Meet the 2022 Max Berger ’71 Public Interest/Public Service Fellows

Members of this year’s class will focus on issues including immigration law, housing justice, and health care reform.

Lawn and picnic tables

Now in its fourth year, the Max Berger ’71 Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program provides resources and opportunities tailored to students who plan to pursue careers in public interest, human rights, and government. Over the next three years, 30 members of the Class of 2025 will develop their knowledge, gain experience, and hone legal skills through professional development workshops, opportunities to meet with mentors in their field of interest, and attending events.

“To be a PI/PS fellow is to join a lifelong community,” says Ailee Katz ’22, “not only of fellow students who plan on devoting their careers to serving others, but also of practitioners, professors, and advisers who have achieved those same goals and are leaders in their respective fields.”

Meet this year’s class below, and learn more about previous fellow cohorts.
Ben Boston

Benjamin Davis Boston ’25

Benjamin Davis Boston ’25 is interested in the relationship between international law, human rights, and economic tools of foreign policy. He studied political science and history at Stanford University, graduating with honors in international security studies. Before arriving at Columbia Law, Ben lived in Nairobi, Kenya, where he worked on communications and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee as a Princeton in Africa fellow.

TJ Braxton

T.J. Braxton ’25

T.J. Braxton ’25 is interested in the intersection of race and politics and aspires to a career addressing racism in the criminal justice system and education inequality. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a B.A. in political science and African American studies. As an undergraduate, he explored the racial considerations embedded in the American legal system and received the Tim W. Schick Award for African American studies. T.J. also was a university student historian and contributed to UW–Madison’s Public History Project. His research focused on diversity, inclusivity, and higher education accessibility, and he was able to utilize his findings in his position as an admissions counselor following graduation. T.J. is a native of Denver and is the first in his family to attend law school.

Helena Brittain

Helena Brittain ’25

Helena Brittain ’25 is passionate about reproductive rights and anti-sexual/domestic violence work. Helena graduated from Cornell University with majors in English literature and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. Helena was a leader of Planned Parenthood Generation Action and the Sexual Violence Prevention Network at Cornell, where she developed her interest in reproductive rights law. She also interned for the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s pro bono program, where she took particular interest in Violence Against Women Act immigration cases.

Sofia Calvo Castillo

Sofia Calvo Castillo ’25

Sofia Calvo Castillo ’25 is interested in the intersection of human rights, refugee law, and gender justice. She graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.S. in diplomacy and international relations and a minor in Japanese. In her undergraduate senior thesis, Sofia discussed the social and economic impact of migration from Nicaragua to Costa Rica, which inspired her to pursue a career in immigration. She interned with the Refugee Representation Department at Human Rights First in New York City and was a humanitarian immigration paralegal in New Jersey for two years. Originally from San José, Costa Rica, Sofia is the first in her family to attend law school.

Alexander Cordoves

Alexander Cordovés Serrano ’25

Alexander Cordovés Serrano ’25 is passionate about human rights and how the law can be used to promote the social development of historically disadvantaged communities. He earned a B.S. in international politics from Georgetown University. Alex was born and raised in Puerto Rico; his experience recovering from Hurricane Maria led him to establish Fundación Sin Límites, a nonprofit committed to supporting the development of marginalized communities across Puerto Rico. He hopes to use his law degree to provide legal assistance to these communities and advocate for human rights across Latin America. Alex is the first in his family to attend law school.

Ilana Dutton

Ilana Dutton ’25

Ilana Dutton ’25 aspires to a career providing direct legal services to detained immigrants, reforming the current immigration system to make it humane, and abolishing immigration detention in the United States. She earned a B.A. in comparative politics and international political economy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Before coming to Columbia Law, she was a policy legal assistant at Her Justice, where she worked with indigent women in family, matrimonial, and immigration court. She also volunteered with the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project and the Freedom for Immigrants National Detention Hotline.

Abigail George portrait

Abigail J. George ’25

Abigail J. George ’25 is passionate about strengthening our global institutions to reinforce democracy and human rights for people regardless of nationality. Abigail earned a master’s in political philosophy and ethics from the University of Paris and a B.A. in anthropology from Reed College, where she was awarded exemplary thesis. As an undergraduate, she received several research grants to conduct ethnographic field research in Guatemala on gender at the intersection of neoliberal economics and municipal politics. Following graduation, Abigail received a fellowship to research queer organizing in Rio de Janeiro in response to far-right political shifts in 2018. She has spent the last two years studying philosophy at the University of Paris; her thesis focused on rethinking the national framework for democracy. Abigail speaks French and Spanish and is the first in her family to attend law school.

