Current Scholars: Class of 2020

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Nicholas Cross

Nick comes to WCL from Boston where he worked for 2,000 students in five elementary schools, with the nonprofit Playworks.  For three years, he used play and games to teach socio-emotional skills like conflict resolution, communication, and collaboration.  He trained recess staff and consulted with administrators to ensure recess was safe, positive, and active.  Nick has facilitated leadership training for over 50 fourth and fifth grade Junior Coaches, who serve their schools by running games at recess.  Nick advocated for hiring practices that were representative of the diversity of the students Playworks serves, and created cultural and trauma competency workshops for coworkers.  Nick is excited to use the law as a tool in holding those in power accountable to the needs of the people, especially the needs of kids.

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Emily Ford

Originally, from Maine, Emily earned her Bachelor’s Degree in History with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.  As an undergraduate, she interned at two legal aid offices in Worcester -- one served the refugee population, and the other served the homeless population. These experiences inspired Emily to write her senior capstone, which compared human and drug trafficking in the United States. Upon graduation, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). JVC places volunteers in direct service organizations as full-time employees for one year.  JVC placed Emily in a housing paralegal position at the Public Justice Center, located in Baltimore, Maryland. While in Baltimore, she lived “in intentional community” with four other volunteers, requiring her to share a stipend and living space with them. At the conclusion of her volunteer year, Emily worked as the Pro Bono Coordinator at the Homeless Persons Representation Project, also in Baltimore.  As Pro Bono Coordinator, she led expungement clinics at homeless shelters and trained student and attorney volunteers.  Living in intentional community and serving low-income individuals solidified her passion for working alongside clients. Emily is excited to become a part of the PIPS community and to learn from the AUWCL student body’s broad range of perspectives.

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Christine Hammel

Christine was born and raised in South Jersey and attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she majored in political science.  As an undergraduate, Christine worked at private law firms, served as a research assistant in the Political Science Department, and worked as a resident assistant.  She developed her passion for the law by competing in mock trial tournaments throughout her time in college.  After graduating from Drexel in 2015, Christine worked in communications at a non-profit organization called Philadelphia VIP, which connected pro bono attorney volunteers with low-income clients seeking civil legal assistance.  Christine then moved to Washington, D.C. in 2016 and completed a year of service with City Year.  Through City Year, she worked at a local middle school to mentor students and improve student literacy.  Christine looks forward to joining the PIPS community and connecting her passion for law with her goal of serving under-resourced communities.

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Amanda Stoner

Amanda grew up in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in International Studies and Geography in 2017. Amanda’s undergraduate studies focused on environmental policy and community development initiatives and she quickly developed a commitment to addressing the environmental injustice affecting rural, marginalized communities both in Appalachia and around the world. She became involved with numerous environmental advocacy and community development organizations, serving as President of the WVU Sierra Student Coalition and as co-founder and President of OXFAM America at WVU.  She also worked as an outreach coordinator for the WVU Food Justice Lab, a research laboratory devoted to ending food insecurity in West Virginia.  Amanda volunteered as an intern for the National Wildlife Federation, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the City of Morgantown’s “Green Team”.  As a Model United Nations delegate, Amanda was able to travel to conferences held in cities all over the world to discuss the world’s most pressing environmental problems and human rights crises with talented students from diverse backgrounds.  Because of her commitment preserving natural resources and landscapes and protecting communities from environmental degradation, Amanda was recognized as a National Udall Scholar in 2016.  While at WCL, Amanda plans to explore environmental law and hopes to use her legal education to assist and serve communities affected by environmental injustices, especially in rural Appalachia.

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Sahar Takshi

Sahar graduated cum laude from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in psychology, membership in the Honors College and a passion for disability rights advocacy. She has been a long time leader in her local chapters of the non-profit Best Buddies International where her zeal for advocacy first developed; the summer prior to entering AUWCL Sahar had the opportunity to intern at their headquarters in Miami, FL. Throughout her collegiate career, Sahar sought to expand her knowledge in the field of health and disabilities through her coursework and even choosing to write her undergraduate thesis on the role of political correctness in reference to disabilities. She spent most of her free time volunteering at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Byrd Alzheimer's Institute where she interacted with patients and learned about the challenges they face. Seeking to elaborate on her familiarity with this concentration Sahar became a research assistant at USF's Alliance and Suicide Prevention Lab and an intern at an Elder and Disability Law Office; experiences that solidified her decision to pursue disability civil rights law. As a PIPS Scholar, Sahar looks forward to the knowledge and experiences she will gain in public service and hopes to contribute her passion for service to the AUWCL community.

