Meet the 2020 Public Interest/Public Service Fellows

The three-year program, offered through Social Justice Initiatives (SJI), provides specialized opportunities to students who plan to pursue careers in the public interest, human rights, nonprofit, and government sectors.

Lion statue; Architectural-Details_jrp0822_0030.jpg

The members of this year’s cohort of Public Interest/Public Service (PI/PS) Fellows are passionate about some of the most pressing issues of our time, including criminal justice reform, gender equality, and climate law. As part of the program, students (many of whom are the first in their families to attend law school) attend professional development workshops, mentor meetings with practitioners, faculty lunches, group outings, and social events. “The program allowed me to pursue my interests outside the standard curriculum from the very beginning of 1L year, whether it was by connecting me to faculty in my interest area, highlighting relevant pro bono opportunities, or ensuring that I was aware and utilizing all the resources available to me,” says Katja Botchkareva ’22, a member of the inaugural cohort

Meet the impressive members of this year’s class below.


Terresa Adams portrait

Terresa Adams

Terresa Adams is passionate about human rights, specifically women’s rights, both internationally and domestically. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in political science and minors in economics and African studies. After graduation, Terresa became a member, and was later nominated as co-director, of her home chapter of Zonta International, an international women's rights organization, through which she attended meetings hosted by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and helped facilitate her chapter’s partnership with the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the local Homeless Solutions organization. Terresa was born in the Caribbean and immigrated to the United States when she was 8. She is motivated to pursue human rights in part by the prevailing issues in her home countries, Jamaica and Antigua, and the prevailing issues affecting minorities, especially Black women in the United States. 

Christopher Alter portrait

Christopher Alter

Christopher Alter is interested in labor and employment rights and criminal justice reform. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in industrial and labor relations and a minor in inequality studies. After graduating from college, Christopher worked as a litigation paralegal, eDiscovery administrator, and eDiscovery specialist at Outten & Golden LLP, an employee-side employment law firm. He is the first in his family to attend law school.

Hunter Baehren portrait

Hunter Baehren

Hunter Baehren is passionate about combating corporate crime and improving financial regulation. He studied political science and economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with honors and was a Robertson Scholar. Before law school, Hunter worked as a paralegal for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He also worked as a field organizer for the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Hunter enjoys sailing and attempting new recipes.

Madhuri Belkale portrait

Madhuri Belkale

Madhuri Belkale is interested in human rights, both in the United States and internationally, and passionate about immigration reform, racial justice, and criminal justice reform. She graduated with high distinction and honors from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in psychology and political science. Her honors thesis explored the roots of sexual aggression on large college campuses and protective behavioral reduction strategies. As an undergraduate, Madhuri conducted research at three psychology labs (focusing on the intersection of social psychology and policy) and served in a variety of roles to foster equity and inclusion for marginalized and underrepresented communities on campus. Madhuri is trilingual, the proud daughter of Indian immigrants, and the first member of her family to attend law school.

Molly Bodurtha portrait

Molly Bodurtha

Molly Bodurtha is interested in issues related to law and development, anti-corruption, and human rights. She graduated from Williams College with a double major in philosophy and Asian studies. Over the 2019–2020 academic year, Molly was a Fulbright scholar in Cambodia, where she conducted research on the impact of foreign direct investment on both domestic legal development and vulnerable host communities. Prior to that, she worked at the National Committee on United States–China Relations, where she facilitated senior-level exchange programs and Track II dialogues related to rule of law, public policy, governance, and next-generation leadership. Molly’s long-standing interest in Chinese studies began when she lived in Beijing for a year at age 16 and attended a Chinese high school. She is proficient in Mandarin and Khmer. 

