Rapoport Center announces its 2013 summer and fall fellows
Eleven Law School students have been selected by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice as Rapoport Center Fellows for summer and fall 2013. They will work with nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations in the United States and abroad. Their projects include aiding human rights victims and political refugees, researching civil rights and civil liberties, assisting international courts and tribunals in prosecuting human rights and humanitarian violations, advocating for individuals with disabilities, and pursuing impact litigation on behalf of farmworkers.
The fellowships, which provide stipends for travel costs and living expenses, are made possible by the generous support of: The Planethood Foundation; Scott Hendler of HendlerLaw PC, who donated funds for the Charles Moyer Summer Human Rights Fellowship; the Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Karpen Moffitt Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law; and the Effie and Wofford Cain Foundation.
The recipients of this year’s fellowships are:
Kali Cohn (BA 2009, University of Rochester; JD expected 2014) will work this summer at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California. During her time with the ACLU, Kali will work with the organization’s legal staff to address a broad range of civil rights and civil liberties issues, assisting with legal research and writing, client intake, and pending and ongoing litigation. While in law school, Cohn has worked with the National Security Clinic and the ACLU of Texas’s legislative advocacy team. Last summer, she worked for the ACLU of Texas at the intersection of their immigrants’ rights and criminal law reform campaigns. As a former nonprofit professional and social justice advocate, she looks forward to a career addressing civil rights and civil liberties challenges through a combination of legal, policy, and organizing work.
Burton DeWitt (BA 2010, Rice University; JD expected 2015) will be interning with the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas this summer, working with human rights victims and political refugees. The Human Rights Initiative provides pro bono representation to victims of human rights abuses by foreign states and aids them in their attempt to secure asylum in the United States. Through his previous experience, Burton has gained an interest in helping people from socially and economically developing countries obtain the protections and rights they deserve. Burton hopes to attain a judicial clerkship after he finishes law school and aspires one day to be a judge.
Whitney Drake (BA 2010, University of Notre Dame; JD expected 2014) is the second recipient of the Charles Moyer Summer Human Rights Fellowship, which honors the life and work of Charles Moyer, whose professional career has been devoted to the international protection of human rights. Moyer was the first secretary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica, the institution with which Whitney will be working. As a summer intern at the court, she will assist the court’s staff attorneys by researching and writing on international human rights law. Her interest in human rights in Latin America stems from her study abroad experience in Chile and her volunteer work with asylum-seekers and other immigrant groups in the United States. During law school, Whitney has participated in the Immigration Clinic and worked at American Gateways in Austin. She plans to pursue a career in immigration law.
David Fisher (BA 2012, University of Texas at Austin; JD expected 2015) will intern this summer with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in Washington, D.C. The Commission is a body of the Organization of American States that promotes and protects human rights in the Americas. David will conduct research, prepare reports, and analyze policies impacting human rights in the Americas. As a first-year law student, David volunteered with Catholic Charities of Central Texas, where he worked on a variety of immigration projects. He is a research assistant at the Energy Center at UT Law, and will serve next year as symposium director of the Texas Environmental Law Journal. After law school, he hopes to pursue a career in public-interest law, focusing on the convergence of international law, human rights, and environmental policy.
Sophia Golvach (BA 2011, Dartmouth College; JD and MA expected 2016) will intern this summer in Austin with Disability Rights Texas, a federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities in Texas. Her work at Disability Rights Texas will focus on employment and housing discrimination, special education, foster care, healthcare, and access to community support. As an undergraduate, Sophia studied Middle Eastern studies and Arabic. After living and studying in Tunis, Tunisia, she researched mental illness stigma and treatment in North Africa. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in international human rights law, focusing on disability.
Dave Mauch (BA 2010, University of Texas at Austin; JD expected 2014) will intern this summer with Farmworker Justice in Washington, D.C. He will work on impact litigation and policy advocacy on behalf of farmworkers, focusing on immigration, workplace safety, and labor and employment law. Dave’s interest in public-interest law comes from a number of experiences—serving his community as an Eagle Scout, helping those marginalized by disparate power structures, and studying theories of power. In law school, Dave has worked with the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Equal Justice Center, and the National Security Clinic. After law school, Dave hopes to pursue a career in public interest law that focuses on underserved communities.
Colleen Mulholland (BA 2010, Stetson University; JD expected 2015) will intern with Lawyers Without Borders this summer at its headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut. Lawyers Without Borders is a group of volunteer lawyers from around the world who offer pro bono services for rule of law, capacity building, and access to justice initiatives. As an intern, Colleen will conduct legal research for an annual summer training program in Kenya that addresses gender violence, electoral rights, inheritance and succession, professional ethics, and corruption. Before coming to law school, Colleen taught bilingual pre-kindergarten in Houston with Teach For America. As a law student, she has assisted undocumented students who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, participated in the Pro Bono in January trip to the Rio Grande Valley, and served as a section representative for Texas Law Fellowships. In the fall, she will be enrolled in the Immigration Clinic and intends to pursue a human rights and public-interest career with a focus on Latin America.
Elizabeth Nguyen (BA 2009, Columbia University; JD expected 2014) will intern this summer with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Located in The Hague, Netherlands, the ICTY is a United Nations court that tries individuals for war crimes that took place during the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans. Elizabeth will be working in the Trial Chambers, where she will perform legal research, prepare memoranda, and assist with drafting legal documents. Before coming to law school, Elizabeth worked for a municipal Fair Housing office and taught English in France and Chile. Last summer, she interned with Catholic Charities of Dallas Immigration and Legal Services. She hopes to pursue a career in public-interest law.
Graham Robertson (BSFS 2011, Georgetown University; JD expected 2015) will work in Washington, D.C, this summer for the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), a federal government agency that provides monetary aid to Latin America and the Caribbean. The IAF’s grant recipients work in diverse sectors of development including agriculture, housing, employment, and access to water. As an undergraduate, Graham studied abroad in the Dominican Republic and conducted political research in Nicaragua, receiving a certificate in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. After graduation, he acted as the lead author for a research piece on Operation Streamline, a controversial U.S. immigration directive. Graham will be enrolled in the Human Rights Clinic in the fall and plans to pursue a career in immigrants’ rights, workers’ rights, and public international law.
Vanshika Vij (BA 2009, University of Michigan; JD expected 2014) will intern with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands, during the fall. Vanshika will work for the Trial Chambers, assisting in the litigation and prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in states comprising the former Yugoslavia. This past summer, Vanshika was awarded a Baron & Budd Summer Public Interest Fellowship to work as a law clerk at the Texas Civil Rights Project, where she worked on cases related to freedom of speech, prisoners’ rights, due process, and disability rights. Prior to law school, Vanshika worked at the Center for Effective Philanthropy and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. At the Law School, Vanshika is a Rapoport Center Human Rights Scholar, active in Street Law, and serves on the editorial boards of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights and the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series.
Catherine Wagner (BA 2007, Boston University; JD expected 2014) will intern this summer in the Office of the Co-Prosecutors for the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The ECCC brings to trial those who were most responsible for the atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. Catherine will perform legal research and analysis, and generally assist in building criminal cases for the prosecution. Last year she worked with the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin, and before law school she spent four years with human rights and social justice nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C. She plans to pursue a career in public-interest law with a focus on human and civil rights.