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University of Minnesota Human Rights Center
Human Rights Fellowship Program

Complete List of Past Fellows

2014 Fellows


Maya Batres
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Washington D.C., USA

Maya is a rising 3L at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is interested primarily in Latin American development and human rights. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota in 2011, and after graduating she spent a year working at a cultural learning center in Guatemala, where she is a dual-citizen. She then served as an AmeriCorps literacy volunteer. During law school Maya has clerked for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in the Refugee Immigrant and Migrant Services Division in addition to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office Department of Human Services. She has also worked as a research assistant in the Department of African American Studies.

Maya will complete her Human Rights Fellowship at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in Washington D.C. this summer. CIEL works to strengthen and use international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society.


Nick Bednar
The Advocates for Human Rights - Refugee and Immigrant Program & International Justice Program
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nick Bednar recently finished his first year at the University of Minnesota Law School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from the University of Minnesota in 2012. During his undergraduate career, he studied in Cork, Ireland at University College Cork and earned a Certificate in Political Issues in Ireland Today. Nick served as treasurer of the Asylum Law Project during his first-year of law school and subsequently travelled to Berkeley, California to assist in the preparation of asylum declarations.

Nick’s Human Rights Fellowship will support his work this summer at the Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights. Nick will work with the Refugee and Immigrant Program assisting low-income persons seeking asylum in the United States. He will also work with the International Justice Program on drafting submissions to the United Nations on issues related to the rights of non-citizens in the United States.


Minne Bosma
South Asia Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (SAILS)
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Minne Bosma graduated from the Master of Laws (LL.M) Program at the University of Minnesota Law School with a human rights concentration. He interned previously at University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center and the Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis. Minne received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in tax law from Tilburg University in 2013 and 2014, respectively. He participated in the International EUCOTAX Wintercourse 2012-2013 project and wrote his Master’s thesis is this context.

Minne studied abroad at Kyushu University in Japan during his undergraduate where he concentrated on international economic and business law. Minne will use his Human Rights Fellowship to work with the South Asia Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He will focus on human rights education. More specifically, he will develop a human rights curriculum and teach on topics of human rights to recently graduated, and current law school students.


Suzan Boulad
Independent Syrian Judiciary Council
Gaziantep, Turkey

Suzan will be entering her second year as a law student at the University of Minnesota Law School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Mills College. After graduating, she blogged for Mideast Youth and worked with the Syrian American Council and other organizations supporting the Syrian revolution and raising money for humanitarian relief.

Suzan will use her Fellowship working with the Independent Syrian Judiciary Council in Gaziantep, Turkey. The Council is a grassroots group of judges who provide basic legal services to Syrians in areas that no longer have government services, as well as document human rights abuses from both government forces and rebels. She will be working to connect this group and other grassroots Syrian legal organizations with international support, as well as assisting in human rights documentation.


Ashlyn Clark
Transitional Justice Institute
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ashlyn is a first year law student at the University of Minnesota. She graduated in 2013 from Carnegie Mellon University where she majored in History and Creative Writing. During her undergraduate studies, Ashlyn interned with anti-human trafficking NGOs in Washington, DC, and helped lobby for the Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act. Ashlyn is using her Human Rights Fellowship to work with the Transitional Justice Institute in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Institute is a leading center in the developing field of transitional justice, examining how the law and legal institutions assist in the move from conflict to peace. Ashlyn will be working with the Institute’s summer program focused on gender, sexual violence, and conflict issues.


Kathya Cibelle Dawe
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
The Hague, Netherlands

Kathya Cibelle Dawe is a lawyer and anthropologist originally from Brazil and now based in Minnesota. The Human Rights Center hosted her as a 2010-11 Humphrey Fulbright Fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she focused her professional development and studies on justice and prison systems, the rights of incarcerated persons, and women’s and children’s rights. Since she has moved to the Twin Cities, Kathya has developed a series of documentaries for local television focusing on human rights, both locally in Minnesota and internationally, as well as international education and the Humphrey Fellowship Program.