Likhitha Butchireddygari portrait

Likhitha Butchireddygari

Likhitha Butchireddygari hopes to work on issues related to consumer protection and racial justice. She graduated with distinction from Duke University in a self-designed major called digital democracy and data, which combined political science, computer science, statistics, and journalism. Likhitha has written for several professional news organizations, including NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, and FiveThirtyEight, on a number of issues, such as election security and criminal justice. From these experiences, she developed an interest in holding powerful individuals and organizations accountable. Likhitha was born in India and grew up in Baltimore. She is the first in her family to attend law school.

Grace Coleman portrait

Grace Coleman

Grace Coleman is passionate about criminal legal reform, environmental justice, and gender equality. She graduated from Rice University with degrees in history and policy studies, with a concentration in law and justice. Prior to law school, Grace worked as a Harris County project intern at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition to investigate the use of lethal self-defense in cases of domestic violence. She is a native Texan who hopes to make her home state a more equitable, just, and safe place to live. 

Kathrina Dabdoub portrait

Kathrina Dabdoub

Kathrina Dabdoub is interested in human rights issues, including state violence and government accountability and cultural heritage protection—topics she aims to explore within the framework of international human rights law. She earned a First Class Degree in international relations and Middle East studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Following graduation, Kathrina worked as a legal case officer at Jamaicans for Justice documenting human rights violations, assisting case preparation, and providing client support, particularly to survivors of police abuse and their families. Kathrina was raised in Kingston, Jamaica in a family of Palestinian heritage—backgrounds that fuel her passion for human rights and social justice. 

Allie Doyle portrait

Allie Doyle

Allie is passionate about issues relating to families, children, and education. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a B.A. in economics and political science. While at Brown, she interned at Human Rights Watch and Safe Horizon, a victim services agency in New York City. Most recently, Allie worked on asylum immigration cases at Mintz and volunteered as a rape crisis advocate at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. Allie is a native New Yorker and performed stand-up comedy as an undergraduate.

Nkechi Erondu smiles

Nkechi Erondu

Nkechi Erondu is passionate about reimagining the criminal legal system through public investment in community-driven public safety strategies. She earned a B.A. in African and African American studies and political science from Stanford University. Before law school, Nkechi worked as a research analyst at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center where she conducted research and evaluations relating to violence reduction, corrections and reentry, and children and families impacted by parental incarceration. She also provided technical assistance to local jurisdictions aiming to reduce their jail use and improve their overall justice system functioning.

Stephanie M. Gusching portrait

Stephanie M. Gusching

Stephanie Gusching is passionate about human rights and foreign policy. She hopes to work at the intersection of law, policy, and advocacy to affect change for vulnerable populations, especially women and refugees. Stephanie graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in public policy and a minor in Spanish. Before law school, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to work as an English instructor and refugee camp volunteer in Bulgaria. It was through this experience and her undergraduate work on gender-based violence that she solidified her interest in human rights.

Fatima Hasanain portrait

Fatima Hasanain

Fatima Hasanain is interested in criminal justice, civil rights, economic justice, and international human rights, with a particular emphasis on immigration and refugee issues. She graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in history and a minor in public policy. Before law school, Fatima worked through UC Berkeley’s Public Service Center to provide mentorship and leadership opportunities to eighth-grade girls in her community. She also worked for a nonprofit organization that supports state-based ballot initiatives in implementing progressive policy measures related to economic justice, including raising the minimum wage and expanding healthcare access. Fatima is a proud child of Pakistani immigrants and the first in her family to attend law school.

Chakshu Hurria portrait

Chakshu Hurria

Chakshu Hurria aspires to a career focused on racial justice and using law, technology, and public policy to reform the criminal legal system. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with bachelor’s degrees in economics and legal studies. During college, Chakshu worked to improve prison conditions as an intern at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project in Washington, D.C., and assisted in teaching an undergraduate course exploring the intersection of data science and law. She served the Berkeley community as a member of a student-run legal clinic and through student government work aimed at financial aid reform, campus safety, and sexual violence and sexual harassment prevention. Chakshu is the first in her family to attend law school.