Portrait of Skylar Gleason ’25

Skylar Gleason ’25

Skylar Gleason ’25 aspires to a career in international human rights law, with a focus on transitional justice and mass atrocity response. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in international studies and political science and minors in Spanish and law, justice, and social change. During college, she was involved in community service and interned with the Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and the Washington D.C.–based public interest law firm Perseus Strategies. Following graduation, she worked on political prisoner cases, academic freedom, and other human rights issues at Perseus Strategies and Scholars at Risk network. Skylar self-published a children’s book for charity and is the co-author of a chapter in a forthcoming Oxford University Press handbook on the U.N. human rights system.

Sara Gomez Bohorquez

Sara Gomez Bohorquez ’25

Sara Gomez Bohorquez ’25 is passionate about immigrant liberation, federal immigration law reform, and advocacy for low-income, undocumented immigrant communities. She graduated from Pomona College with a major in media studies and a minor in politics. As an undergraduate, she interned at the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project and a boutique immigration law firm, Badilla Quinteros. Following graduation, Sara worked as a legal assistant at the International Refugee Assistance Project, where she joined both the litigation team and the direct legal services team to advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants across the globe. As an immigrant herself, Sara’s lived experience informs her passion for immigrants’ rights advocacy and her aspiration to become an attorney.

Tanisha Gupta

Tanisha Gupta ’25

Tanisha Gupta ’25 is interested in the intersection of international conflict resolution, women and children’s rights, and public and mental health. She earned a B.A. in political science focusing on international relations from Yale University, where she received the James Gordon Bennett Prize in International Relations for her thesis investigating election-monitoring signaling games between democratized and pseudo-democratic nations. Tanisha was involved in the Women in Government Program and the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association throughout college. Before law school, she worked in the U.S. Senate for a senator who focused on international relations, national security, and the rights of women and children internationally. Tanisha is trilingual and a proud Indian American.

Portrait of Angela Kang ’25

Angela Hyokyoung Kang ’25

Angela Hyokyoung Kang ’25 is passionate about exploring health justice through medical-legal partnerships and equitable access to health care in all forms. She graduated in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in biology and certificate in social inequality, health, and policy. After graduation, Angela served as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), navigating health policy for a residential health care provider. At a local nonprofit, she worked with survivors of family violence with Asian, immigrant, and refugee backgrounds. As part of the Columbia LEAD Fellowship, she worked with the Texas Medical-Legal Partnership Coalition to expand medical-legal partnership infrastructure. Angela is a multilingual Korean American and is the first in her family to attend law school.

Portrait of Tobin Kassa ’25

Tobin Kassa ’25

Tobin Kassa ’25 hopes to reform the child welfare and juvenile justice system. She earned a B.A. in political science and communication from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the university’s Morrill Scholarship Program and a former member of the Diversity Advisory Board. Before law school, Tobin worked at a plaintiff-side impact litigation firm dedicated to keeping the nation’s youngest individuals safe and healthy and holding governments accountable for violations of children’s rights. While at the firm, she also advocated on behalf of young adults incarcerated at Rikers Island and sought to bring forth a legislative bill ending solitary confinement in New York City. Tobin is originally from Ethiopia and is the first in her family to attend law school.

Mikhal Kidane

Mikhal Kidane ’25

Mikhal Kidane ’25 plans to pursue a career in human rights, with a focus on social and economic rights. Mikhal graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in economics and minors in political science and philosophy. She has spent time in South Africa with the Research Department at the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, developing an interest in economic development and labor power. Most recently, Mikhal was a paralegal at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, an organization that focuses on liberation through intersectional disability justice. She is from Colorado and is the first in her family to attend law school.

Hannah Kirk-Nass

Hannah Kirk Nass ’25

Hannah Kirk Nass ’25 aspires to a career at the intersection of immigration law and criminal justice. Hannah graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English and global studies and a minor in Middle Eastern studies. Before law school, she taught literature at a high school in Nablus, Palestine, followed by a year spent working with families at a domestic violence shelter in Baltimore County, Maryland. These experiences made her interested in working with communities affected by displacement. Hannah is a former rugby player and the first in her family to attend law school.

