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University of Minnesota Human Rights Center
Human Rights Fellowship Program

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2012 Fellows

2012 Fellows

Eleni Andre-Wolking
Islamic Law and Human Rights Program
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Eleni is a Masters of Education student specializing in the teaching of second languages and cultures. Upon completing her B.A. at Smith College in Religion and French Studies, she received an English teaching position with the French government, which led her to teach abroad for four years in Syria and then Saudi Arabia. During her graduate study at the University of Minnesota, she was awarded the Judy D. Walter scholarship for urban educators, and her research focused on community and family involvement, approaches to cross-cultural human relations, and transformative curriculum. She is currently working for the Global Citizens Network and International Student Exchange to research and develop alternative breaks abroad service-oriented programming for high school and college-aged students.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights fellow, Eleni will work with a small team of other fellows and interns for the Islamic Law and Human Rights Program at the Human Rights Center, supporting the exciting initial programming of this new and critical project by establishing organizational infrastructure including website development, communications, and funding. This summer, Eleni aims to help create a preliminary, but solid organizational framework through which Islamic legal scholarship that is in harmony with human rights may be brought to the forefront of regional and international discourse and debate.


Eric Bain
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Arusha, Tanzania

Eric is a student at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN, where he serves on the William Mitchell Law Review. He has clerked with the Housing Preservation Project and Peterson, Logren & Kilbury. Before law school, Eric was an account executive at the advertising firm McGarry-Bowen in New York City. He holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin in Political Science and Journalism.

Eric will be using his Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship to provide legal assistance to the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. He will be working in the Office of the Prosecutor.


Heather Baird
Shree Vinayak Hospital
Kathmandu, Nepal

Heather Baird is a fourth-year J.D./M.P.H candidate at the University of Minnesota. Prior to graduate school, Heather received a bachelor’s degree in nursing with highest honors from Montana State University—Bozeman. After her undergraduate studies, Heather worked as a critical care Registered Nurse in her hometown, Boise, Idaho.

Beginning in December 2012 and continuing through January 2013, Heather will travel to Nepal to learn about Nepali health care delivery and health systems. In Kathmandu, she will work at Shree Vinayak Hospital, working with the hospital’s administration and staff. Heather will also experience Nepali health care in a rural setting by spending time at a rural clinic in Dhading-Jyamrung Village. Though these experiences, Heather hopes to gain greater insight into international health care delivery systems and a better understanding of the human right to health care.


Allison Boyle
Casa de Proyecto Libertad
Rio Grande Valley

Allison just finished her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. She earned her B.A. in Spanish and Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Allison is interested in immigration issues. As a first year student, she volunteered with Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso, Texas through the Asylum Law Project. She also worked as an immigration law clerk for Guzior, Armbrecht, Maher. This past year Allison was part of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at the Law School where she worked with asylees.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Allison will be interning with Casa de Proyecto Libertad in Harlingen Texas. Casa de Proyecto Libertad is a non-profit, community-based organization that has a 30 year history of providing direct immigration legal services in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. They work within communities to promote and assist with empowerment for those who are most vulnerable to violence and deportation due to their lack of immigration status. Allison will be working with Proyecto to prepare VAWA petitions and U visas.


Kayleigh Brown
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DADD)
Bonn, Germany

Kayleigh has just completed her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. Originally from Butte, MT, Kayleigh attended college at Georgetown University where she majored in Government and minored in Theology. Kayleigh has served as a board member of the University of Minnesota Law School’s Asylum Law Project. This past summer she worked as a Robina Public Policy Fellow at the Indian Law Resource Center in Helena, MT.

This summer, Kayleigh will participate in the DAAD Summer Law School Program in Germany. Participants begin the summer taking classes on German, European, and international law in Freiburg, Germany. For the remainder of the Program, Kayleigh will be in Berlin interning with the German Institute for Human Rights. A primary goal of the Institute is to promote human rights education. The Institute also focuses on the implementation of international and European human rights standards throughout Germany.


