact of sanctions on the lives of ordinary Iranians. In so doing, she traveled to Iran in March 2012 to document and research these effects. Upon returning, she presented her findings as a speaker in several panels in the Boston area as well is in several independent media. At WCL, she looks forward to exploring the intersection of these issues from a legal perspective and exploring the ways in which a legal education can be a medium for progress in the establishment of more just international and domestic policies.
BAS, Biomedical Science, BA, Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2009
Born in Los Angeles and later raised in Manila (Philippines) and Ohio, Charlotte has a wide variety of experiences that span the public and private sectors as well as healthcare and human rights issues. Charlotte graduated from UPenn with dual degrees in biomedical science and urban studies, a combination that speaks to her thirst for finding practical, social applications in every facet of her work. Her undergraduate research projects for biomedical science were driven by questions about poverty and inequality. During her senior year, Charlotte launched a thesis examining the macronutritional impacts of physical stress among low-income minority women. She also created an original empirical research study that quantitatively demonstrated the dearth of healthy eating options in urban food desserts. Charlotte maintained a strong commitment to public service work after college. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Charlotte found a job with a D.C-based health care consulting firm and regularly pursued community service opportunities in and out of the office. She organized fundraisers for charities and worked as a pro bono consultant for D.C. area nonprofits. Most recently, Charlotte worked in the Philippines as a communications fellow with International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM partners with public justice systems in developing nations to secure justice for victims of human rights crimes. During her time with IJM, she had the privilege of interviewing human trafficking victims and telling their stories through written articles and film. Working for IJM has affirmed Charlotte’s commitment to social justice issues. One of the memories she will always carry with her was telling a victim about the conviction of her trafficker. It was in that moment, when the client broke down in tears of joy, that Charlotte cemented her decision to pursue law school. Charlotte is thrilled to be part of the PIPS and Washington College of Law community. She plans on further exploring her interests in healthcare and human rights issues while at WCL. When not working, Charlotte enjoys exploring D.C. on foot, finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants, running (at a slow pace), watching cheesy movies, and trying to figure out how to use her DSLR.
Class of 2015Alia Al-Khatib
B.A., Psychology and Hispanic Studies, Vassar College, 2008
Alia joins the PIPS community after spending a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a Vassar Maguire Fellow. While in Buenos Aires, she interned at Equipo Latinoamericano de Género y Justicia (ELA), where she researched issues surrounding gender violence and legalizing abortion in Argentina. Alia first began working as an advocate for survivors of violence in college when she interned at a domestic violence shelter and a non-residential domestic violence program. After graduating, she moved to New York City in order to work as a Senior Case Manager in Brooklyn Criminal Court for the Early Victim Engagement Project. In this capacity, she informed domestic violence survivors of their rights within the criminal justice system and advocated on their behalf with the District Attorney's Office and the police. It was during these interactions within the criminal justice system when Alia became aware of the deep class and race injustices that exist within this very system.
Hoping to learn more about criminal justice issues and broader impact change, Alia began working as a paralegal for the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she primarily worked on a class action lawsuit to reform New York State's public defense system. She also contributed to the NYCLU's work related to various civil liberties issues ranging from reproductive rights to immigrants' rights. Alia is excited to continue her work as an advocate for social justice, both at the national and international level.
B.A., Political Science and Minor in Russian/Eurasian Studies, Colorado College, 2009
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Carlie grew up in Hawaii, New Mexico and Colorado. She matriculated at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado with the intention of majoring in biology; however, a course on Middle Eastern politics ignited an enthusiasm for international policy early into her college career which prompted her to major in political science with an emphasis in international relations and a minor in Russian/Eurasian studies. During her undergraduate studies, Carlie focused on state capacity and how decisions made at the national level impact citizens of countries in political transition, particularly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In 2008, she was selected as the Colorado College representative for a non-resident Presidential Fellowship with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress during which time she developed and presented a research paper regarding the psychological implications of the Cold War on current American-Russian relations.
