For Tanaz Moghadam, law school was a longtime calling and a natural fit. “I’ve always loved to be engaged in arguments and to be able to communicate better,” she said.
Her interest in human rights developed during her first year at college when she read Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda by journalist Scott Peterson. “I wanted to see this firsthand and I wanted to know what happened,” Tanaz said of her reaction to the book.
Tanaz followed through on her concern as an undergraduate. She conducted field work in Tanzania, Morocco and Rwanda, then worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice for a year after college as she applied to law schools.
“I picked Columbia because of the amount of support you get right away from the Center for Public Interest Law,” she said.
Tanaz spent her 1L summer in the Ivory Coast where she worked in an emergency obstetrics program through Columbia’s Human Rights Internship Program fellowship. She said that since coming to the Law School, she has become increasingly interested in the civil liberties side of public interest work. An externship at the ACLU sparked her interest in challenging executive overreach, what she sees as a domestic effect of the war on terror.
She will clerk for Judge Jan E. Dubois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and she plans to go into public interest work afterwards.
“I have this passion for transitional justice and seeing communities emerge from violent conflict,” she said.