2021 Human Rights Center Fellows
This year, the HRC is hosting twenty fellows working with high-impact organizations to defend rights related to refugees, immigrants, housing, gendered violence, racial discrimination, disabilities, environmental advocacy, and many more important issues pertaining to human rights.
Monroe County Public Defender's Office
Courtney Ashraf is a Human Rights Center Fellow interning with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office in Rochester, NY. Before attending UMN Law, she completed an M.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo. Her Master’s thesis, “A Posthumanist Challenge to Mass Incarceration,” explored the cultural and theoretical underpinnings of the American willingness to tolerate the highest rates of imprisonment in the world. Courtney also serves on the Board of the Friends of Allegany Arc, an organization that provides funding and support for people with disabilities. Courtney is interested in criminal defense, as well as studying the systemic social refusal to adequately address problems in the equitable distribution of resources and security.
Global Rights Compliance
Anna Bachan is a rising 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Politics, Human Rights, and Development from New York University. Anna’s main areas of interest include international human rights, business and human rights and the intersection of international migration, labor and human rights law, and corporate responsibility. As a current Human Rights Center Fellow, she will be working with Global Rights Compliance, an international legal advisory organization based in The Hague, that aims to address compliance issues within the area of international human rights and humanitarian law. Her internship will focus mostly on GRC’s Business and Human Rights Initiative and International Human Rights Advisory Program. Anna will contribute to these programs by conducting legal research, writing legal memoranda, and assisting draft and submit formal complaints to international judicial mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court.
Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights at the United Nations
Verónica is a Colombian Lawyer and Master of Human Rights student at the University of Minnesota. She concentrates on International Law, Advocacy, and Civic Space, particularly in economic, social, and cultural rights and human rights approaches to poverty, inequality, development, and gender. She has worked in projects related to the impacts of COVID-19 on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, rural communities affected by extractive development in Colombia, and their rights to land, food, water, and participation, and Protection Networks for supporting human rights defenders’ security. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Verónica worked as a researcher on armed conflict, human rights violations, and symbolic reparations in Colombia. As a Human Rights Center Fellow, she will work as an intern at the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch for their Social Justice Program, Advocacy, and Outreach on ESCR, SDGs, and Right to Development team. Veronica will support different projects that seek for the justiciability of ESCR and the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council recommendations in their Universal Periodic Review by developing a methodology to make the UPR recommendations closer to the UN Country Teams.
Sydney is a rising 3L who has grown her passion for human rights during law school. At the Indian Child Welfare Act Clinic, Sydney provides direct legal representation to Indigenous families for child custody litigation. She looks forward to being the student director during her 3L year. Sydney is the 3L President of the Women’s Law Student Association where she promotes intersectional justice and equality within the Law School. Along with that, Sydney volunteers at WATCH monitoring cases involving women and children to improve the judicial system's response to violently abused individuals. During her 1L summer, Sydney worked at the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago. There, she served low income, elderly, and disabled individuals through pro bono representation for a variety of civil matters. This summer, Sydney is thrilled to combine her passion for human rights and criminal legal reform through her work at Restore Justice. Restore Justice is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the sentencing of children to "life without parole" in Illinois by helping the Illinois General Assembly enact policy based on principled legal analysis, guidance from the Supreme Court, and international law. Sydney will identify legal and legislative methods to address extreme sentencing of children and communicate those policy goals to the public.
Center for Justice and International Law
Fabiola Gretzinger is a rising 3L at the University of Minnesota Law School, and will be working as a full-time legal intern at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in Washington, D.C. Prior to law school, Fabiola attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, where she graduated with a BA in Political Science, and minors in Portuguese and Economics. Fabiola started her legal career as an immigration paralegal, where she strengthened her passion for human rights and immigration. She combined her dedication to public interest and litigation skills in her positions at the Ramsey County Attorney's Office and Global Rights for Women. Further, having been raised in San Jose, Costa Rica, she seeks to apply her interest in human rights in a broader international sphere. At CEJIL, Fabiola will assist with cases before the Inter-American Court/Commission of Human Rights. CEJIL is an international non-profit organization with three other offices throughout Latin America. The organization utilizes advocacy and litigation to fight for accountability when the rights of the people, especially marginalized communities, have been violated by States. Fabiola will work primarily with migration and women's rights, conducting research and aiding in writing briefs to submit to the Commission or Court, or as amicus curiae.
Legal Services NYC
Faith Hemingway is a Human Rights Center Fellow placed with the Director of Immigration at Legal Services NYC. She will be a 2L at University of Minnesota Law School in the fall. Faith's placement directly aligns with her interest in immigration law and overarching goal of making legal services more accessible to marginalized communities. At LSNYC, Faith will assist with researching new immigration policies under the Biden administration and with client case work. She will additionally be involved in strategic initiatives such as incorporating movement lawyering principles and collaborating with other practice areas at LSNYC. Faith's placement at LSNYC will further her legal education by exposing her to broad considerations that arise in human rights law as well as the intricacies of case work. Faith is additionally interested in exploring how human rights issues such as children's rights, education, domestic violence, immigration, and housing intersect in a legal setting.