After graduating Cum Laude from Colorado College in 2009, Carlie joined the state staff of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Following a year in the Western Slope Office where she managed a large and varied caseload that encompassed housing, immigration issues, Veterans benefits and Internal Revenue Service cases, Carlie relocated to the main Denver Metro Office to specialize in issues relating to housing, banking and consumer protection. As the foreclosure crisis worsened, her primary area of focus became assisting homeowners who were struggling to avoid foreclosure. By identifying key Congressional liaisons in some of the country's largest banks, Carlie was able to facilitate enhanced communication between the homeowners and their servicers and advocated to ensure that the homeowners were receiving thorough consideration for all available assistance.Through her work in the Senator's office, Carlie developed a passion for direct advocacy which led to her decision to pursue a legal education and work in public interest law. While at WCL, she hopes to continue her work with housing advocacy as well as explore her interest in international policy.
B.A., Political Science and Economics, Trinity University, 2008
Pamela grew up in Garland, Texas. While earning her undergraduate degree at Trinity University in San Antonio, Pamela interned at San Antonio's U.S. Western District Court, the House of Commons in London, and the Supreme Court of the United States. After graduation, she traveled to Ecuador, where she taught a summer school course in an indigenous farming village. Upon her return to the United States, Pamela moved to Washington DC where she served as an Americorps Volunteer. During that year, she worked with So Others Might Eat at Shalom House, a transitional house for DC's homeless adults.
For the past two years, Pamela worked at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut. As a part of the Family Based Recovery Program, Pamela provided in-home substance abuse treatment to parents with young children. She looks forward to continuing her commitment to the community's under-served populations during her time at WCL.
B.A., Hispanic Studies, The College of William and Mary, 2007
Born and raised in Virginia, Lindsay graduated summa cum laude from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia with a degree in Hispanic Studies. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, where she spent most of her time dancing tango and teaching English. She also founded the Swing Dance Club at William & Mary. Lindsay was particularly fascinated by an Immigration, Assimilation, and Ethnicity class that she studied her senior year Upon graduation, Lindsay worked as an immigration paralegal at Greenberg Traurig. She then took a break from legal work to teach English in Liberia, Costa Rica through the government agency "el Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje". She also volunteered with the Migration section of the Pastoral Social Diócesis de Tilarán by assisting with consultations, event planning, and community meetings.
Upon her return to the United States, Lindsay began working as an immigration paralegal at Maggio + Kattar, an immigration boutique in Dupont Circle with a strong dedication to community service. Lindsay's work at Maggio + Kattar convinced her that she was ready to begin her legal studies. She hopes that her experience as a PIPS scholar at WCL will expand her ability to serve the immigrant community globally.
B.A., English, Vassar College, 2010
Sarah grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania and developed an interest in a myriad of social justice issues as a student at Vassar College. As an undergraduate, Sarah had the opportunity to work with different civil rights and civil liberties non-profit organizations. As an intern with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, she prepared reports on juvenile sentencing practices and immigration detention for use in lobbying campaigns at the state level. Sarah also worked at the New York, NY-based Center for Constitutional Rights, where, among other things, she provided research concerning the due process rights of arrestees for use in an amicus brief to the Louisiana Supreme Court. After graduating from college in 2010, she worked for the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network's Community Justice Project, which advocates for the protection and enhancement of the rights of low-wage workers and poor families. At the CJP, she focused on the development of new anti-poverty strategies, specifically those related to postsecondary education and workforce development programs for low-income persons.
Following her time at the CJP, Sarah worked as a corporate legal assistant at a law firm in New York, where her work focused on tracking the implementation of the financial reform legislation enacted in the wake of the financial crisis. Sarah is excited to join the WCL community, where she hopes to continue to explore her interests in domestic human rights, criminal justice reform, and gender issues.