Ann Marie Castleman
Women's Empowement Network
Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Ann Marie is a first year Master of Public Health student in the Community Health Promotion program. After graduating with a B.A. in Theology and minors in Spanish, Natural Sciences and Latin American Studies, Ann Marie served two years with Dominican Volunteers USA. She worked for the Worker Center at Arise Chicago, organizing in the Latino and faith communities around workers’ rights and later for a private employment attorney in Chicago. Ann Marie spent time abroad in Nicaragua leading a group of Xavier University students on an Academic Service Learning Semester, teaching English to business professionals and interning with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture on a climate change project in Guatemala.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Ann Marie will work on the Skills to Save Lives Pilot Project, a collaborative effort between the Women’s Empowerment Network and the Matagalpa Ministry of Health in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The Pilot Project seeks to increase the knowledge and skills of midwives and community health workers in the rural areas of Matagalpa in order to reduce maternal mortality and increase access to health services. Ann Marie will assist in developing a sexual health curriculum for health workers to implement in area schools with adolescents.


Julia Cook
Law Office of David Shulman
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Julia just finished her first year at the University of Minnesota Law School. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Indianapolis. Following her graduation from the University of Indianapolis, Julia spent two years teaching English in Paris, France. She recently volunteered as a law clerk for the St. Thomas Human Rights Institute in Miami, Florida.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Julia will be working at the Law Office of David Shulman. She will assist in civil rights litigation focusing broadly on First and Fourth Amendment violations, police brutality, and employment discrimination cases. The office assists a large number of pro-se litigants and offers representation to indigent clients.


Hannah Doenges
National Association of Council for Children
Denver, Colorado

Hannah Doenges just completed her first-year of law school at the University of Minnesota where she plans to specialize in children’s rights. She graduated from Manchester College (now Manchester University) in Indiana, majoring in French and political science with a focus on international relations and poverty reduction strategies. She spent the previous year working for Communities in Schools Arizona, a non-profit organization which uses community networking to influence resource allocation in an effort to improve educational opportunities and success for at-risk youth. In relation to these experiences, she is most proud of coaching cross country for 4th and 5th grade girls and of her student volunteers in Phoenix, Arizona who worked on several community- and school-based projects throughout the academic year of 2010-2011.

She will be interning at the National Association of Council for Children this summer. The NACC advocates for abused and neglected children to have lawyers during their dependency proceedings. In this regard, the mission is also to create more uniformity across U.S. jurisdictions.


Michael Fenton
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
St. Paul, Minnesota

Michael Fenton is a second-year law student at the University of Minnesota. As a DAAD Scholar, Michael earned his M.A. in International Relations from the Humboldt-University in Berlin. Michael holds a B.A., Summa Cum Laude, in German Studies and Political Science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His honors thesis, “An Ordained or Turbulent Destiny? Minnesota Wind Energy Policy as a Path Dependent Process” stemmed from his involvement as a research assistant on comparative wind energy policy under Dr. Jeffrey Broadbent, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Dr. Koichi Hasegawa, Tohoku University, Japan. Upon completing his studies, Michael was selected to the Congress-Bundestag Exchange for Young Professionals and spent six years working in Berlin, Germany on environmental and energy policy and development projects in both theprivate and public sectors.

Michael is using his Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship to assist the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) with their efforts to promote and defend human rights in various environmental programs. The MCEA strives to protect the rights of those in need of environmental protection, as well as monitoring the human rights performance of private actors, enforcement agencies, and the judicial system in environmental contexts. Michael’s work will focus on environmental justice issues in communities where residents have been excluded from the environmental policy setting or decision-making process, where they are subject to a disproportionate impact from one or more environmental hazards, and where residents experience disparate implementation of environmental regulations, requirements, practices and activities in their communities.


Grace Fleming
Center for Victims of Torture
St. Paul, Minnesota

Grace is currently a student at the University of Minnesota, pursuing a dual degree (J.D./M.A.) in law and bioethics. She completed her undergraduate studies at New York University, where she graduated magna cum laude with honors, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Grace has served as a clerk for the Public Health Law Center and has also worked in the Legal Office of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She is currently working as a legal intern at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights.

Beginning this spring and continuing into the summer, Grace has been working with the Center for Victims of Torture for her Fellowship. She is working on a project that involves data privacy for participants of CVT research. The project involves legal research focusing on the debated question of whether HIPAA privacy requirements apply in international research or treatment.