Anne Li

Anne Li ’25

Anne Li ’25 seeks to address socioeconomic inequities in the United States through legislative advocacy and policy change. She earned a B.A. in political science and public policy studies at The University of Chicago. For the past three years, Anne has worked at the National League of Cities providing technical assistance to local governments on issues of housing, homelessness, substance use, and mental health. In her role as a senior program specialist, she developed policy briefs and worked with federal, state, and local agencies to build local capacity for effective services. Anne is the proud daughter of Chinese immigrants.

Portrait of Daria Mateescu ’25

Daria Mateescu ’25

Daria Mateescu ’25 is interested in union law, global workers’ rights with a socialist lens, and redressing the physical consequences of labor abuses. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in philosophy and a minor in interpretation theory and studied feminist and Marxist jurisprudence. In her thesis, she argued that the Kantian obligation to self-respect compels members of an unjust society to protest intimately and publicly. Prior to law school, Daria helped organize efforts against sexual violence, taught second grade, and served as a care worker for adults with disabilities. She is a first-generation Romanian and spent her early years and later summers living in Romania.

Portrait of Anthony Mejia ’25

Anthony Mejia ’25

Anthony Mejia ’25 is passionate about the intersection of immigration reform and criminal defense work. Anthony graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in psychology and philosophy. As an undergraduate, he interned with the Stanislaus County Public Defender’s Office in his hometown of Modesto, California, which exposed him to the injustices immigrants face in the criminal legal system. Before law school, Anthony worked with the immigrant community as a volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at a nonprofit in Chicago and more recently as a paralegal with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Anthony is the first member of his family to attend college and law school.

Portrait of Metzli Mejia ’25

Metzli Mejia ’25

Metzli Mejia ’25 is interested in a career in criminal defense, particularly serving system-impacted survivors and youth. They graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in political science. Prior to law school, Metzli was a client advocate and certified sexual assault and domestic violence counselor for the Legal Advocacy Project for Survivors at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Legal Department. They also served as a facilitator and organizer for local grassroots organizations, developing community training and curriculum rooted in the values of transformative justice and prison abolition. As a survivor and a former birthworker/doula, Metzli aims to provide compassionate and trauma-informed advocacy.

Katie Mimini

Katie Mimini CC ’19, LAW ’25

Katie Mimini CC ’19, LAW ’25 is interested in issues related to regulation and good governance as well as health care law and policy. Katie graduated from Columbia University with a double major in political science and philosophy. She is now pursuing a dual J.D./MPP with Harvard Kennedy School. Before coming to Columbia Law, Katie spent time on Capitol Hill working as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas). Katie’s family emigrated from Albania to Dallas when she was young, and she is the first in her family to attend law school.

Christopher Neville

Christopher Neville ’25

Christopher Neville ’25 is passionate about the abolition of the prison-industrial complex and civil rights litigation. Before coming to the Law School, Christopher graduated with a degree in political science from Arizona State University. He interned with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and has worked as a paralegal for New York County Defender Services, where he developed his passion for criminal legal reform and advocacy. Christopher is originally from the United Kingdom but grew up in Arizona.

Portrait of Kevin Paredes ’25

Kevin Paredes ’25

Kevin Paredes ’25 is interested in the criminal justice system and the rights of those residing in the United States. Kevin graduated from the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he concentrated his studies on the American legal system and the idea of justice. While at NYU, Kevin participated in mock trial, arguing both criminal and civil cases. He also interned for Judge Lourdes M. Ventura at the Queens County Supreme Court. Kevin’s parents are Peruvian immigrants, and he is the first in his family to attend college and law school.

Portrait of Sabriyya Pate ’25

Sabriyya Pate ’25

Sabriyya Pate ’25 is interested in international dispute resolution, transitional justice, and technology policy. She earned a B.A. in conflict and negotiation studies from Duke University. As an undergraduate, she conducted research at the Council on Foreign Relations and South Africa’s Hate Crimes Working Group and wrote her honors thesis on intimate partner violence prevention. Prior to law school, Sabriyya was a health research program manager at Twitter, where she led a risk-assessment initiative and worked on products related to combating misinformation and harmful group activity on the social media platform. She also co-founded an anti-racism consultancy to operationalize anti-racist declarations following the murder of George Floyd. Sabriyya began her career working in the risk practice at a management consultancy, where her clients included local and state governments and government agencies. She is Nigerian American and Fulani.

