Justice Catalyst Fellows

The Justice Catalyst activates path-breaking approaches to social justice lawyering and affirmative litigation that have real-world impact and improve the lives of the low-wage workers, the poor, and the marginalized. Towards this end, the Catalyst also launches and supports early-stage projects with existing public interest organizations or public agencies that employ or wish to adopt innovative approaches or legal strategies to address social problems through:
  •  Administering a fellowship program;
  • Partnering with existing public interest organizations;
  • Organizing convenings;
  • Preparing educational material; and,
  • Supporting socially responsible approaches to lawyering.

Fellows

Octavia Abell

Octavia Abell

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Building the Next Generation of Public Sector Leaders
California Legal Research

Octavia Abell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Govern for America (GfA), a nonprofit working to build the next generation of public sector leaders by connecting dynamic recent graduates to impactful state and local government roles and supporting them to become government change agents. Prior to launching GfA, Octavia served as the Director of Strategy for the Rhode Island Office of Innovation where she led efforts to build government effectiveness and catalyze innovation across Rhode Island. Some of her landmark initiatives include: crafting the CS4RI initiative to bring computer science education to every K-12 public school in the state, spearheading a redesign of the state’s digital presence, and launching the Government Innovation League, a leadership development program for Rhode Island state employees. Octavia previously served on Governor Gina Raimondo’s policy team and and believes strongly that individuals can be powerful change agents within complex systems. She holds a BA in Political Economy and International Development from Tulane University.

Stephanie Alvarez-Jones

Stephanie Alvarez-Jones

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Addressing Conditions of Detention for Immigrant Mothers and Children
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

As a Catalyst Fellow at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Stephanie Alvarez-Jones will focus on documenting and challenging the conditions of detention for immigrant mothers and children at the family detention center in Dilley, Texas.  Stephanie will also coordinate a team that will develop responses to abrupt immigration policy changes that impact the asylum-seeking families detained there.  Stephanie graduated magna cum laude from Cardozo Law School in 2018.  As a law student, she spent two years in the Immigration Justice Clinic, where she participated in federal FOIA litigation and represented individuals in immigration court.  Stephanie was also a Public Service Scholars Fellow and a Submissions Editor for the Cardozo Law Review.  Stephanie received her BA from Princeton University. 

Matt Ampleman

Matt Ampleman

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Eliminating Legal Barriers to Vacant Property Revitalization in St. Louis, Missouri
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

Matt Ampleman is a Justice Catalyst Fellow devoted to revitalizing neighborhoods in St. Louis. Matt graduated from Yale Law School in 2017 and clerked for the Honorable Rodney W. Sippel in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. In 2015, Matt helped the Ferguson Commission respond to, support, and improve Senate Bill 5, an act that set minimum standards for municipalities, capped the fines and fees that municipalities can collect from minor traffic violations, and required police departments to attain accreditation. Matt grew up in Florissant, Missouri, swimming on the nearby Ferguson swim team. His interest in clean water led him to the Environmental Protection Agency, where he helped regulate hydraulic fracturing as a recent graduate. In law school, Matt pivoted to issues of housing and economic development to help his native St. Louis. He co-wrote a merits brief in Brainchild Holdings v. Cameron, a Missouri Supreme Court case that preserved the right to a jury trial for residents facing eviction in rent and possession cases. He co-chairs the Anti-Displacement Working Group of the Vacancy Collaborative. Matt is excited to work with the excellent team of lawyers and advocates at LSEM, in addition to the committed residents and organizations building their neighborhoods, one block and home at a time.

Kyle Barron

Kyle Barron

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Rapid Response Immigrant Justice Project
Brooklyn Defender Services

Kyle Barron is a Catalyst Fellow at Brooklyn Defender Services. In this role, she works for the immediate release of detained noncitizens facing deportation through habeas corpus litigation and immigration bond hearings. She is also developing rapid response models to secure the release of detained noncitizens with urgent legal, social, and/or health needs. Before law school, Kyle worked with the New Sanctuary Coalition NYC, where she co-founded a pro-se asylum clinic, which continues to serve dozens of non-citizens each week. During law school, Kyle was part of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, representing noncitizens in habeas corpus litigation and the Second Circuit. She also founded the NYC-National Lawyers Guild Sanctuary Defense Committee, which provides consultations and legal support for advocates offering sanctuary to noncitizens facing deportation.

