Inaugural Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Cohort

The program, offered through Social Justice Initiatives (SJI), brings together and supports a community of students seeking to use their legal training to effect positive change in society.

Designed for students committed to pursuing public interest or public service careers upon graduation, the three-year Public Interest/Public Service (PI/PS) Fellows Program provides students with specialized opportunities and resources for exploring public interest and government lawyering in the United States and abroad. PI/PS Fellows also become part of a close-knit community built on their passion for serving the public good. Meet the impressive members of the inaugural class of PI/PS Fellows below. 

Annel Becerra Rodriguez

Annel RodriguezAnnel aspires to center her advocacy at the intersection of racial justice, immigrants' rights, and LGBTQ rights. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A in Legal Studies and Chicano Studies. As an immigrant and a member of a mixed-status home, immigration, housing, and employment issues were a constant in Annel's life, but affordable legal advocates were scarce. After graduating from college, Annel worked as a paralegal at an immigration and criminal defense nonprofit where she saw firsthand the immediate impact of legal advocacy and direct service work. Annel is the first in her family to attend law school.



Katja Botchkareva

Katja is interested in a host of legal issues that affect immigrant communities, including immigration law, workers’ rights, and gender justice. Katja majored in political science and economics at Yale University. Before starting law school, she worked in several fields relating to global migration. After working on pro bono immigration cases at a DC law firm, she volunteered at a refugee community center in Calais, France, researched organized crime in Central America with InSight Crime, and studied trends in Syrian refugee returns with iMMAP. Growing up in an immigrant household, Katja was exposed to language learning early in her education, and she hopes to use her fluency in Russian, French, and Spanish in her advocacy efforts. 


Nicole Castillo

Nicole CastilloNicole’s general areas of interest include immigration, human rights, and transitional justice. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Government and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. Before making her way to New York, Nicole interned at the Washington Office on Latin America, served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Morocco, and coached high school debate. She is a native New Jerseyan and the first in her family to attend college.




Bianca Larez Chavez

Bianca ChavezBianca is passionate about education equity and the rights of children. Bianca graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science and Race Studies. Before law school, Bianca spent 13 months working with Hillary for America in New York and Nevada. She also spent two years teaching 8th-grade History in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Bianca is the first in her family to attend law school.





Susannah R. Cohen

Susannah CohenSusannah aspires to work in anti-discrimination law with a focus on women's equality in the workplace, including such issues as pay equity and sexual harassment. Susannah graduated magma cum laude from Columbia College in 2017 with a B.A. in American Studies with honors. During college, she launched her career in the policy world through several internships, including at the National Center for Access to Justice, where Susannah reviewed data for the Justice Index and assisted unrepresented litigants as a Housing Court Navigator. She also interned for Senator Charles Schumer in his New York and D.C. offices, where she researched legislative issues and staffed senate briefings and hearings. Acting on her lifelong desire to pursue social justice through policymaking, Susannah moved to Washington, D.C., after graduation. In her roles as a legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and as a public policy and research assistant at the American Association of University Women, she engaged in federal legislative advocacy on issues related to gender equity and economic justice.


Diana Costin

Diana is interested in promoting gender equality and working on criminal justice reform. She graduated summa cum laude from Colgate University with a B.A. in Women's Studies and Sociology. Before law school, Diana created a body-positivity initiative at Colgate University, worked for a feminist documentary company promoting reproductive justice, and interned with Footsteps, a not-for-profit that helps empower people to take control of their futures. Diana is also a singer/songwriter and has released original music on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora about standing up for and loving oneself.




Adia Davis

Adia DavisAdia's primary interests are civil rights and criminal justice reform. She graduated from The College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Public Policy and a minor in English. Before law school, Adia held summer internships at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a criminal defense firm. Her passion for social justice issues was furthered through work at her university's Office of Community Engagement. After graduating from college, Adia worked as an elementary school teacher in Spain.




Emily Dennan

Emily DennanEmily is interested in multiple social justice issues, including education equity, children's rights, and economic justice.She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Anthropology & Government and a minor in Global Studies in Education. Before law school, Emily worked as an AmeriCorps member in schools in Austin, TX and Philadelphia, PA. These experiences, as well as her personal experiences as a student in Alabama public schools, fueled her passion for this work. Emily is the first in her family to attend graduate school.



Emily L. Drake

Emily DrakeEmily is interested in criminal justice reform and environmental justice work. She graduated with the highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a B.A. in Peace, War, and Defense Studies. There, she studied how climate change affects conflict severity and presented her research at Oxford University. Emily is currently serving as a Second Lieutenant in the National Guard.