Kathya recently started her Human Rights Fellowship with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She is working at Trial Chamber I, on the Ratko Mladic case; Mladic is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. She provides legal support to the Judges at the Mladic trial by performing legal research and preparing memoranda; helping to draft Decisions, Oders and parts of Judgements; assisting with the management of documentary evidence; writing reports of court proceedings and summaries of witnesses’ testimony; and participating in analyses and discussions with the Chambers legal staff and the three Judges assigned to this case.


Paula Cuellar
The Advocates for Human Rights - International Justice Program
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Paula earned a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) Degree from the Central American University José Simeón Cañas. She also earned a master ́s degree in Human Rights and Education for Peace from the University of El Salvador and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) Degree in International Human Rights Law from Notre Dame, graduating magna cum laude. She earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Rights and Democratization Processes from the University of Chile. This past year she was accepted to the University of Minnesota Graduate Program in History.

Professionally, since 2005, she has worked full-time at the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador as a judicial clerk. In 2011, Paula was appointed as the Head of the International Unit of the Supreme Court of Justice. Furthermore, she worked at the Central American University José Simeón Cañas as an academic at a postgraduate and graduate level and, since 2006, she worked as a researcher for the law department. Paula has been involved in activism on transitional justice issues, working with the International Tribunal for the Application of Restorative Justice in El Salvador, the International Center for Transitional Justice and has collaborated with restorative justice initiatives in her country to create awareness about the necessity of addressing past human rights violations. During this past year, she worked as a research assistant for Professor Douglass Cassel at Notre Dame University.


Tim Culver
University of Minnesota Law School (Prof. Chris Roberts)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tim Culver is a rising second-year J.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota Law School. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Princeton University in 2007, with a focus on Moral Philosophy and Philosophy of Mind. After graduating, Tim worked for a leading educational services provider, serving as Director of Operations in Northern California, before establishing a sole-proprietorship to offer accessible tutoring, operational advising, and admissions consulting to under-resourced individuals. He has fundraised, organized, and volunteered across four continents and in more than twenty countries, focusing his efforts on a range of human rights issues, such as food rights, war crimes, educational access, and employee treatment in the agricultural industry.

This summer, Tim will serve his Human Rights Fellowship with Professor Chris Roberts at the University of Minnesota Law School. He will assist in producing the final manuscript for Professor Roberts’ forthcoming book, The Contentious History of the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as Law Review articles associated with its content. Specifically, Tim will conduct literature reviews, edit forthcoming publications, perform data searches in academic journals and law reviews, and consolidate, synthesize, and present research findings in person and through written summaries.


Griffin Ferry
The Advocates for Human Rights - Women’s Rights Program
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Griffin Ferry is a first year law student at the University of Minnesota. He graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. This summer, Griffin will be interning for the Women’s Rights Program at the Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Women’s Human Rights program applies international human rights standards to advocate for women’s rights in Minnesota, the United States, and around the world. Griffin will primarily be working on legal research and monitoring current developments in women’s human rights.


Susan Hallquist
Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Susan Hallquist is a 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. After graduating summa cum laude from Saint Catherine University in 2009, where she majored in English literature, Susan completed an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship during her 2L year. During this time she worked on sustainable development issues with a particular geographic focus on Senegal.

This summer, Susan will be working at Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Established in 1966, VLN is a non-profit that provides free civil legal services to low-income persons through volunteer attorneys. Susan will work directly with VLM clients providing brief legal services and legal advice at the Legal Access Point Clinic in Hennepin County. She will also provide follow-up services and research for some of VLN’s clients. Another one of her major roles is coordinating a free pilot legal advice clinic for the Asian community in the Twin Cities in collaboration with some of the diversity/affinity bar associations.


Emily Harrison
American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital
Washington D.C., USA

Emily Harrison is a rising second year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin -- Madison in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (Honors) and History. As a senior, Emily wrote an honors Political Science thesis analyzing how the exchange of ideas in higher education has been frustrated by unconstitutional information technology policies, as well as by the lack of academic freedom protection for faculty in cases of open records requests subpoenaing e-mail records.