Rosa Lee Bichell

Rosa Lee Bichell

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Empowering People with Disabilities in Immigration detention
Disability Rights Advocates

Rosa Lee (Rosie) will be joining Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, CA. Her fellowship work will focus on identifying people with disabilities in immigration detention, tracking their needs, and building systemic disability rights litigation aimed at improving conditions in detention for all. As a student in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, she researched the inconsistent treatment of asylum-seekers with PTSD in immigration court. She spent her summers in law school representing people seeking asylum and other forms of immigration relief as a legal intern at both the New York Legal Assistance Program and the Legal Aid Society of New York. She also created an independent clinical placement at the Disability Law Center in Boston, where she researched and monitored the undue isolation of adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in day programs. Rosie is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was involved in research and advocacy projects in the Harvard Project on Disability and the Harvard Immigration Project. 

Meghan Brooks

Meghan Brooks

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Veterans Class Action and Strategic Litigation Practice
New York Legal Assistance Group

Meghan Brooks is joining the New York Legal Assistance Group to build a class action and strategic litigation practice serving veterans. Following recent procedural developments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Meghan will work to expand the availability and utility of the class action mechanism in the veterans’ law context. She plans to target barriers that veterans face to benefits and housing access, and to civilian workforce participation in the greater New York City area. Meghan graduated from Yale Law School in 2019, where she was a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic and a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism.

Allie Brudney

Allie Brudney

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Human Rights Litigation at the ITC
Corporate Accountability Lab

Allie Brudney is a Catalyst Fellow at the Corporate Accountability Lab in Chicago, where she works on issues relating to business and human rights. During law school she spent four semesters as a student attorney in the Harvard Human Rights Clinic, working on projects related to disarmament, multistakeholder initiatives, and alumina factories in Guinea. She was also a Co-Editor in Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. For her fellowship project she will work on litigation at the International Trade Commission related to human rights abuses in international supply chains. Allie earned a B.A. from Middlebury College, an M.A. from the Free University in Berlin, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. 

Matthew Duffy

Matthew Duffy

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Strengthening Democracy at the Local Level
Center for Popular Democracy

Matt Duffy is a Catalyst Fellow with the Center for Popular Democracy, where he will work with local elected officials and community leaders to co-create innovative model legislation to increase voting rights and voter participation in their communities. Matt initially piloted this project with the Center for Popular Democracy and Local Progress during his time at law school, where he wrote a model bill to automatically register people to vote when they interacted with municipal agencies, as well as an accompanying tool kit to help elected officials understand the bill and explain it to their constituents. During law school, he also worked with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program working on litigation and research around voting rights and elections, money in politics, redistricting and representation, government dysfunction, and fair courts. Prior to Law School, Matt was a Senior Consultant with FSG, a social impact consultancy, where he specialized in catalyzing “Collective Impact” initiatives, a coalition building approach to solving complex and difficult social problems at scale through a well-structured and efficient collaborative process. Matt is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Columbia Law School, where he was a Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar, a James Kent Scholar, and an Articles Editor for the Columbia Law Review.

Denise Ghartey

Denise Ghartey

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Rising Seas, Rising Communities: Fighting Climate Gentrification in Miami
Community Justice Project

As a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Community Justice Project in Miami, Florida, Denise will focus on climate gentrification and racial justice work through a movement lawyering model. Denise is deeply passionate about working in community and within movements. While in law school, Denise was a member of numerous organizations through which she engaged with individuals and community organizations in the surrounding areas which allowed her to develop some of the necessary tools for her future work.

Stacy Ham

Stacy Ham

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Securing the right to counsel for immigrant children upon release from detention
Legal Aid Justice Center

Stacy is joining the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) in Falls Church, Virginia, as a 2019 Catalyst Fellow. With her child welfare background and LAJC’s expertise on immigration, Stacy aims to seek a remedy, through impact litigation, for immigrant children who were recently released from detention facilities. Stacy recently graduated from Georgetown Law where she was a student attorney in its Juvenile Justice Clinic. While in DC, Stacy interned at various organizations, including the Children’s Law Center and the Public Defender Service in DC’s Juvenile Services Program. She is a 2018 Bergstrom Fellow and a 2018 AEF Fellow. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a B.A. and Master’s in Teaching.