Current Scholars: Class of 2019

Christina Canalizo
Christina Canalizo

Christina Canalizo

Growing up between the palm-studded beaches and mosquito-infested swamps of Ormond Beach, Florida, Christina has always had a passion for stories, particularly those that shed light on the human experience and inspire us to take action. At Stetson University she majored in History with a minor in Religious Studies, and she enjoyed studying the progress of (and impediments to) human rights across time and continents. She developed a particular passion for women’s rights, founding a new organization on campus called Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) and volunteering as a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando. As President of SASA, she utilized the power of storytelling to ignite change on campus by hosting nationally-renowned guest speakers, organizing a Take Back the Night protest march, and encouraging survivors to discuss the barriers they faced to receiving justice and the support they needed from their communities. As a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, she witnessed first-hand how the law can expand or restrict the opportunities available to the clinic’s patients and the impact reproductive rights politics had on their daily lives. She aspires to give these stories a voice in the legal system.

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Tara Carrier

Tara was born and raised in Rhode Island, where she attended the University of Rhode Island. During her undergraduate career, she developed a passion for social justice and women’s rights working as an intern with the Domestic Violence Court Advocate’s office helping victims obtain temporary restraining orders. Since 2013 Tara has been a Law Enforcement Advocate with DayOne, Rhode Island’s sexual assault and trauma resource center. In this position, she works local police departments to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child molestation. Helping victims navigate the criminal justice system inspired her to pursue a legal career in order to better serve others. At AUWCL, Tara is a Staff Member of the American University Law Review and is the 2017-2018 Managing Director of the Equal Justice Foundation, a student-run organization that raises money to support students during their unpaid public interest summer internships.



Marissa Ditkowsky

Marissa was raised in Commack, New York, where she first discovered her interest in advocacy and the law. Marissa has been particularly interested in disability rights due to her own disabilities that impact her mobility and her uncle’s intellectual disability. Marissa has been committed to advocating on behalf of AUWCL students with disabilities to ensure they have the resources they require to succeed as the Student Bar Association Disabilities Liaison. She also interned at the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, where she largely focused on guardianship and alternatives to guardianship due to guardianship’s overly restrictive nature. Marissa remains vigilant in asserting the intersectionality of disability, particularly in regard to race, ethnicity, gender identity, and poverty.

During her undergraduate career at Brandeis University, Marissa worked as a pro-social bystander trainer, conducting training to provide other students with the tools to handle and pinpoint negative encounters and scenarios, as well as to help students understand the importance of consent. As an editor of her college newspaper, she covered a wide range of complex topics, including Title IX and Department of Education investigations, academic freedom and the freedom of speech, administrative salaries, and labor issues on campus, including the fight to unionize adjunct professors and the $15 per hour movement.

Upon graduation from Brandeis, Marissa worked in the political and legislative office of the Ironworkers International, affiliated with the AFL-CIO. As a part of her work, she followed legislation that would impact members' jobs, wages, benefits and safety. Marissa remains interested in labor and employment issues, as well as civil rights generally.

Haley Hawkins

Haley Hawkins

Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Haley studied Justice & Law and Public Health at American University. As an undergraduate, she focused on domestic violence advocacy and sexual assault survivor empowerment – interning for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and DC Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment (SAFE), where she provided victim advocacy services to low-income survivors of domestic violence seeking civil protection orders. She has taught workshops on consent and sex education in DC high schools through the Peer Health Exchange and has been published in the Rutgers School of Law Women’s Rights Law Reporter on barriers to accessing the justice system for low-income single mothers in DC who have been victims of domestic violence. Haley is particularly interested in and passionate about the intersections of domestic violence law and reproductive justice. She is looking forward to engaging with the vibrant feminist public interest community at AUWCL and gaining the tools to become an effective legal advocate for women in marginalized communities.

Courtney Knippen

Courtney Knippen

Courtney grew up in Wapakoneta, Ohio and traveled a short distance northeast, where she graduated summa cum laude, with a degree in psychology from Ohio Northern University (ONU). She was exposed to child protective services work as she archived records for Hardin County Ohio Job and Family Services (HCJFS) during her sophomore and junior years of undergraduate study. During this time, she also had the opportunity to shadow the assistant prosecutor which expanded her interest in criminal law. Courtney spent her last semester of undergrad in DC, interning for the defender legal services division of National Legal Aid and Defender Association. Her experience with NLADA inspired her to work with youth entangled in the CPS and justice system. After graduation, Courtney developed the position of Access Coordinator with HCJFS, linking parents involved with CPS to a variety of treatment services and community resources. Part-time, Courtney worked with the local prosecutor's office as support staff for a homicide investigation. She also developed I.M.P.A.C.T., a mentoring program for at-risk-teens through the collaboration of ONU students and the juvenile treatment team. Between her two jobs, Courtney mentors a young adult with a long history in both the CPS and justice system. Through community connections, Courtney helped her mentee strive for independence by finding work and opportunities to continue her education. Courtney is looking forward to learning ways to better systems for the underprivileged and underrepresented while at AUWCL.