Emily Katz portrait

Emily Katz

Emily Katz is interested in national security and human rights law, and has a particular passion for women's rights and gender equality. She graduated with a B.A. in political science from Stanford University. Emily has spent time in South Africa, India, and Myanmar, where she studied LGBTQ discrimination and voter suppression. She also worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in her hometown helping community members navigate their family law cases. Emily plays three instruments and is training for her first half-marathon.

William R. Leo portrait

William R. Leo

Will Leo’s areas of interest include voting access, economic disparity, and climate law. He studied philosophy and English literature at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Before attending law school, Will was an assistant on Capitol Hill and then worked in local electoral politics. His experiences instilled in him a deep interest in the democratic process, constitutional governance, and ecological practice. Will was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and the Willamette Valley, and spent his first year of college at the University of Oregon. 

Eileen Li portrait

Eileen Li

Eileen Li is passionate about economic justice, antitrust law, and financial regulation. She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in political science and spent her senior spring interning at a speechwriting firm in Washington, D.C. Eileen worked as a paralegal in the Financial Institutions Group at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. She then joined the 2020 presidential campaign of Elizabeth Warren as a staff writer, where she helped advocate for consumer protection, tech regulation, voting rights, and more. Eileen is a native of Atlanta and is fluent in Mandarin. 

John Lowry portrait

John Lowry

John Lowry is interested in national security and federal law enforcement. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in biology and is pursuing a joint M.P.A. at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. Before attending Columbia, John worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He worked on the Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and on its initial preparations for the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. John also served two years on a volunteer fire department and is a paramedic-trained emergency medical technician.

Laura McFeely

Laura McFeely

Laura McFeely’s primary interests are prison reform and criminal justice reform. She graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, where her thesis about the racist media coverage of crack cocaine in the 1980s won the Jones Prize for best thesis in American history. Laura’s career has focused on advancing equality in American society: in education, through supporting equal access to rigorous teaching about American democracy at the Case Method Project at Harvard Business School; in economic development, through her research on the racial wealth gap and its impact on minority-owned businesses for the nonprofit Interise; and in employment, as a paralegal at the plaintiff-side litigation firm Sanford Heisler, LLP. She feels compelled to work on reforming the American prison system, which she believes is the most egregious and inhumane manifestation of racism in the United States today.

Anna Belle Newport

Anna Belle Newport

Anna Belle Newport is passionate about advocating for domestic violence survivors and parents accused of neglect. She also cares deeply about restorative justice, prison abolition, and Palestinian rights and freedoms. Anna Belle earned her B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors. After serving as a Fulbright Research Fellow in Amman, Jordan, she spent two years as a bilingual advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking with the Arab-American Family Support Center at the Brooklyn Family Justice Center. It was through this work that she came to see the systemic flaws and racial injustices of the family court system.

Jasmin Ouseph portrait

Jasmin Ouseph

Jasmin Ouseph is interested in multiple, interconnected social issues, including worker's rights, socioeconomic inequality, and criminal justice reform. She earned her B.S. in science, technology, and international affairs from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service, specializing in environmental and climate science. At Georgetown, Jasmin served in a variety of roles fostering inclusion and equity for marginalized communities on campus and in Washington D.C. She hails from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and is the first in her family to attend law school.

Austin Owen portrait

Austin Owen

Austin Owen is interested in international law and national security law, as well as the broader Constitutional and statutory issues that affect American foreign relations. He received a B.A. in government and foreign affairs with high honors from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar. Before law school, Austin spent two years working at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., where his work focused primarily on American diplomacy and U.S.-Iran/U.S.-North Korea relations. Austin is originally from Vestavia Hills, Alabama.

Lee Rea portrait

Lee Rea

Lee Rea is interested in movement lawyering for communities engaged in the struggle for decentralized power and autonomy, particularly for social movements seeking racial and environmental justice. She graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University with a B.A. in political economy and Spanish. Before law school, Lee worked at a plaintiff firm handling public interest cases and for grassroots criminal justice reform organizations. A recovered individualist, she started two self-run businesses and built an off-grid tiny house, before realizing she wanted to build and learn from collective power.