Tess Hellgren

Tess Hellgren

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Defending the Rights of Noncitizens in Hostile Immigration Jurisdictions
Innovation Law Lab

Tess Hellgren is a Catalyst Fellow with Innovation Law Lab, where she works on legal resources and impact litigation that aim to enhance innovative models of massive collaborative representation and challenge systemic injustices in immigration court adjudication. Since beginning her Fellowship in March 2019, she has co-authored a joint policy report from Law Lab and the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Attorney General’s Judges: How the U.S. Immigration Courts Became a Deportation Tool. Tess graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in February 2019, where she represented asylum seekers through the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and co-directed the student-run Removal Defense Project. During her law school summers, Tess volunteered with the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas; was a legal intern at the Santa Fe Dreamers Project in New Mexico; and worked as a summer law clerk for Immigrant Law Group PC in Portland, Oregon. Tess holds an M.Sc. in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and an A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard University. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar. 

Molly Linhorst

Molly Linhorst

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Addressing Egregious Conditions in County-Run Immigration Detention
ACLU – New Jersey


A Syracuse native, Molly graduated from Harvard Law School in 2019 and will join ACLU-NJ as a 2019-2020 Justice Catalyst Fellow to challenge egregious immigration detention conditions at county-run facilities and the financial interests that perpetuate them. 
Molly’s interest in immigration issues arose from her study of international relations and her work with refugees in her hometown, a resettlement community. At Harvard, Molly developed a particular interest in immigration detention through the Removal Defense Project — a student-run practice organization through which law students represent detained immigrants in their bond hearings. Through this program, she witnessed first-hand the punitive and inhumane detention system and how it prevented her clients from receiving the legal assistance they deserved. As a student of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic as well as the Harvard Crimmigration Clinic, she studied the increasingly criminalized federal immigration system. She spent two summers engaged in immigration law, first providing direct services at African Services Committee in New York City, and then as an intern for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project in San Francisco. An interest in employing tort law to challenge institutional injustice led her to imagine how financial damages and tort actions may be used to discourage counties from detaining immigrants or to, at a minimum, ensure proper detention conditions. 

Molly is thrilled to embark on her career as a Justice Catalyst Fellow. She looks forward to collaborating with community organizers to address immigration detention in New Jersey and serving as an ally to the state’s immigrant community. Molly speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Connor McCleskey

Connor McCleskey

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Empowering Incarcerated People & Pro Se Litigants
Worth Rises

Connor McCleskey is the Catalyst Fellow at Worth Rises, where he will focus on empowering incarcerated people and pro se litigants to fight back against financial exploitation in the criminal-legal system. In addition, he will use litigation to expose wrongdoing by private corrections companies and restore wealth to marginalized communities. Connor is a graduate of Oberlin College and Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as Executive Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure and as a Student Attorney in the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic.

Laura McCready

Laura McCready

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Replacing the War on Drugs with Comprehensive Drug Treatment
ACLU of Massachusetts

This project, hosted by the ACLU of Massachusetts, combats discrimination against people being treated for opioid use disorder. Laura grew up in North Carolina and she attended the University of North Carolina and Yale Law School. She clerked in Portland, Maine for Judge William J. Kayatta, Jr. of the First Circuit. 

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Building Holistic Legal Orientation in Immigration Detention
Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

Kelly is joining Advancing Justice – LA’s removal defense team. There, she will provide legal services to detained immigrants in Southern California while also developing new strategies for supporting the non-legal needs of those impacted by immigration detention. Kelly is an alumna of UCLA School of Law where she graduated from the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. While at UCLA Law, Kelly successfully represented several individuals in their pardon petitions to former California Governor Jerry Brown and was a founding member and executive director of UCLA Law Students for Immigrant Justice. 