The Advocates for Human Rights
Manpreet Kaur is a rising 2L from New York. She attended New York University where she majored in politics and minored in economics and Spanish. Manpreet is interested in pursuing a legal career at the intersection of policy and human rights law. This summer Manpreet will be working as a Human Rights Research and Policy Intern at the Advocates for Human Rights. She will be working on the issues of immigration policy and advocacy, as well as labor trafficking, which will include researching legislation and regulation, as well as working on various advocacy campaign. Manpreet will also work with clients and prepare immigration filings for trafficking victims.
Law Offices of the Shelby County Public Defender
Born in Michigan, Eleanor attended college at the University of Chicago and became passionate about public defense after doing her senior thesis on the collateral consequences of pretrial detention. After graduating with a degree in public policy, she returned home to work at an immigration law firm. Eleanor is now a rising 2L at Minnesota Law, and has enjoyed participating in the Street Law program and the Asylum Law Project. As a Human Rights Fellow, Eleanor will spend her summer at the Law Office of the Shelby County Public Defender, where she will be see firsthand how these attorneys ensure equitable and high-quality representation for indigent clients. She will be assisting with research and trial preparation, including reviewing discovery and interviewing clients and witnesses. She is eager to work with clients and see how attorneys co-advocate with their clients to help them find their voice in a system stacked against them and rooted in systemic inequalities.
Legal Resources Centre/ Advocates for Human Rights
Shelby Lauzon is a 2021 Human Rights Fellow and a rising 2L. With interests in land rights and economic justice domestically and internationally, she accepted two summer positions that incorporate both. As a Human Rights Intern with the Legal Resources Centre located in Durban, South Africa, she will investigate developed and developing countries' frameworks for equitable access to resources such as land or water and document the extent of failures in the delivery of municipal services across municipalities. As an International Justice Legal Intern with the Advocates for Human Rights, she will research international law, specifically human rights and humanitarian law, and compile country-specific information on rule of law issues and reports on human rights monitoring missions. Before law school, Shelby worked as a language instructor in Tokyo, Japan and graduated from North Central College with a B.A. in English studies and business.
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center (GRELC)
Chase grew up in Readington, New Jersey and graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Economics and Physics and Minors in Math, Legal Studies, and Computer Science. Entering law school right out of undergraduate studies, Chase knew that he wanted to study environmental law, more specifically, public interest environmental law. In his third year, Chase will be a Managing Editor for the Journal of Law & Inequality, as well as a member of the Environmental and Energy Law Clinic. Chase will be working remotely as an intern for Great Rivers Environmental Law Center (GRELC) in St. Louis, MO. GRELC is a nonprofit public interest environmental organization that works, in part, on promoting public health, advancing clean energy, and protecting disadvantaged communities from an unreasonable share of environmental burdens. As a summer intern, he will help investigate complaints, draft pleadings, compose advocacy pieces, converse directly with clients, and virtually accompany GRELC attorneys to public appearances in court or administrative agents.
Ohio State Legal Services Association
Gabrielle Maginn is a rising 3L originally from San Diego, California. She earned her B.A. in women's & gender studies and political science from Wheaton College, Massachusetts. Before attending law school, Gabrielle worked in fundraising for a youth services nonprofit, which inspired her to attend law school with a focus on public interest. As a Human Rights Fellow this summer, Gabrielle will be interning at the Ohio State Legal Services Association, a statewide partnership of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, and the Ohio Poverty Law Center. She will assist in providing legal services for low-income Ohioans, and is excited to spend the summer working on expanding equal access to justice.
Interdisciplinary Center for the Global Change
Megan is a second year PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and a Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Global Change (ICGC). Her research focuses on mass atrocity and the theory and practice of transitional justice, post-conflict reconciliation, international humanitarian and criminal law, and gender. Originally from Oregon, Megan developed a passion for gender justice while working as a paralegal and policy advocate for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). She is keenly interested in identifying the ways that international intervention can do better for survivors of atrocity. Megan holds B.A.s from Willamette University in Politics and History and an M.Sc. in the Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice, from SOAS, University of London. Megan served as Co-Editor in Chief of (Re)imagining Peace + Justice, the Centre for Conflict, Rights and Justice (CCRJ)'s online student journal. As a Cram Human Rights Fellow this summer, Megan will assist Dr. Helen Kinsella (Department of Political Science) and Dr. Dipali Mukhopadhyay (Humphrey School) with conducting research to develop a fine-grained analysis of the gendered obligations, violations, and effects of international humanitarian law (IHL) in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This research project will focus on documenting and integrating the experience of women and girls in Afghanistan, with that of IHL to contribute to a richer understanding of the dilemmas and harms that gendered subjects face in the context of conflict.
Disability Rights Wisconsin
Sam is a Human Rights Center Fellow working as a law clerk for the civil rights team at Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRWI). DRWI is a non-profit that aims to protect the civil and human rights of people with disabilities through litigation, victim advocacy, and disability rights training. In her role, she assists attorneys in advising and advocating for clients with claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state civil and human rights laws. Sam is a rising third-year student at the law school, a managing editor of Minnesota Law Review, board member of the Women's Law Student Association, and a member of the Law Well-Being Initiative. While she is particularly interested in women's rights and disability justice, she hopes to make a career out of opposing discrimination in all its forms.