Portrait of Kristen Popham ’25

Kristen Popham ’25

Kristen Popham ’25 is interested in exploring international human rights, disability advocacy, and criminal justice reform. Kristen earned a B.A. in government and French and Francophone studies from William & Mary. Prior to law school, Kristen was a Fulbright Scholar in France, where she taught English to at-risk youth, researched police and youth relationships in suburban Paris, and taught French and English to refugees. She also worked with William & Mary, the U.S. Department of State, and Mobility International USA to expand accessibility for people with disabilities. Kristen is the first in her family to attend law school.

Nathan Porceng

Nathan Porceng ’25

Nathan Porceng ’25 is interested in civil rights, criminal justice reform, sustainable energy, and environmental law. Nathan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in chemical engineering and minors in history and music. He served as a submarine officer in the United States Navy from 2017 to 2022. Between deployments, Nathan volunteered with Tutoría, preparing prospective immigrants for their U.S. citizenship exams; with United Way, he staffed the Washington State COVID-19 Information Hotline. Nathan is a science and technology contributor at The Daily Beast, covering clean energy and green living.

Sabrina Rich

Sabrina Rich ’25

Sabrina Rich ’25 is interested in immigration reform and LGBTQ+ justice and exploring the intersections between the two. Sabrina earned a B.A. in political science and sociology with a minor in Asian American studies from Hunter College. She has organized for various causes, including Asian American justice, mutual aid, and anti-gentrification work in Queens. Her passion for community organizing led her to pursue public interest law. Sabrina is a native New Yorker and is excited to launch her legal career in her home city.

Indira Rivera

Indira Rivera ’25

Indira Rivera ’25 is interested in criminal justice reform and international human rights. Indira graduated from Trinity College with a B.A. in political science and minors in legal studies and Latin American studies. Before law school, she served as a Weil legal innovator at the National Urban League and interned at the Marijuana Policy Project. Indira is Nuyorican and a Posse alumna.

Kai Salem

Kai Salem ’25

Kai Salem ’25 advocates for just, carbon-free energy systems. She is especially interested in the intersection of energy utilities, justice, and the climate crisis. Kai graduated in environmental studies from Brown University. Before law school, she spent four years working on climate policy in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as the policy coordinator for Green Energy Consumers Alliance and the vice president of policy for the Environment Council of Rhode Island. She drafted and led the passage of energy laws, including Rhode Island’s nation-leading 100% Renewable Energy Standard by 2033.

Malik Morris-Sammons

Malik Sammons ’25

Malik Sammons ’25 is passionate about civil rights and aspires to fight for racial justice and equitable housing solutions. Prior to law school, Malik earned a B.A. in political science with a concentration in inequality and justice from The Ohio State University. In college, Malik worked on community organizing efforts to fight for police accountability in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. He also interned for a U.S. senator, where he worked on civil rights and fair housing issues. Most recently, Malik completed a service year with AmeriCorps in Harlem, which confirmed his desire to pursue a public interest career. He is the first person in his family to attend law school.

Mark Scaggs

Mark Scaggs ’25

Mark Scaggs ’25 aspires to be a community lawyer in the movement to abolish prisons and detention centers. Mark graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in religion and a distinction in sociology. After graduation, Mark served as an outreach fellow for a Denver labor rights nonprofit before spending three years working at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). As a paralegal in SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, he fought to release people from immigrant detention and expose the everyday indignities of their incarceration. Raised between Denver and Jacksonville, Florida, Mark is the first in his family to attend law school.

Theodore Aubrey Vial 2022

Aubrey Vial ’25

Aubrey Vial ’25 is interested in public defense and the decriminalization of poverty and debt. Aubrey earned a B.A. from Brown University in history and Slavic studies. Before law school, he worked as a policy intern for the technology team at the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights. He then taught for a year on a Fulbright grant in the Czech Republic. Aubrey is from Colorado and wrote his senior thesis on debt peonage in the U.S. Southwest.