Carolyn O'Connor

Carolyn O'Connor

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Enforcing Civil Rights in the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis
Texas Civil Rights Project

As a Catalyst Fellow at the Texas Civil Rights Project, Carolyn O’Connor will work to support communities impacted by the border wall, represent asylum-seekers affected by recent changes in asylum policies, and pursue litigation related to immigration overenforcement. As a law student, Carolyn participated in the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, and the Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic. She was a student director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for Human Rights and the Lowenstein Project. Prior to law school, Carolyn O’Connor was an AmeriCorps VISTA and an advocate at the Urban Justice Center. Carolyn is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Tufts University’s the Fletcher School, and Yale Law School.

Julie Pittman

Julie Pittman

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Challenging Illegal Recruitment Fees
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante


Julie Pittman will join Centro de los Derechos del Migrante as a Justice Catalyst in Mexico City. In this position, Julie will work with low-wage migrant workers traveling between the US and Mexico to hold employers accountable for the collection of illegal recruitment fees. At UC Berkeley School of Law, Julie focused on employment and immigration law, working with Adelante Alabama Worker Center, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, and Centro Legal de la Raza. She also participated in the Berkeley Death Penalty Clinic and served as Co-Senior Publishing Editor of the 
California Law Review and as Managing Editor of the Berkeley Journal of African American Law and Policy. Julie is author of Released Into Shackles: The Rise of Immigrant E-Carceration, 108 Calif. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming Apr. 2020). Prior to law school, Julie taught ESOL in Rhode Island and worked as a paralegal with the Farmworker Unit of Legal Aid of North Carolina. 
Hayden Rodarte

Hayden Rodarte

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Stop Abuses in Immigration Detention: A Hybrid Accountability Model
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

Hayden will join the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, where he will develop a unique accountability model for addressing civil and human rights abuses within the immigration detention system at the southwestern U.S. border. He will work with asylum-seekers who have suffered harm in immigration detention by litigating tort, constitutional, and health-law claims, while also representing them in immigration court. He will collaborate with other local community organizations to identity and address systemic detention-related abuses and advance legal precedent through impact litigation. Hayden graduated from Yale Law School in 2019. His research and advocacy in law school centered on queer immigrant and HIV-positive communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from Stanford University with his Master’s degree in Latin American Studies in 2014, and his Bachelor’s degrees in Classics and International Relations in 2013.

Elyssa Spitzer

Elyssa Spitzer

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Judicial Strategy at the Center for Reproductive Rights
Center for Reproductive Rights

Elyssa is a Catalyst Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she joins the Judicial Strategy program.  Her work focuses on developing new legal theories for protecting and advancing reproductive rights and justice.  Prior to CRR, Elyssa worked at Measures For Justice, a criminal justice reform organization, where she led a legal research project surveying U.S. criminal law and developing national performance benchmarks for the criminal justice system.  Elyssa received her B.A. from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Ian Stringham

Ian Stringham

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Expanding Access to Law Libraries for People Incarcerated in California
California Legal Research

Ian Stringham is the Executive Director of California Legal Research (CLR), a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to law libraries for people in California prisons and jails. He co-founded CLR with Edwin Gonzalez, a self-taught, former jailhouse lawyer, after Edwin was denied all access to a law library, photocopier, and legal forms while incarcerated in Men’s Central Jail. Ian is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA School of Law, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Lawyers Guild – Los Angeles. 

Danny Wilf-Townsend

Danny Wilf-Townsend

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Appellate and Constitutional Litigation
Gupta Wessler

Danny is a Catalyst Fellow at Gupta Wessler, where he focuses on representing plaintiffs and public-interest clients in appellate and complex litigation, with particular emphases on class actions and constitutional litigation. Danny has briefed and argued cases in state and federal court, at both the trial and appellate level, and has counseled government entities, public officials, and advocacy groups across the country on a wide range of questions concerning public policy and legal strategy. Danny has also played a leading role in several lawsuits challenging unlawful actions by President Donald Trump, including current litigation under the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses in the Southern District of New York and the District of Maryland. In collaboration with Justice Catalyst, Danny is currently working on developing resources for class-action plaintiffs to use to navigate pressing doctrinal issues that threaten access to justice. Danny is a graduate of Yale Law School, and clerked for Judge Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Jeffrey Meyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Patrick Baker

Patrick Baker

2018 - 2019 Fellow

ICE Accountability Litigation
Immigrant Defense Project

Patrick Baker will join the Immigrant Defense Project, where his fellowship work will focus on identifying and challenging abusive immigration enforcement practices in New York State. As a member of Yale Law School’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic and New Haven Legal Assistance, Patrick represented clients seeking asylum, relief from deportation, and compensation for unlawful detention. He was also a legal intern for the New York Legal Assistance Group and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. A native of Florida, Patrick graduated from Duke University and Yale Law School, where he served as an editor on the Yale Law Journal.