Anne Fuchs
International Criminal Court
The Hague, Netherlands

Anne recently graduated from the the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to law school, she attended the University of St. Thomas and graduated summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Justice and Peace Studies and a double minor in Philosophy and History. As a 2010 Upper Midwest Fellow, Anne worked with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights for the Republic of Macedonia (MHC) as a law clerk. While with MHC, Anne worked on prison reform and human trafficking issues. In 2011, Anne worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama on special education and juvenile justice issues.

This summer, Anne will be an independent observer for the International Criminal Court’s trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba at The Hague. Bemba is on trial for two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes in the Central African Republic situation.


Mandy Hagseth
United Nations Women
Monrovia, Liberia

Mandy just completed her first year at the University of South Dakota Law School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music with a minor concentration in women’s studies. She also works in women’s health policy. During her first year of law school, Mandy founded USD Law Students for Reproductive Justice and was an active member of Women in Law, the Domestic Violence Legal Program, and the Public Interest Network. She was also the 2nd place award winner in the national Elizabeth Blackwell Bill Writing Competition for her “Informed Consent Equality Act.”

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Mandy will work with the UN Women Liberia Country Office focusing primarily on the implementation of its Peace and Security Programme.


Susan Hallquist
Shelter for Life International
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Susan just completed her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Catherine University with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Spanish.

This summer, Susan will serve as an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow at Shelter for Life International, a non-profit that focuses on sustainable development and humanitarian work. Its current field sites are in Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan, and Tajikistan. Susan will be mainly assisting with the Liberian waste management project focused on the West Point area of Monrovia.


Kayleen Jacobson
Gujarat, India

Kayleen is an undergraduate student studying South Asia and Human Rights and Justice through the Global Studies department at the University of Minnesota. She has studied in Rajasthan, India and interned for an education focused NGO during her stay there. She will begin her first research project this summer gathering qualitative data on local youth civic engagement programs across the Twin Cities area. Upon completing her B.A. in Global Studies this Fall, she will began her internship in January through the Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Kayleen will intern with Shaishav, an NGO based in Gujarat, India. The organization focuses on child rights and education as it works to train and empower youth and adults to take ownership of their rights. Kayleen will work on documentation for the organization and researching other forms of youth empowerment and rights education in the area while learning more about the intricacies of youth rights focused NGO work in India.


Eleanor Lewis
The Advocates for Human Rights
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Eleanor Lewis has just completed her first year at the University of Minnesota Law School. She earned her B.A. in Spanish at the University of Leeds in the UK, graduating with first class honors. During her undergraduate studies, Eleanor spent a year studying at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. After graduation she spent six months traveling around the world, visiting Brazil, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Laos and China. Eleanor then moved to Florida in order to complete a M.A. in Latin American Studies and International Development. She designed and implemented her own thesis research project, a case study of a rural women’s organization in Nicaragua, spending a summer conducting interviews and focus groups with the leadership and the grassroots members of the organization. During her first year of law school, Eleanor served as Vice-President for the Asylum Law Project, organizing volunteer trips to Miami, Florida. In Miami Eleanor volunteered with the Human Rights Institute of St Thomas University.

Eleanor is using her Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship to assist the Women’s Human Rights Program at The Advocates for Human Rights with their efforts to end violence against women around the world. In particular, Eleanor will be working to develop long-lasting partnerships between The Advocates and human rights organizations in Latin America.


Willy Madeira
Freetown, Sierra Leone

Willy Madeira graduated magna cum laude in 2012 from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he earned a concentration in Human Rights. Willy received the Human Rights Law Award for his contributions to advancing human rights throughout his law school career. Prior to law school, he interned at the ACLU in Pennsylvania and guided youth with behavioral issues on backcountry expeditions in Montana. Willy also served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Zambia as a community health development worker, facilitating interventions to prevent disease and promote public health.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Willy will be interning with Timap for Justice, a Sierra Leonean NGO which combines formal legal procedures with traditional justice mechanisms to foster access to justice in rural Sierra Leone. Willy will assist community legal workers in resolving community conflicts as well as work alongside staff attorneys on the Timap litigation team.