B.A., Human Rights and Sociology, Bard College, 2010
Robert was born and raised in York, Pennsylvania, where he developed an interest in human rights and social justice from a young age. After campaigning extensively through his junior and senior years of high school to raise awareness of the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, Robert continued and expanded his efforts while studying human rights and sociology at Bard College. While in college, Robert went through a police academy and served in the state of Delaware as a municipal police officer. He also volunteered for 3½ years with the Red Hook Fire Company in New York, making the rank of Second Lieutenant before leaving the department to attend WCL. During his undergraduate studies, Robert became increasingly interested in the relation between international human rights law and U.S. domestic policy. His undergraduate thesis involved in-depth research of human rights violations at U.S. immigration detention facilities, a topic which he has continued to explore since graduating Bard.
While a student at Bard, Robert founded a small human rights research center and began developing a few research initiatives and other projects, including an interdisciplinary journal, which aims to foster discussion and broaden public understanding of human rights by incorporating arts, academics, law, politics, and current events into an accessible medium for a wide readership. While pursuing a JD/MPP at American University, Robert plans to continue running and expanding his research center—and to start working with the many great resources already available in the DC area—with the goal of developing effective ways to bring about domestic human rights reforms in state and federal arenas.
B.A., Political Science and Women's Studies, George Washington University, 2010
Shaina has been involved in public service work for much of her life, beginning in her home state of Rhode Island, where she held her first internship for the Office of the State Attorney General at age seventeen. A year later, after interning for the Office of the Governor, she left Rhode Island for Washington DC to attend college at George Washington University. While at GW, Shaina was involved in a variety of student organizations and causes. She continued to learn about government and politics, serving as an intern for Senator Jack Reed, and she discovered her love for nonprofit work through an internship at Carpenter's Shelter, a homeless shelter in Alexandria, VA. In the summer before her senior year, Shaina began work at District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), a domestic violence housing program in Washington DC. For the next three years, she served in a variety of different positions in the organization. As an intern, she laid the groundwork for a volunteer program and organized a national grassroots campaign for safe housing funding. Later, as a full-time resident advocate, she worked directly with residents of DASH's transitional housing program to provide resources and emotional support. In her last year with the organization, she served as Development Services and Volunteer Coordinator, managing DASH's various volunteers and overseeing in-kind donations.
Shaina's experiences at DASH solidified her passion for combating violence against women, as well as educated her on the intricacies of nonprofits. Her decision to pursue a law degree stemmed from the injustices that DASH residents encountered daily as they fought to reclaim their lives from abuse. Shaina is thrilled to be attending WCL, a school so historically supportive of social justice, and is looking forward to participating in clinical programs and volunteer opportunities in her time here.
B.A., International Studies and Politics, Brandeis University, 2009
Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Rachel's interest in social justice issues and specifically working with the Latino community was sparked while spending the summer between her junior and senior year of high school as part of a community service and Spanish immersion program in Granada, Nicaragua. She continued to pursue these interests while studying at Brandeis University, during which time she spent a semester studying at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mexico and a summer volunteering in a Nicaraguan public school. Rachel's interest in workers' rights and migrant health was further developed as an undergraduate intern at Farmworker Justice in Washington DC, where she did research for the health team. After graduation, Rachel participated in a year of service through AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. As part of this program, she worked as the Clinic Coordinator at the DC Employment Justice Center (EJC), coordinating a weekly clinic that assists low-wage workers who face employment related legal issues. After her year of service ended, Rachel joined The Legal Aid Society of DC as a legal assistant in the family law unit, where she provided litigation support for attorneys working on domestic violence, child custody and child support cases. She later re-joined the staff of the EJC as the Clinic Manager, where she took on additional responsibilities from her previous role, including running a workers' rights clinic in Southeast DC and assisting in the referral of pro bono cases.
Rachel also serves as a member of DC Advisory Council for AVODAH, where she supports the yearlong program by assisting with fundraising, recruitment and support for the current corps members. As a student at WCL, Rachel is looking forward to continue learning about the issues facing low-wage workers while exploring other areas of the law, particularly issues that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.