Winston Berkman

Winston Berkman

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Affirmative Litigation Against Predatory Consumer Practices
New York Legal Assistance Group

Winston is excited to be joining the New York Legal Assistance Group as a 2018 Catalyst Fellow. At NYLAG, he will be focusing on building a practice of affirmative litigation within the organization’s consumer protection and foreclosure units. By fostering affirmative claims within the community of direct legal service providers, Winston hopes to address discriminatory lending practices, improve outcomes for consumers, and increase the cost of doing business for predatory actors. Winston is a 2017 graduate of NYU School of Law, where he earned a J.D., and of NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, where he earned a Master of Public Administration. He spent a year as a post-graduate public interest fellow at the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center. During law school, Winston was the Editor-in-Chief of the NYU Journal of Legislation & Public Policy. He was a research assistant at the Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy at NYU, interned at the New York Legal Assistance Group, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Brooklyn Legal Services, and was a teaching assistant in a Constitutional Law course for NYU undergraduates. Winston received his B.A. from Tufts University.

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Empowering Students with Disabilities at Multiple Margins in Advocacy Against Harmful Discipline
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. At present, Lydia serves as founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Services, stakeholder representative to the Massachusetts One Care Implementation Council overseeing health care for Medicaid/Medicare dually-eligible individuals, and board member of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. Lydia recently completed a term as Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, serving in that role from 2015 to 2017 as the youngest appointee nationally to chair any state developmental disabilities council. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color, published by the Autism Women’s Network in June 2017. Lydia designed and taught a course on critical disability theory, public policy, and intersectional social movements for two years as a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College. Lydia has been honored by the White House, Washington Peace Center, National Council on Independent Living, Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts, National Association for Law Placement/Public Service Jobs Directory, Society for Disability Studies, and American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2015, Pacific Standard named Lydia a Top 30 Thinker under 30, and Mic named Lydia to its inaugural list of 50 impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators. Their work has been featured in numerous scholarly and community publications.

Chrysanthemum Desir

Chrysanthemum Desir

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Queer and Trans* Youth Legal Advocacy Project
FreeState Justice

Chrysanthemum is a recent Yale Law School graduate from the New Haven, Connecticut area. Their interest in indigent legal services comes from their experience both organizing for police accountability in New Haven and working in the city’s schools. In their fellowship and day to day life, they’re focused on building up leadership of queer and trans youth of color.

Wally Hilke

Wally Hilke

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Supporting Grassroots Organizers Challenging Police Misconduct
Community Activism Law Alliance

As a Catalyst Fellow at Community Activism Law Alliance, Wally will work with Chicago community organizations to challenge police misconduct through legal representation in police misconduct complaints and collaboration with grassroots organizers. As a law student, Wally led a student coalition supporting an activist campaign for a civilian review board in New Haven; coordinated a symposium of formerly incarcerated women organized by the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls; and organized legal observing actions, National Week Against Mass Incarceration events, and restorative justice workshops through his school’s National Lawyers Guild chapter. He also served on his law school’s Title IX Committee, where he successfully advocated for equity-based student evaluations of law professors. Wally is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.

David Nahmias

David Nahmias

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Empowering Low-Wage LGBTQ Workers in California
Impact Fund

David Nahmias is the Litigation Fellow at the Impact Fund in Berkeley, California, where he is launching a project advocating for low-wage LGBTQ workers in the Central Valley and the Bay Area through impact litigation, trainings, direct services, and policy advocacy. A 2018 graduate of the U.C. Berkeley School of Law, David served as a Supervising Editor of the California Law Review and the Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of International Law. He also worked with the International Human Rights Law Clinic, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., Legal Aid at Work, the East Bay Community Law Center, and as a judicial extern in the chambers of the Hon. Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California. He is the author of The Changemaker Lawyer: Innovating the Legal Profession for Social Change, 106 Calif. L. Rev. 101 (2018). Before law school, David worked for five years at Ashoka, a global non-profit organization supporting social entrepreneurship in Washington D.C. and Mexico City as a Fulbright Scholar. He graduated in 2010 from Claremont McKenna College magna cum laude with a degree in International Relations and Spanish.

