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 10 Summer Fellowships for 2010


This year's fellowships are awarded to:

Caitlin Boehne (BA 2009, New York University) will intern with the Middle East and North African Division of Human Rights Watch in New York, creating and enforcing contracts to protect the human and labor rights of migrant construction laborers in Abu Dhabi. The project stems from work Boehne did as an undergraduate at NYU, trying to secure a fair labor contract protecting the rights of those who construct and maintain NYU’s non-U.S. sites.  Boehne has spent two semesters abroad, working at the Central and Eastern European Legal Institute in Prague, and teaching French at La Youshua middle school in Accra.  Her semesters abroad and experience as a student activist have led Boehne to pursue a career in international human rights law.

Martha Buttry (BA 2009, Gonzaga University) will intern at American Gateways, a non-profit organization that promotes justice for immigrants and refugees by providing free and low-cost legal services and education in Central Texas.  She will develop client affidavits and assist in preparation for immigration court proceedings, translation, and legal research and writing related to deportation proceedings and appeals.  She will also be assisting women detained at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, TX.  As an undergraduate, Buttry studied abroad at the Universidad de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina where she studied anthropology, ecology, and human rights.  She then spent the summer of her junior year advocating the rights of lettuce workers in Southern Colorado.  As a result, she wrote a senior thesis on the legal rights of migrant farm workers.  She hopes to pursue a career in law which enables her to empower the disadvantaged and underrepresented.

Michael O'Keefe Cowles will intern at the ACLU of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Han Gao (BA 2008, Donghua University) will intern with the Zhengzhou Legal-aid Center in Henan Province, China. His work will focus on helping indigent clients obtain access to legal resources, such as having salaries of migrant workers held by their employers returned through legal means, helping domestic violence victims get protection against the abusers, etc. Gao is an international student from China, who went to UT Law directly from college. He has been volunteering for Saheli (an organization that provides assistance to Asian and other immigrant families dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking) all through his first year in law school. He hopes in the future to make a contribution to improving the human rights situation in China.

Nita Garg (BA 2008, University of Texas at Austin) will intern for the UN Special Rapporteur on Health, Anand Grover. She will be working in New Delhi for Mr. Grover on projects focusing mainly on public health policy in India, particularly HIV/AIDS issues. Garg hopes to work in health law for a few years before earning an MPH and then pursuing a career in international human rights law.  Specifically, she is interested in the right to health and women’s rights.  As an undergraduate, Garg spent three weeks in India doing research for an honors thesis on barriers to success for HIV/AIDS NGOs in New Delhi. She also helped co-write an article about the effect of the “brain drain” of health care providers on developing countries such as India.

Leanne Heine (BSM 2007, Tulane University) will work with the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) in San Antonio, TX.   MALDEF protects and promotes the civil rights of Latinos living in the United States through litigation, advocacy, and education.  At MALDEF, Leanne will be working on immigrants rights issues and the rights of day laborers.  She is currently enrolled in the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic, and interned last summer at the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin, TX.  Leanne hopes to pursue public interest law after graduating from University of Texas, focusing on low-income worker and immigrant rights. 

Lok-Sye Lee (BA 2004, Johns Hopkins) will intern with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project.  This organization is a national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the U.S. government.  ProBAR counsels, and in some cases provides legal representation to, eligible asylum seekers who lack the resources to prove their asylum claims and are at risk of being deported to the places they escaped from and where they may face further persecution upon their return, because of their race, religion or political opinion among other things.  As an undergraduate, Lee studied Chinese History and wrote her senior honors thesis on the marginalization of the Chinese in America.  After obtaining her bachelor's degree, she studied American History at Stanford with a focus on Asian American History, U.S. immigration policy and national identity.

Alissa Parsley will intern at American Gateways in Austin, Texas.

Jordan Pollock (BA 2004, Duke) will intern for the ACLU of Southern California, working with the Legal Director on his current case docket, which includes a challenge to an anti-day laborer ordinance, a case to secure the right of Latino voters to participate in the local elections and litigation against current legislation penalizing the homeless for sleeping in public places. Pollock worked in legal services for immigrants as an Accredited Representative at the New York Legal Assistance Group and more recently, as a volunteer at the UT Immigration Clinic and American Gateways in Austin. Previous to working in legal services, Pollock worked with low-income immigrants as an Adult ESL teacher in Brooklyn and North Carolina. During and after graduation from Duke University, Pollock completed a two research fellowships, one in Argentina and one in Chile.

Della Sentilles will intern at the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

Read about the 2009 summer fellows, 2008 summer fellows, 2007 summer fellows, 2006 summer fellows and the 2005 summer fellows , or learn more about the Rapoport Summer Fellowships.