Tyler Ritchie portrait

Tyler Ritchie

Tyler Ritchie is passionate about voting rights and the rights of criminal defendants. He holds a B.A. in history from Vanderbilt University and a M.A. in history from Brandeis University. Before law school, Tyler spent eight years as a high school teacher at an independent school in Milwaukee teaching U.S. history and U.S. government.

Emma Shumway

Emma Shumway

Emma Shumway is interested in issues of environmental justice, including the disproportionate impact of pollution on communities of color and ensuring a just transition to a clean energy economy. Emma earned her B.A. in environmental studies with a focus in psychology from Middlebury College. Passionate about motivating action on climate, Emma's senior thesis was a psychological study that examined the relationship between the framing of environmental issues, political orientation, and reported opinion on climate change. During her undergraduate career, she interned with a variety of environmental nonprofits and gained exposure to national conservation policy, the inequities of green-space access, and urban food deserts. Prior to coming to law school, Emma worked on environmental issues as a full-time organizer, which solidified her desire to pursue a career in environmental law.

Julianna Simms portrait

Julianna Simms

Julianna Simms is interested in reproductive justice, civil rights, and the decriminalization of sex work. She holds a B.A. in political science and African American studies from Yale University. Julianna’s academic work, mentorship experience, and prior work with Amnesty International and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP have all informed her interest in pursuing public interest law. Specifically, her experience with cases pertaining to asylum and family reunification cemented Julianna's passion in pursuing law as a tool for social change. She is also an intermediate ceramicist and maintains a hydroponic herb garden.

Allison Jeanne Spindler

AJ Spindler

AJ Spindler is passionate about immigration reform, education equality, and human rights law. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in international development and Arabic, and she holds a master's degree in comparative and international education from the University of Oxford. Their lived experience with the Uyghur community in Xinjiang and with the Uyghur diaspora in the United Kingdom and United States informed their interest in immigration law, particularly with political asylum seekers and refugees. AJ is half Chinese, speaks five languages, and is the first in their family to attend law school. 

Patricia Elizabeth Stewart portrait

Patricia Elizabeth Stewart

Elizabeth Stewart's areas of interest include justice reform, child advocacy and juvenile justice, and public policy. She graduated with high distinction from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in political philosophy, policy, and law. Elizabeth spent a year volunteering in the Philippines with International Justice Mission, where she served alongside local lawyers, law enforcement officials, and social workers working to eradicate online sexual exploitation of children in the region—experiences which inspired her to pursue law and use her degree to advocate for vulnerable communities. Upon returning to the United States, she served as a federal employee in the Department of the Interior for nearly four years. Elizabeth grew up on the island of Guam before moving to North Carolina in 2002.

Imani Thornton portrait

Imani Thornton

Imani Thornton is passionate about public defense and hopes to join the fight for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration. She also plans to be a legal advocate for reparations for the descendants of chattel slaves both within the United States and around the world. Imani earned her B.A. in politics from Princeton University and an M.A. in African American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She worked for a year as a communications associate at Free Spirit Media, a nonprofit providing young adults in communities of color with media literacy and hands-on media production experience. Most recently, Imani has been a research and writing Intern for the African American Policy Forum. A proud Midwesterner, she grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, which helped ignite her interest in how race and class historically intersect.

Katherine Wilkin portrait

Katherine Wilkin

Katherine Wilkin is passionate about supporting frontline communities at the nexus between climate change, human rights, and social justice. She earned her B.A. in English and global environments and sustainability from the University of Virginia. Before law school, Katherine worked as a community organizer in her Central Appalachian hometown fighting the expansion of fracked gas infrastructure, and in that role helped shape a community-led watchdog program using geospatial analysis to track and report environmental harms. During her undergraduate career, she studied the direct impacts of climate change on coastal communities and neighborhood-level strategies for resilience.