Emma Scott

Emma Scott

2018 - 2019 Fellow

California H-2A Project
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

Emma’s Justice Catalyst Fellowship is based in her hometown of Sacramento. Emma grew up in California’s Central Valley and attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in the Central Coast. After studying international development in college and abroad, Emma decided to pursue a career in the law. She has interned with the ACLU of Maryland, the Lawyers Collective in New Delhi, India, the San Francisco Public Defenders Office, and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, where her fellowship project will be based. At Harvard Law School, Emma acted as a student attorney in the Eviction Defense Clinic, the Crimmigration Clinic, and the Criminal Justice Institute, in addition to participating in several journals. Emma will be joining CRLAF after two years of clerking for the District Court of the Eastern District of California.

Ramya Sekaran

2018 - 2019 Fellow

#MeTooWhatNext: Strengthening Workplace Sexual Harassment Protections and Accountability
National Women’s Law Center

Ramya Sekaran is a 2018 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar. At Georgetown, Ramya served as a student attorney in the Civil Rights Clinic. She litigated a Title IX case on behalf of a student survivor and helped file a complaint on behalf of an anti-racist protester from Charlottesville, Virginia, among other matters. Additionally, Ramya participated in the Center for Applied Legal Studies clinic, through which she represented a detained asylum-seeker in removal proceedings. Prior to law school Ramya worked as a Legal Assistant at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project and at a human rights organization abroad.

Callie Wilson

Callie Wilson

2018 - 2019 Fellow

Gender Equity at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office
Oakland City Attorney’s Office

As a Catalyst Fellow in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, Callie Wilson will work to promote gender equity. During law school, she collaborated with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office to litigate issues ranging from housing rights to gender equity and climate change. A graduate of Yale Law School and Barnard College, she was a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism.

Liza Weisberg

Liza Weisberg

2017 - 2018 Fellow

As a Catalyst Fellow at the ACLU of New JerseyLiza Weisberg will focus on challenging abuses of civil asset forfeiture laws through direct representation, impact litigation, and policy advocacy. Liza graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in May 2017. During law school, she was the Executive Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau,a student-run legal services organization that represents low-income clients in housing, family, wage and hour, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and government benefits cases. She also represented low-income defendants in criminal show-cause hearings as a student attorney with Harvard Defenders and served as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. During her law school summers, Liza worked at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and at the civil rights law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady.
Marissa Roy

Marissa Roy

2017 - 2018 Fellow

Marissa Roy grew up in Los Angeles. In college at USC, she spent over 200 hours volunteering in the LA community, making an impact at a local level. She carried these experiences with her to Yale Law School, where she worked with the City of San Francisco to use local government litigation to protect at-risk residents. After graduating from YLS, Marissa will join the LA City Attorney as a Catalyst Fellow to continue fighting on behalf of LA community members. For her fellowship project, she will create an impact litigation partnership between the LA City Attorney’s Office and UCLA to bring fresh ideas for impact litigation to the office.
Peter Steffensen

Peter Steffensen

2017 - 2018 Fellow

As a 2017 Catalyst Fellow, Peter is excited to return to his adoptive home state of Texas, where he will be joining the Texas Civil Rights Project. At TCRP, Peter is examining the use of algorithmic risk assessment tools within the state’s criminal justice system.  His inquiry focuses on the extent to which these tools implicate due process, institutional bias, and government transparency. During law school, Peter was a member of the Technology Law & Policy Clinic, a legal intern with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, and an editor of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. He received his B.A. from Rice University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Tavi Unger

2017 - 2018 Fellow

Tavi Unger spends her fellowship year in the Labor Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Her project focuses on surveying and identifying instances of employee misclassification across New York State. She further assists the Bureau in other general activities, such as research and litigation. A graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College, she has also worked extensively on voting rights and election law.