Raisa Elhadi

Raisa ElhadiRaisa is interested in exploring the potential of impact litigation in the field of human rights, especially as it pertains to refugees and migrants and their rights across international borders. Raisa earned her B.A. in Global Studies from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, focusing on human rights and the Middle East. Raisa's heritage and family background are what sparked her initial interest in human rights. Her work at the University of Minnesota's Center for New Americans drove that interest toward the field of human rights law, and her experience working with Syrian refugees in Beirut, Lebanon, fueled her passion for working with displaced peoples, especially those displaced by conflict in the Middle East. In addition to her interest in law, Raisa is an avid piano player and a published creative writer. 


Adaeze Eze

Adaeze EzeAdaeze is interested in policymaking, particularly as it relates to foreign policy and national security. Adaeze graduated from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, where she received her BSFS in International Politics and minored in Arabic. While Adaeze's undergraduate studies centered on foreign policy, many of her past work experiences are public-policy oriented. In college, she interned with the Department of Homeland Security, and before law school, she worked for the City of San Francisco on family violence issues.




Rawda Fawaz

Rawda FawazRawda’s interests include human rights, refugee advocacy, and environmental justice. Rawda graduated with honors from the University of Virginia (UVA), where she received a B.A. in Political and Social Thought and a minor in African & African American Studies. During her time at UVA, Rawda served as president of DREAMers on Grounds, was a founding member of the Muslim Institute for Leadership and Empowerment, and interned with the New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as well as the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Her work with intersecting minority communities colored her passion for the public interest. Rawda is a proud Egyptian immigrant and the first in her family to attend law school.


Samuel Fishman

Samuel FishmanSam's interests are police accountability and criminal justice reform. He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a B.A. in Political Economy and a minor in the Spanish language. Sam worked in Philadelphia as a field organizer for the 2016 presidential race. He then spent two years as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Paraguay before working as a project assistant for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC. Sam is a musician who has released original music on Spotify and iTunes.




Daimiris Garcia

Daimiris GarciaDaimiris is passionate about international criminal justice, foreign policy, and peace building. Daimiris graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in French. Before law school, Daimiris interned in the International Criminal Court in The Hague where she developed an interest in international disputes and humanitarian law. She was later selected as a Fulbright scholar in Israel to pursue a Master's degree in International Conflict Resolution and Mediation. Daimiris is a first-generation college student and fluent in Spanish and French.



Abie Green

Abie Green

Abie is interested in a multitude of social justice and human rights issues, including statelessness, refugee rights, women and LGBTQ+ rights, and transitional justice. Abie graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a B.A. in Individualized Study with a concentration in intersectionality, human rights, and the law and a minor in American Sign Language. Abie interned at the New York State Division of Human Rights in her sophomore year—an experience that confirmed her passion for such work. She was later selected as a Global Human Rights Fellow, where she worked on a project on refugee and immigrant rights as they intersect with racism.



Zeinab Khalil

Zeinab KhalilZeinab is interested in the intersection of the criminal legal, public welfare, and immigration systems. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in International Relations and earned her M.A. with Highest Honors from Yale University in Global Affairs and Public Policy. Zeinab started Quwa, an anti-violence and political education program for displaced Arabic-speaking women. For the past two years, she has worked in the Office of the President at Open Society Foundations, the largest human rights philanthropy in the world. Zeinab is the second in her extended family to attend law school after her grandfather, who was imprisoned by the Egyptian state in the 1960s for his political activism and ultimately died of neglect. Zeinab is humbled to uphold his legacy of speaking truth to power.


Hyun Kim

Hyun is interested in climate law, reproductive rights, civil liberties, and economic justice. Before moving to New York, Hyun graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in Public Policy. In college, Hyun volunteered as a tutor with the Petey Greene Program and wrote his thesis on candidate gender's effects on congressional campaign finance. After graduation, he worked as a paralegal with the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) clinic for Pro Se Litigants in the S.D.N.Y., assisting pro se litigants with a variety of civil rights, employment discrimination, and other legal matters.


Kate Kobriger

Kate KobrigerKate is interested in healthcare access, health education, and advocating for victims of domestic violence. She graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she earned her B.A. in English Literature and Gender and Women's Studies. Following her undergraduate education, Kate worked as a healthcare IT project manager before pivoting to serve as a business and policy analyst for Wisconsin Medicaid. Her experience collaborating with clinicians, insurers, and accounting and finance teams directed her interest in health law. Kate is a native Wisconsinite and a first-generation college student.



Geesu Lee

Geesu LeeGeesu's general areas of interest include global humanitarian issues, peace-building, and refugee protection. Geesu graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Economics and earned an M.P.A. at Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School. During his military service from 2013-2016, Geesu served as a UN peacekeeper in Lebanon for about a year. There, he developed a strong passion to pursue peace-building and humanitarian assistance as a future career. Geesu also briefly worked at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Seoul and interned at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. Geesu is passionate about learning different languages and cultures.


