The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.


Rapoport Center Announces 13 Summer Fellowships for 2008


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(L-R) 2008 Rapoport Summer Fellows: Mayeux, Schechter, Peebles, Shaw, Greenspan, Rogers, Vargas, Valdespino and Huang (not pictured: Chandler, Hollingsworth, Paymaster and Wesley).

Nine UT law students and one student each from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the History Department, LLILAS and the College of Communications have been selected by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice as Rapoport Summer Fellows. They will fan out to non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations across the United States and the globe to work toward the enfranchisement of marginalized individuals and groups. Their projects include protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, advocating for the rights of immigrants, working toward democratic and legal reform and engaging in community legal education efforts.

Before heading to destinations as diverse as Beijing, Kathmandu, Nairobi, La Paz and Chiang Mai, the students will receive fellowships to cover travel costs and living expenses. The fellowships will be funded by the Rapoport Center, and many will be supplemented by grants from the Cain Foundation, a longtime supporter of international legal placements at the law school, and the Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Karpen Moffitt Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law, which supports students who engage in pro bono legal work in the area of human rights.

“We were extremely impressed with all of the talented applicants,” said Professor Ariel Dulitzky, Associate Director of the Center. “The Rapoport fellowship program gives students a chance to see human rights advocacy from inside and cultivate the knowledge, skills, connections and critical thinking they will need to have a real impact in their future professional work. We would like to congratulate all the recipients and thank each student who applied for a Rapoport summer fellowship.”

The recipients of this year’s fellowships are:

Noam Greenspan will work at the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc., in Dallas. He will work on asylum cases and immigration cases involving survivors of domestic violence.

Melvin Huang will work at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative China Program, in Beijing, China. He will be engaged in various legal projects on migrant workers’ rights, women’s rights and children’s rights, and will also be working with several international attorneys who are committed to legal reform in China.

Bridgett Mayeux will work with the Legal Research Project and their partner organization, Advocacy Forum, based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She will help compile cases suitable for high-impact international criminal trials, related to Nepal’s 10-year civil war.

Lindsey Peebles will work at the Wellington Community Law Center in Wellington, New Zealand. She will assist the intake of clients and the administering of free legal services for those in the community who cannot afford it, in areas that range from bankruptcy and criminal defense, to refugee status appeals and petitions before the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal.

Raegen Rogers will work at Checchi and Company Consulting in La Paz and Sucre, Bolivia. She will work on the Bolivian Administration of Justice Program, a program developed by the U.S. Agency for International development to strengthen the Bolivian judicial sector and to implement legal reforms.

Jody Schechter will work in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices in Washington, D.C. By assisting the investigative process, she will help the organization in its mission to protect U.S citizens and work-authorized individuals from employment discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status.

Timothy Shaw will work at Bridges Across Borders in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He will work with the organization’s Community-based Legal Education programs, researching and developing the curriculum for the Community Legal Advisor Training Manuals to be used throughout the region.

Edward Valdespino will work for the Center for Governance and Development and FIDA Kenya, both under the umbrella of Pamoja International in Nairobi, Kenya. He will work on various projects, including legal education and awareness for Kenyan women, and working the government to promote a more transparent and competitive electoral process.

Karla Vargas will work at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. She will be involved in conducting human rights research on gender-based persecution and developing advocacy tools helpful to women seeking asylum across the country.

Creighton Chandler, Lora Hollingsworth, Kim Paymaster and Sarah Beth Wesley will work at the Rapoport Center, to assist with the Center's outreach programs and advocacy projects.

Read about the 2007 summer fellows, 2006 summer fellows and the 2005 summer fellows , or learn more about the Rapoport Summer Fellowships.