Chelsea Lalancette

Chelsea graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2012 with a degree in International Studies and minors in Latin American Studies and Chinese Studies. She spent her junior year of college as an exchange student in Kunming, China. Following graduation she worked as a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative at Catholic Charities of San Francisco providing legal services to low income immigrants. While at Catholic Charities, she worked to form coalitions with diverse community groups to perform effective outreach and expand access to low cost, trustworthy legal services.  Prior to beginning law school at AUWCL she spent several months traveling in South America and volunteered at a refugee and migrant serving organization in Peru. There, she became familiar with the dynamics of forced migration and immigration policy in South America. She also was involved with activist movements for women's rights and economic justice. In law school, she hopes to focus on international human rights.

Audrey Mullholand

Audrey Mulholland

Born and raised in the Midwest, Audrey moved from her hometown of Fishers, Indiana to pursue a degree in International Relations and Social Sciences at the University of Southern California. Upon graduation, Audrey interned in Bangalore, India with International Justice Mission, where she worked with clients who were victims of bonded labor trafficking and observed the defense of human rights at the most foundational level. After returning to Indiana she volunteered with the Immigrant Justice Program at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, which offers pro bono legal services to low income immigrant families. These experiences cemented her passion and desire to pursue a legal education and to work in the field of international human rights. During law school Audrey has interned with the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has also had the privilege of traveling to Amman, Jordan with International Refugee Assistance Project to conduct refugee intake interviews and to Window Rock, Arizona to volunteer with Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. Audrey is excited to be a part of the AUWCL and PIPS community as she continues to pursue a career in the field of international human rights and immigration law.

Current Scholars: Class of 2018

Chloe Cannetti

Chloe Canetti

Chloe is a 3L specializing in refugee law and women’s rights. She came to law school after working in domestic violence shelters for three years and realizing that survivors of domestic violence often lacked the legal resources to escape abuse. Since coming to law school, she has interned with AEquitas, an organization that creates resources to help prosecutors and judges try domestic and sexual violence cases. She has also worked for Refugee Law Project in Uganda, where she helped refugee survivors of gender-based violence seek resettlement. At AUWCL, she has participated in the Equal Justice Foundation, the African Justice Initiative, and the American University Law Review. This semester, she will be interning with a family law judge in D.C. Superior Court, and working with the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP). Chloe hopes to one day start her own nonprofit to help refugee survivors of domestic and sexual violence in East Africa.

Sarah McHenry

Sarah McHenry

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.


Rupalee Rashatwar

Rupalee Rashatwar has an interest in criminal defense and social, racial, and economic justice. She received her undergraduate degree in International Affairs and Economics from The George Washington University, studying abroad in London, England and later in Rabat, Morocco. She is proud to be a part of the public interest community at AUWCL. While in law school, Rupalee interned with the Public Defender Service for D.C. researching and writing under juvenile and adult trial attorneys. She has worked with Philadelphians to fight against home foreclosures at Community Legal Services, and most recently she worked with people sentenced to death around the country fighting for new trials, stays of execution, and eventual release at the Federal Community Defender of Philadelphia. Currently she is practicing as a student attorney in the Washington College of Law Criminal Justice Clinic.  She is a proud middle child, born and raised in South Jersey, fond of cats and prison reform.



Karina Wegman

Karina Wegman

Karina is an aspiring litigator with an interest in economic justice, civil rights, and immigration. Originally from Seattle, Karina graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor's degree in International Studies. Karina studied abroad in El Salvador, where she spent much of her time teaching English and learning from a rural community. After graduating, Karina worked for a community-based organization that focused on poverty and immigrant issues in Queens, New York. During law school, Karina has interned at the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition. Karina spent her second summer at Bernabei & Kabat, a boutique civil rights litigation firm in Washington, D.C. Karina looks forward to using the skills and experience she has acquired in law school to represent underserved populations and advocate for systemic change.


Summer woods

Summer Woods

Summer is an aspiring career public defender who was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from Furman University with a degree in History and English while also playing on their Division I soccer team. After graduating in 2014, she spent a year serving with AmeriCorps working with middle school students in an under-resourced neighborhood in Queens, New York. While in law school, she has worked at the National Juvenile Defender Center, multiple public defender offices around the country, and is currently a student-attorney in AUWCL’s Criminal Justice Clinic.  Summer is proud to be a member of AUWCL’s public interest community and looks forward to continuing to work to reform a criminal justice system designed to disproportionately impact and control people of color, those in poverty, and immigrants.