Last summer, Emily interned for Pennsylvania State Senator Andrew Dinniman and assisted with legislative and constituent casework. She analyzed drafts of legislation related to topics including higher education, security and civil liberties, environmental cap and trade programs, and the pharmaceutical industry. As a Human Rights Fellow, Emily will pursue a fellowship at the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital during the summer of 2014. The ACLU is involved in a variety of human rights and civil liberties issues such as criminal justice and the due process of law, freedom of speech, immigrants’ rights, LGBT rights and gender equality, national security, privacy, racial justice, voting rights, and student and youth rights. She will conduct legal and factual research, contact current and potential clients, draft memoranda and pleadings, and prepare testimonies regarding proposed legislation before the Council of the District of Columbia. Working for the ACLU this summer will allow Emily the ability to further her goal of pursuing a legal career relating to civil liberties, human rights, and constitutional law.


Eikoku Ikeno
University of Minnesota Law School - Center for New Americans - Detainee Rights Clinic
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Eikoku Ikeno is a third year law student at the University of Minnesota Law School. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. This summer, he will use his Human Rights Fellowship award to work with the Detainee Rights Clinic of the University of Minnesota Law School's Center for New Americans. The Center for new Americans, founded in 2013 through a generous grant from the Robina Foundation, was established with the mission of serving the often overlooked and perpetually underserved population of immigrants living in Minnesota. In particular, the mission of the Detainee Rights Clinic, one of the three clinical programs created under the Center for New Americans, is to provide direct representation for those immigrants being held in detention under ICE custody.

Over the summer, Eikoku intends to not only provide direct representation to immigrants in detention, but to also work with the Detainee Rights Clinic in developing and establishing the guidelines and protocols needed to help the Clinic operate effectively in the future.


Kristin Johnson
Gender Justice
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Kristin Johnson is a second-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, summa cum laude, from Middle Tennessee State University in 2008. Prior to that, Kristin spent many years working for the United States Postal Service in the Nashville, Tennessee, area and volunteering her free time with various service organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Meals on Wheels.

Kristin’s Human Rights Fellowship will be with Gender Justice, a legal aid organization in St. Paul, Minnesota, focusing on issues of gender inequality and legal actions manifested of such issues. These include civil actions based on sexual assault, pay disparity, wrongful termination, and many other situations commonly accompanying gender and intersectional biases. Over the summer, Kristin will endeavor to provide valuable research and legal assistance to founding and staff attorneys as they fight to right gender-based wrongs.


Adam Kohnstamm
Office of International Affairs, Department of Justice
Rome, Italy

Adam Kohnstamm is a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota. He completed his second year of law school at the University of Minnesota. Adam earned his undergraduate degree in History with a minor in Political Science at Union College New York. Prior to law school, Adam worked for 5 years on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as a policy adviser for two United States Senators including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

This summer, Adam will intern with the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy, which coordinates with the Italian Department of Justice in criminal investigations and prosecutions involving the extradition or other legal rendition of international fugitives. Adam is particularly excited to help with legal research and writing in support of attorneys prosecuting cases of corruption, human trafficking, hate crimes, and violence against women.

Soren Lagaard
Office of the General Counsel, United States Department of Education
Washington, D.C.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Montgomery, Alabama

Soren Lagaard, a native of Cambridge, Minnesota, completed his second year of law school at the University of Minnesota. Passionate about juvenile justice issues, Soren was a middle school English teacher in New Orleans for three years before coming to law school. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, studying abroad in Cairo, Egypt and Sana’a, Yemen.

This summer, Soren is excited and honored to intern at both the United States Department of Education and the Southern Poverty Law Center. At both, he will have the opportunity to work on a range of issues related to educational opportunity and juvenile justice.


Ariel Litke
International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW)
Minneapolis, MN, and Geneva, Switzerland

Ariel Litke recently completed an M.A. (research track) in Human Rights at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) at Sciences Po in Paris, France. In the fall, he will start a Master’s in Economic Law, also at Sciences Po, in preparation for taking the Bar Exam. In 2012, he graduated at the top of his class at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, where he majored in International Relations, and was awarded the prize for best Bachelor’s Thesis (Law). Over the years, Ariel has volunteered with the Geneva Red Cross, teaching French to political refugees, and with UNICEF France. He also organizes weekly sports and cultural outings for youth from the Paris suburbs with the Secours Populaire.