Faiza Majeed
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
New York, New York

Faiza Majeed is a second-year law student at the University of Minnesota Law School. She graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s and Master's in Arts, where she majored, respectively, in Political Science, and Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies. Before coming to law school, she worked with survivors of domestic violence as an intern at Sakhi for South Asian Women. Last summer, she worked at the Homeless Advocacy Project in San Francisco, California, on eviction defense and social security benefits cases. This year, as a Student Attorney in the Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic, she advocated before the United Nations Human Rights Committee regarding human rights abuses committed by small arms and light weapons by state and non-state actors, and also worked on a human rights case pending in US Federal Court.

This summer, Faiza will be interning at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) as an Ella Baker Intern, in New York. She will have the opportunity to work on CCR's vast docket which includes issues such as, Guantanamo Bay and Illegal Detention, International Law and Accountability, Racial, Gender and Economic Justice, and Government Abuse of Power, among others.


Laura Matson
Human Rights Program, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Laura has just completed her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. This fall she will begin a joint Ph.D. program in the University of Minnesota’s Geography department. She holds a M.Sc. in Violence, Conflict, and Development from the University of London and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, she will travel to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the 105th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, where she and Professor Barbara Frey will coordinate with the Committee members and State party representatives to advocate for increased awareness and attention to the misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in countries that are signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. After the Human Rights Committee meeting, she will travel to New York for the UN Conference on an Arms Trade Treaty. There, with Professors Barbara Frey and Jennie Green, she will focus on integrating human rights considerations into the disarmament group’s treaty negotiation process.


Patrick McCarthy
Partners In Health & ETESC
Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Patrick just completed his first year of medical school at the University of Minnesota. He completed his undergraduate studies at Yale College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies. After graduating from Yale, Patrick conducted research on disparities in childhood malnutrition and maternal health access in minority communities in Yunnan province of China as part of a U.S. State Department Fulbright Research Grant. Prior to medical school, he volunteered for Partners in Health in Guatemala, developing a curriculum and training teams of community health workers on managing childhood pneumonia. In addition, he serves as a Spanish interpreter and interpreter coordinator for the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic, a student-run free clinic in Minneapolis.

This summer, Patrick will be going back to Guatemala to work with Partners In Health for his Fellowship will the goal of starting a long-term infant nutrition program. He will work with the new nurse coordinator to conduct a child nutrition workshop for Partners In Health’s health workers. He will also develop community-based malnutrition interventions, including supplementary feeding programs for the poorest families and support of women-led nutrition groups.


Jessie Morrison
Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre
Arusha, Tanzania

Jessie is a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN. She received her nursing degree from Stony Brook University in New York. Prior to her career in nursing, Jessie taught high school science in Brooklyn, New York. She also has degrees from Pace University in New York (Masters of Science in Teaching) and the University of Wisconsin (Bachelor of Science: Biology).

As an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Jessie will be working as a nurse at the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre in Arusha, Tanzania. Her work will help increase the access to and quality of healthcare to the local population. Her specific interest and focus area is women's healthcare.


Mariyam Naadha
Human Rights Program, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mariyam Naadha was born and raised in Male’, Maldives. Her interest in social justice stemmed from her undergraduate studies in Criminology and Women’s Studies at the University of Manitoba, located in Canada. She was particularly interested in gender inequality and women’s human rights as well as rights of incarcerated people. She is currently a Masters of Public Policy candidate at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, where she is self designing her own concentration in gender and development. Prior to joining the Humphrey School, she worked for four years in various social justice and human rights programs in the Maldives, most recently as a Communications Officer for the UNICEF Maldives Country Office. Naadha will carry out her Fellowship at the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota. The Human Rights Program serves as a hub for interdisciplinary research and practice at the University of Minnesota by bringing together faculty, governmental and non-governmental practitioners and connecting them to students. At the Human Rights Program, Naadha will provide research in to the political, social and human rights situation in Myanmar, for potential engagement of the University of Minnesota in public health programs in Myanmar.


Inga Nelson
Office of the Appellate Defender
Helena, Montana

Inga recently completed her first year at the University of Minnesota Law School. She has a B.A. in Liberal Studies, summa cum laude, and a M.A. in History from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Prior to entering law school, Inga worked as a political organizer and policy advocate for over a decade with public interest organizations in Oregon and Montana on issues of women’s and worker’s rights. Upon completing law school she intends to continue this work as a public interest attorney.

This summer, Inga will be working with the Montana Appellate Public Defender’s Office where she will be assisting with the representation of indigent individuals who are appealing their criminal convictions before the Montana Supreme Court.


