AUSTIN, Texas — Five students at The University of Texas School of Law have been awarded the first Rapoport Summer Fellowships by the Law School’s recently-established Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.
The fellowships will support UT law students interning during the summer with institutions that promote international or transnational human rights. The host institutions include non-profit, governmental, and non-governmental organizations.
“We are delighted to support these extremely qualified students in their diverse pursuits of the Center’s mission to promote the economic and political enfranchisement of marginalized individuals and groups,” said UT Law Professor Karen Engle, director of the Center for Human Rights and Justice.
The following students received Rapoport Summer Fellowships for 2005:
Jane Collins (BA 2001, Middlebury College) will intern in the Ministry of the Environment in Brasília, Brazil, working on issues of human rights and environmental law by focusing on biotechnology and bioprospecting, under the supervision of the chief legal counsel. Collins has a background in Latin American Studies with a disciplinary focus on sociology. She is pursuing a joint master’s degree at UT’s Institute of Latin American Studies and the School of Law. She spent her junior year in Argentina, where she also spent a summer interning with a human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) in Buenos Aires. She spent another summer volunteering for a national park in Patagonia.
Allen Cooper (BA 1991, Swarthmore College; MPP 2003, Princeton) will intern with the Fairness in Flowers campaign. This program, administered by the International Labor Rights Fund in Washington D.C., is aimed at improving working conditions at flower plantations in Ecuador and Colombia, which provide most of the flowers sold in the United States. Cooper recently completed a six-month project in Chile looking at land claims of the indigenous Mapuche people. With 10 years experience of community organizing in the United States, he plans to pursue a career in human rights advocacy. Cooper's internship with the Fairness in Flowers campaign grows out of his work this spring with UT Law School's new Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. The Rapoport Center is co-sponsoring his internship along with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at UT Law.
Melina De La Garza (BA 2003, New York University) will intern at the Kosovo Law Center, a legal think tank in Pristina, Serbia-Montenegro. She will assist with legal research and analysis dealing with human rights violations toward minorities and with murders committed post-war. De La Garza hopes to pursue a career in public international law. In 2003-04 she worked for NGOs in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on issues concerning refugees and displaced persons, and did research on the effects of a woman’s candidacy for public office. Last summer, she returned to Bosnia to intern with the American Refugee Committee. She has also been an intern at the United Nations and in the Dallas office of U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.
Emily Jolly (BA 2004, Rice University) will serve as an associate with the Children and Armed Conflict program of CARE International in New York. She will assist with the development of a network of CARE members working on children’s rights and protection during times of armed conflict. Jolly is the first-year representative of UT Law’s Human Rights Law Society. As an undergraduate, she taught English and history to middle school students (in addition to several other teaching experiences) and spent a semester abroad at the University of London. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English and political science, she worked as the interim director of the education department at the Hall of State Museum run by the Dallas Historical Society.
John Tustin (BA 1998, Rice University) will work with the international program of the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. His legal research and writing at the institute will focus on domestic and international law and policy related to the environment and sustainability. Since graduating from Rice, Tustin has worked as a teacher for the Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa, and as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill for U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. He interned last summer at the Ministry of the Environment in Brasília, Brazil. He hopes to pursue a career in public international law, focusing on his particular interests in trade, environment, and international law in developing countries.
Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice: http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/centers/humanrights/
Transnational Worker Rights Clinic: http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/clinics/transnational/