This summer, Ariel will be work with Dr. Marsha Freeman, Director of International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW), which is affiliated with the Human Rights Center. He will assist Dr. Freeman in a number of research projects, including one focused on the development of so-called Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) and their resistance to family law reform. He will also accompany Dr. Freeman to the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women meetings in Geneva in July 2014, assisting Dr. Freeman in advocacy and research. He is looking forward to learning the “who’s-who” and inner workings of UN politics.


Danielle Meinhardt
Sierra Club Environmental Law Program
San Francisco, California

Danielle completed a bachelor's degree in geography at the University of Missouri -- Columbia and later re-located to Minnesota to earn a master's degree in geography. She spent time on the Île de la Gonâve in Haiti, where she volunteered at a rural health clinic and helped high school students in their English courses. As an intern at Women on Waves, a Dutch reproductive rights organization, she compiled data on abortion policy and women’s health and helped the organization launch an Internet campaign. These and other experiences solidified Danielle's commitment to working for the public interest. After teaching community college for several years Danielle returned to the University of Minnesota to pursue a law degree and a PhD in geography through the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology.

The 2014 Human Rights Fellowship will support Danielle's work as a legal intern at the Sierra Club Environmental Law Program in San Francisco, California. The Sierra Club works to protect the environment and public health, and is particularly focused on reducing the threats that climate change poses to people and the ecosystems upon which they rely.


Nathaniel Moore
International Human Rights Clinic
Geneva, Switzerland

Nathaniel Moore will graduate from the University of Minnesota Law School in May of 2014 with certificates in Energy and Environmental Law, International Law, and Human Rights Law. Prior to Law School, Nathaniel worked at a wine vineyard in the drift-less area of Wisconsin, contributed to the work of an international environmental think-tank, and taught English in the West Bank. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and focused on international relations.

Nathaniel’s Human Rights Fellowship work included traveling to Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s review of the United States. There, he successfully lobbied the U.N. Human Rights Committee to question the U.S. Delegation on their commitment to fulfilling their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. During the review, the Committee questioned the delegation with references from the Report drafted by Nathaniel and his colleagues. Following the review, the Committee adopted language in their “Concluding Observations” that mirrored sample “Concluding Observations” created by Nathaniel and his colleagues.


Jacob Rhein
Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice
Washington, D.C., USA

Jacob Rhein is a second-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School and an editor of the Minnesota Law Review. He previously attended the University of St. Thomas, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and his Master of Arts in Catholic studies. This summer, Jacob will be an intern in the Criminal Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. He will assist government attorneys with legal research and writing to support the prosecution of violent crimes against federal civil rights.


Leah Tabbert
Gender Justice
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Prior to completing her first year at the University of Minnesota Law School, Leah graduated summa cum laude from St. Norbert College with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy. While an undergraduate, she was active in LGBT advocacy, serving as co-president of St. Norbert College’s Rainbow Alliance. Leah also had the privilege of interning with the Office of the Public Defender of Green Bay, WI. She would like to practice public interest or employment law in the future.

Leah will complete her Human Rights Fellowship at Gender Justice in St. Paul, MN, during which she looks forward to connecting with the community and furthering LGBT and women’s human rights. Gender Justice is a non-profit legal organization that seeks to reduce the effects of sex, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination. Gender Justice applies a three-part approach to this goal by engaging in impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community education.


Max Zimmerman
International Center for Transitional Justice
New York, New York

Max Zimmerman just completed his first year at the University of Minnesota Law School. He received his B.A. in international affairs from the George Washington University, and his M.A. in international affairs from the New School in New York City. Previously, Max worked with International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch.

During the summer of 2014, Max’s Human Rights Fellowship will enable him to work with the International Center for Transitional Justice. Max will support the organization’s efforts to assist in promoting justice, accountability, and peace to countries that have seen mass human rights violations in the recent past. His work in the New York office will support projects in Lebanon, Colombia, and Uganda, as well as other places.




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