Luke Olson
Food and Agriculture Organization
Rome, Italy

Luke recently completed his first year of law school at the University of Minnesota. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Xavier University in Cincinnati. After graduating from Xavier University, Luke co-founded Soccer Balls for Africa, a charitable organization that raises funds to aid African schools and communities with school supplies, building supplies, food, and soccer balls. In this position, he traveled to Africa for three months to personally distribute supplies to local schools and communities. Luke has also worked at Bowman and Brooke LLP as a case assistant.

This summer, Luke will be working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a UN organization based in Rome, for his Fellowship. He will assist the Office of Knowledge, Exchange, Research, and Extension (OEKR) in preparing the technical content for a major publication on Agriculture Innovation in Family Farming. His responsibilities include preparing background information, documents, and case studies focusing on the enabling environment for agriculture innovation.


Sandip Patel
The Sikh Coalition
New York

Sandip just completed his second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to law school, he worked as an educator at Global Kids, Inc., a non-profit that conducts leadership and attendance improvement programs in New York City high schools. Specifically, Sandip facilitated the after-school Human Rights Advocacy Program through which his students developed and executed a grassroots campaign to improve educational rights and opportunities for undocumented students. Sandip earned his B.A. in Sociology from Bowdoin College. He currently serves on the Board of Amnesty International at the UMN Law School.

Sandip will be spending the summer working as a Legal Intern with The Sikh Coalition in New York City, which seeks to defend the religious freedom of the Sikh community through protection from employment discrimination, racial profiling and inequity in schooling. He will be assisting with the organization’s litigation strategy through in-take interviews, legal research and writing, and community outreach and organizing.


Julia Peasley
Partners in Health & ETESC
Santa Ana Huista, Guatemala

Julia Peasley has just completed her coursework at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health for her Master’s in Public Health Nutrition with a concentration in Global Health. Julia is fluent in Spanish and has lived and traveled abroad for study and work in Mexico, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia. While studying at the University of Minnesota, Julia has worked at a community dental clinic, with the National Children’s Study in Ramsey County, and as a Jr. Scientist at the Nutrition Coordinating Center.

For her Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship, Julia will be going to Guatemala to volunteer with Partners in Health. They partner there with a local non-profit organization that was founded by Guatemalan refugees who returned to their homeland after the civil war was over in order to rebuild their community. She will be working on increasing their nutrition programming to address the very high rates of child malnutrition in that area.


Eric Peffley
United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
Arusha, Tanzania

Eric Peffley graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, in 2009 with a B.Mus. in Music Composition, and in 2010 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He served in the United State Army Reserve from 2001-2009, with two deployments to Iraq in 2003 and 2008. In 2008, he worked as a Tactical Psychological Operations Team Leader where he interacted regularly with the local population using non-violent tactics to achieve peace and stability in East Baghdad. Eric has also worked private security for 6 years, including armed security work in 2010 for the Transportation Security Administration Headquarters in Arlington, VA. He is now a student at the University of Minnesota Law School pursuing a career in international and human rights law.

This summer, Eric will be working as a legal intern at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania. He will be working with the Office of the Prosecutor, Appeals and Legal Advisory Division. ICTR was set up to promote national reconciliation and maintain peace in the region by trying the leadership responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide, as well as other citizens who have committed grave violations of law.


Hindolo Pokawa
Sierra Leone Found for New Democracy (SLFND)
Freetown, Sierra Leone

As a child in Sierra Leone, Hindolo Pokawa experienced the brutal violence, economic destruction, and social disintegration of civil war. After finishing high school as an adult in Zimbabwe, where he fled once the war escalated, he later entered the United States on a student visa and earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Global Studies, with a Minor in African-African American Studies, focusing on Peace and Governance. In the last five years, he has completed one Master’s degree and has nearly completed a second while cultivating a supportive network through school and by working for various organizations and volunteering with communities that have been displaced as a result of conflict. Hindolo has served as a Board Member of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. Hindolo’s leadership led to the formation of the organization’s Youth Program, which provides youth with opportunities to engage with nonviolent theories and practices through training, and paid summer internships. As the founder and executive director of the Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy (SLFND), Hindolo’s role has been to build local communities’ capacity to see themselves as part of the solution to socio-economic problems and as agents of change.