August (Gus) Leinbach

Gus LeinbachGus's areas of interest include labor and tenants' rights. He graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College with a B.A. in Religion. Before law school, Gus spent two years as an AmeriCorps member in Minneapolis. His work with residents at an affordable housing organization contributed to his interest in tackling issues of social and economic inequality.






Megan Liu

Megan LiuMegan is interested in exploring the intersection between international law and civil rights, including education equality across different cultural contexts. Megan graduated from Durham University in the U.K. with a B.A. in English Literature, History, and Business. Before law school, she worked on education programs in developing countries at UNICEF in Beijing and New York. Recently, Megan interned at the UN criminal tribunal in The Hague. Exposure to legal and policy reform was the impetus behind her decision to attend law school to become a more effective advocate. Originally from Connecticut, Megan grew up in Shanghai.


Bridgett McCoy

Brigett McCoyBridgett is interested in the intersection of international human rights, environmental justice, and community organizing. Bridgett majored in Environmental Studies--Government and Spanish at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Before law school, she worked as an environmental consultant for USAID, focusing on the connections between conflict, climate change, and economic development. Bridgett also worked as a field organizer in Maine during the 2018 midterm elections. Bridgett has spent time volunteering with an immigrant rights group and on the campaign to establish a carbon tax in Washington, DC. Bridgett is a Native Rhode Islander and enjoys surfing at Rockaway Beach.


Anahi Mendoza

Anahi Pacheco-MendozaAnahi is interested in a variety of social justice issues, including women's rights and immigrants' rights. She graduated with honors from Harvard University with a degree in social studies and a secondary in ethnicity, migration, and rights. Before law school, Anahi served as the executive director of the Immigrant Legal Defense Center and was a former Community Fellow with the Immigrant Justice Corps where she provided pro bono assistance to immigrants in New York City and asylees at the U.S.-Mexico border.




Stephanie Nnadi

Stephanie NnadiStephanie is passionate about several social justice issues, including criminal justice and immigration reform. Stephanie graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Political Science and Psychology and minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies. Before attending law school, Stephanie served as a page for the Ohio Senate, interned for Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, served as the Public Policy Fellow for the Columbus Partnership, and volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).



Kiara Rogers

Kiara RogersKiara aspires to a career centered at the intersection of law and public policy, focusing on her passion for education equality and criminal justice reform. Kiara graduated with high distinction from the Frank Batten School at the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Public Policy and Leadership and a minor in Sociology. Prior to law school, Kiara served as a Governor's Fellow to Virginia's 73rd Governor, where she worked closely with the policy team to enact legislation. She previously interned at the United States Department of Justice within the Environmental Crimes Section. Kiara is a native of Richmond, Va., and the first in her family to attend law school.



Isaiah Strong

Isaiah StrongIsaiah is passionate about criminal justice reform and economic advocacy work. Isaiah graduated cum laude from Butler University with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and Recording Industry Studies. At Butler, Isaiah spent time on the executive board of Fall Alternative Break traveling to West Virginia and Kentucky to work on affordable housing issues.






Roger Antonio Tejada

Roger TejadaRoger is interested in multiple social justice issues, including civil rights, income inequality, criminal justice reform, and educational equity. Roger earned his B.A. in Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College and a master's in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. Before law school, Roger taught bilingual education to elementary students in his hometown of Passaic, N.J., through Teach for America before becoming a teacher educator in Brazil while on a Fulbright grant. Seeing the continued cycle of educational inequity at various stages of his life has led him to fight the multi-faceted issues faced by low-income communities in our nation. As a child of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and the first in his family to graduate from college and earn a graduate degree, Roger is committed to empowering others to achieve the American dream.


Brandon Vines

Brandon VinesBrandon is interested in using the open-source evidence generated online and by on-the-ground actors to pursue accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Brandon graduated magna cum laude and as an Honors Scholar from Kennesaw State University with a B.A. in World History and Cultures. For the last two years, Brandon has worked for The Carter Center monitoring first the Syrian Conflict and then electoral violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Confronted by atrocities through his work, Brandon founded the 3dl Project to track and preserve digital evidence of crimes against humanity. Brandon is the first in his family to pursue a postgraduate degree.


Dante Violette

Dante VioletteDante is committed to social change and is interested in asylum, refugee, and international law. Dante graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a B.S. in Psychology and holds an A.M. degree in Social Service and Administration from the University of Chicago. After working with youth in Chicago's South Side, Dante served as the operations officer for Refugee Youth Service in Calais, France, where he engaged in child protection and asylum work for unaccompanied refugee minors.




Oren Vitenson

Oren VitensonOren's interests include law and economics, antitrust law, and corporate regulation. Oren graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and a minor in French & Francophone Studies. Before law school, Oren worked at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC, where he helped investigate and litigate antitrust cases as part of the Honors Paralegal Program. For the last year, Oren has been assisting FTC Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips on current matters in front of the Commission. Oren is a first-generation college graduate and law student and is proficient in Hebrew and French.

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