Current Scholars: Class of 2021

Cassandra Chee
 

Cassandra Chee

Originally from New Jersey, Cassie attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and graduated summa cum laude with degrees in Political Science and Spanish and minors in Latin American and Poverty Studies. During her junior year summer, she interned with Kids in Need of Defense, where she worked with unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings, and this internship first sparked her passion for immigrant rights. After graduating college, Cassie moved to the U.S.-Mexico border to continue exploring this passion through a yearlong service program with Border Servant Corps. During her service, she worked in several immigration legal services non-profits, including Catholic Charities Legal Services, the Southwest Asylum and Migration Institute, and New Mexico Legal Aid. She worked on applications for humanitarian protections for immigrants, including U-Visa, VAWA, and asylum applications. After completing her service year, Cassie moved to New York City to work as an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) fellow at the Central American Refugee Center in Long Island. For two years she worked on IJC’s deportation defense team representing Central American asylum seeking families before federal immigration courts. Cassie has been galvanized by the injustices she has seen in our immigration system, and it was the totality of her experiences in the immigration field that served as the impetus for her desire to apply to law school. Cassie is excited to attend law school and to one day become an attorney that can advocate on behalf of immigrant populations in court. She is thrilled and grateful to become a part of the PIPS community and to attend a law school devoutly committed to public service and social justice.

Sarah Reichenbach
 

Sarah Reichenbach

Sarah comes to AUWCL from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), where she supported programs in peacebuilding, security sector and criminal justice reform, and community dialogues in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Prior to her position at USIP, Sarah led the Genocide Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, where she analyzed U.S. policies during the Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Darfur genocides through Freedom of Information Act requests and primary source research. She also worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a Peace Fellow through the Washington, DC-based nonprofit, The Advocacy Project. While in Bosnia, Sarah worked closely with a grassroots women’s organization made of Srebrenica massacre survivors, and supported their economic independence, community development, and reconciliation programs, and led fundraising efforts. Sarah holds an M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. With a team of fellow graduate students, Sarah developed policy recommendations for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations to mitigate the effects of al-Shabaab’s organized criminal activities on statebuilding in Somalia, and conducted field research in Nairobi, Kenya. This research was later published in the journal, International Affairs Review. She received her B.A. in International Affairs with an emphasis in Africa and the Middle East from the University of Northern Colorado. Sarah is thrilled to join the PIPS community and looks forward to learning from her peers’ perspectives and experience. She plans to study international human rights and immigration law to better equip her to act as an advocate for the peacebuilders, survivors, and activists she has worked with over the last several years.

Catherine Walker
 

Catherine Walker

Catherine graduated from Smith College in 2011 with degrees in Sociology and Spanish. Catherine spent five years serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Washington, D.C. During that time, Catherine worked particularly closely with immigrant and LGBTQ-identified survivors, striving to eliminate system generated barriers to their safety and empowerment. In 2016, Catherine moved to Havana, Cuba where she worked to educate hundreds of U.S. citizens about the effects of U.S. policy in Latin America and provided delegations with tools to advocate for change within their communities upon returning home. Upon graduating from WCL, Catherine hopes to continue her work with grassroots solidarity movements that aim to combat racist, capitalist and heterosexist U.S. policies that cause harm at home and abroad.

 
 
 
Catherine Wright
 

Catherine Wright

Catherine was born in Colorado and grew up just outside of Boston. Her studies and work have focused on advocating on behalf of under-served, at-promise youth. During her undergraduate time at Oberlin College, she led an initiative to create a peer-mentoring program for underclassmen with disabilities. After graduation, she returned to Boston and taught 6th graders with learning and social/emotional disabilities for two years as an Americorps Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools. While there, she helped shift the conversation around students with disabilities from a deficit-perspective to one that centers on student and family voice. For the last three years, Catherine worked as an Education Coordinator at a Massachusetts child protective services office working to ensure youth in state care receive the educations they are legally entitled to. She also provided case management for youth in out-of-home placements (foster care, group care and residential). In her roles as teacher and coordinator, Catherine has had the opportunity to gain insights into the public and private institutions that impact children’s access to education. Catherine is excited to be a part of the AUWCL and PIPS community. She looks forward to further learning how to affect institutional change that engages kids and families as experts and partners.

Current Scholars: Class of 2020

Nicholas Cross
 

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.

 
 
 
Emily Ford
 

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.

Christine Hammel
 

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.

 
 
 
Amanda Stoner
 

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.

Sahar Takshi
 

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.

 
Tara Carrier
 

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 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.