Kristen Rau
Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC)
Johannesburg, South Africa

Kristen is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.) and the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs (M.P.P.). Kristen has pursued her interests in international human rights law and international criminal justice throughout her graduate career, and recently published an article ("Jurisprudential Innovation or Accountability Avoidance? The International Criminal Court and Proposed Expansion of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights") in the Minnesota Law Review. Kristen has interned at the U.S. Senate, the U.S. State Department, Refugee Law Project, Center for Justice and Accountability, and Human Rights Watch.

As a 2012 Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow, Kristen will work as a legal fellow with the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) in Johannesburg, South Africa. SALC's international justice program seeks to encourage southern African states to comply with their international obligations through litigation and advocacy.

Amanda Anais Ruiz
Colorado Public Defender
Castle Rock, Colorado

Amanda just completed her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. While in law school, she has co-founded the Criminal Justice League and started a volunteer campaign helping persons whose criminal records lock them in a cycle of poverty. Prior to law school, she served two AmeriCorps terms, doing grassroots activism anti-violence and gender equality work with V-Day, the Rape Recovery Center, and the Salt Lake Unified Police Department. She graduated summa cum laude from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, earning a double B.A. in Philosophy and in Spanish & Latin American Studies.

For her Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship, Amanda will work at the Colorado State Public Defender defending indigent juveniles accused of criminal activity. She aims to deflect the lifelong collateral consequences that attach when kids accumulate criminal records, while also connecting at risk youth to services to alleviate the social factors involving them with the criminal justice system in the first place.


Mo Shepherd
Transitional Justice Institute
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Mo Shepherd was raised in Zimbabwe. She has a B.Sc. in criminal justice from California Lutheran University, a M.Div. from Oral Roberts University, M.A. in international relations (with emphasis in human rights) from the University of Chicago, and a M.A.S./LL.M. in international organizations from the University of Zurich. She is currently a law student at the University of Minnesota and a Clarendon Scholar at Oxford.

This summer Mo will be working with the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) in Northern Ireland. The TJI is a research center dedicated to examining the role of law in the movement of societies from conflict to peace.


Waeiz Syed
Islamic Law and Human Rights Project
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Waeiz Syed is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota Law School. He graduated cum laude with concentrations in International Law and Human Rights. He graduated magna cum laude from DePaul University, with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He has worked on various civil rights issues with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. Last summer, Waeiz worked with the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco, CA. While there, Waeiz assisted the Center’s litigation efforts against war criminals and human rights abusers.

This summer, Waeiz will be working with the Islamic Law and Human Rights Project at the University of Minnesota Law School. The Islamic Law and Human Rights Project engaged in research, scholarship, and educational and practical activities on issues of Islamic law, human rights, rule of law, and terrorism. Waeiz will be assisting the Project by helping create a functional program infrastructure and perform research related to the topics of Islamic Law and Human Rights.


Alexis Watts
Freetown, Sierra Leone

Alexis is currently a first year law student at the University of Minnesota. She is originally from Seattle and attended the University of Washington, where she earned both a BA in Anthropology and an MPA in International Development. Alexis has also served as both an AmeriCorps literacy volunteer in the Seattle Public Schools, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali from '06-'08.

This summer, Alexis will be working with Timap for Justice in Sierra Leone. Timap for Justice is a national organization dedicated to increasing legal access throughout the country and ameliorating human rights conditions in the country. The organization works with citizens to offer basic legal advice and mediation, and to address issues within the dualist legal structure of the country. Alexis is excited to work for this very interesting organization and to work with the citizens of Sierra Leone to further empower themselves.


Jennifer Wong
Gender Justice
St. Paul, Minnesota

Jennifer Wong received her B.A. in Political Science and Japanese from Vassar College and is currently a rising 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School. Between college and law school, she worked on voting rights for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City. During her 1L year, she served on the boards for APALSA and OutLaw. Since January, she has volunteered for Gender Justice, a St. Paul-based nonprofit dedicated to eliminating gender discrimination.

This summer, Jennifer will continue working with Gender Justice, where she will conduct research on the systemic barriers that transgendered individuals face within healthcare and employment contexts. A significant aspect of her project will include examining the disparate impact these barriers have on socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, youth, and communities of color.





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