Capital Habeas Unit in the Federal Public Defender Office- Southern District of Ohio
Bailey Martin is a rising 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School. Born and raised in rural Ohio, Bailey completed her undergraduate education at The Ohio State University, where she studied English, professional writing, and gender studies. After graduating, she worked for the state of Ohio and nonprofits in Columbus, Ohio, in areas of affordable housing, community development, mental health, and community outreach. In law school, Bailey focuses on issues related to criminal justice reform and criminal defense and is passionate about advocating for the rights of people who are incarcerated. This summer, Bailey will be working with the Capital Habeas Unit in the Federal Public Defender Office – Southern District of Ohio. This unit represents Ohioans on death row in their federal habeas appeals, which are often their last available appeals. Bailey is excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve these clients and collaborate with attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights and lives of Ohioans on death row.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Laura received her BA in Social Policy from Northwestern University. She lived in Chicago after graduating and worked in community health education with AmeriCorps and in research and grants at an eldercare services organization. She continues her Midwest tour at the University of Minnesota Law School, pursuing her interests in civil rights and criminal justice. This summer, Laura will work at Gender Justice in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Strategic & Impact Litigation department selects cases based on their potential either to affect broad populations in similar situations as their clients or to set a powerful legal precedent on a particular issue. She will work on a variety of litigation-related matters, including research and writing and taking calls from potential clients. Laura is excited to learn from an organization working to improve the lives of individuals and to advance a vision of a society free from gender barriers.
The Twin Cities Housing Justice Research Collective
Amy was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she first developed her interest in human rights work. She went on to attend New York University where she studied Global Liberal Studies and produced a thesis, in podcast format, about missing women of color and their lack of representation in the media. This project combined with her experience as a first generation American and first generation college student is what inspired her to apply to law school. As a Human Rights Center Fellow, Amy will spend her summer working with the Twin Cities Housing Justice Research Collective which focuses on the collection of information on how various government entities have responded to the realities that unhoused community members have faced during COVID. Amy is excited to engage in research that is aimed at helping advocacy efforts for unhoused community members.
Colorado Legal Services Denver Housing Unit
Lizzy Pancratz was born in the United Kingdom and moved to Edwards, Colorado, where she developed a passion for issues afflicting the homeless community in Denver. For her senior project, she wrote a book which highlighted her years of experience as a volunteer at Denver soup kitchens and the Denver Rescue Mission. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with a business degree before making the long trek to Minnesota, where she is currently a rising 3L. At UMN Law, her studies focus on poverty and human rights, health law, LGBTQ+ legal issues, and civil rights. Last year Lizzy spent the summer working for the Colorado Public Defender Office and this Spring she worked at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid as a law clerk for the Tenant Debt Project. This summer she is working for Colorado Legal Services in the Denver Housing Unit where she will help indigent clients remain in secure housing, which is always essential, but even more critical in the midst of a global pandemic. Lizzy wants to dedicate her career to fighting systemic issues that create barriers to secure housing.
Advocates for Human Rights
Maria is a rising 2L, originally from Minneapolis, MN. She moved to Portland, Oregon to attend Lewis & Clark College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. After college, she worked in translation rights sales for an independent comic book publisher, before deciding to attend law school with the goal of practicing immigration law. Maria will be spending this summer working with The Advocates for Human Rights’ Refugee and Immigrant Program. She is excited to work in the field of immigration and human rights and eager support The Advocates in their work.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Katie Smith is a rising 3L at UMN Law. Before law school, Katie earned a B.A. in Political Science and Law at UW-Parkside and an M.A. in International Politics from City University London. She also worked for a large non-profit in London for several years before moving to Minneapolis and teaching math at a high school focused on educational and racial equity. She has always been interested in international law and advocacy and decided to come to law school to further pursue these interests. As a law student, Katie has found multiple opportunities to engage with with international law. She was a 2020 Human Rights Fellow, she has worked for the Human Rights Center and she has worked under Professor Ní Aoláin as a Research Assistant in her role as a U.N. Special Rapporteur. This summer Katie will be interning with Special Procedures in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In this role she will be reviewing, researching, and drafting responses to complaints filed by individuals experiencing human rights abuses, specifically the human rights implications of national counter-terrorism legislation.
Advocates for Human Rights
John is a Human Rights Center Fellow in the Refugee and Immigrant Program at The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis. His work this summer will focus on assisting The Advocates' attorneys in representing clients in their asylum claims and proceedings as well as the day-to-day functions of an immigration based non-profit. This will include client phone calls and intake interviews, drafting correspondence, case research, participation in the case deliberation process, and other miscellaneous and administrative tasks. John is a 2L and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in International Affairs and History before attending UMN law. Along with immigration work, he is also interested in broader areas of international human rights such as the laws of armed conflict and transitional justice.