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.

 

For questions about fellowships, please email fellowships@justicecatalyst.org.

Fellows

Alexis Bay

Alexis Bay

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Defending Migrant’s Rights Against Abuses by Immigration and Law Enforcement Agencies on the South Texas-Mexico Border
Texas Civil Rights Project

Alexis Bay is a Catalyst Fellow who looks forward to returning home to advocate for the rights of immigrants at the Texas Civil Rights Project. At TRCP, Alexis will bring a community lawyering approach to addressing issues of mistreatment of immigrants in detention and violations of migrant rights by federal immigration enforcement agencies, and local police departments. Having spent several years as a grassroots organizer in deep South Texas, Alexis worked at the cross-section of immigrant, LGBTQ+, and reproductive justice issues on the border, Alexis is excited to bring an organizers to approach to defending the legal rights of migrants. Alexis graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law. Alexis participated in the University of Miami School of Law’s Immigration and Human Rights Clinics and was selected to be a Miami Law HOPE Summer Fellow at TCRP in Alamo, Texas assisting parents separated from their children under the zero-tolerance policy in 2018. Alexis was selected again for the HOPE Summer Fellowship in 2019 at the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C. Alexis received the Miami Law HOPE Exemplary Service to the Poor Award for their work in the Human Rights Clinic in 2019. They have a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Texas Pan-American.

Abigail Burman

Abigail Burman

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Envisioning an Abortion Sanctuary City
City of Baltimore’s Affirmative Litigation Program

Abigail graduated from UC Berkeley, School of Law in 2020, and will be joining the City of Baltimore’s Affirmative Litigation program as a joint Justice Catalyst/Public Rights Project fellow. Her project will focus on self-managed abortion (when people induce their own abortion without the supervision of a medical professional) and approaches abortion as a public health issue that sits squarely within cities’ traditional areas of responsibility. As a fellow, Abigail will develop policies to support people who choose to self-manage their abortions, both through providing information about how to safely self-manage and by limiting the extent to which the city would cooperate with state and federal prosecutions related to self-managed abortion. While at law school, Abigail was a member of the championship National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, the Commentary and Recent Developments Editor of the Berkeley Journal of Gender Law and Justice, and an Associate Editor of the California Law Review. Her note, Abortion Sanctuary Cities: A Local Response to The Criminalization of Self-Managed Abortion, will be published in the California Law Review this winter. Prior to law school, Abigail was a legislative staffer for Representative Joseph P. Kennedy, III, focusing on health care and civil rights. She grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and received her B.A. from the University of Oxford.

James Campbell

James Campbell

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Litigating Inequalities in U.S. Territories
Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands

James will be joining Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands as a Catalyst fellow in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, where he will support local advocates seeking to challenge federal disenfranchisement and discrimination in U.S. territories. James, a graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College, previously worked at the District Court of Guam and has researched in all five U.S. territories. His most recent publication (James T. Campbell, note, Island Judges, 129 Yale L.J. 1888 (2020)) critiques the Article III system’s disparate treatment of federal judges in U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. James is a former active duty Army officer and a graduate of U.S. Army Ranger School, where he served alongside many other service members with ties to disenfranchised U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States.

David Chen

David Chen

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Enforcing State Law Limits on Local Collaboration with ICE
ACLU Immigrants Rights Project

David Chen is a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Immigrants Rights Project at the ACLU, where he is designing and executing a nationwide strategy to enforce state law limitations on the authority of local law enforcement to detain immigrants in cooperation with ICE. In law school, David was a member of the Worker and Immigrants’ Rights Advocacy Clinic. He successfully argued in federal district court to secure a nationwide injunction against the Trump Administration’s rescission of the DACA program and was part of the legal team that secured the first nationwide injunction against President Trump’s January 27, 2017 travel ban. David graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Honorable Justice Goodwin H. Liu on the California Supreme Court.

Connie Cho

Connie Cho

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Building Community Power: Community Lawyering on the Frontlines of Climate Justice
Communities for a Better Environment

Connie will be joining the community lawyering team at Communities for a Better Environment (CBE). Passionate about racial justice, she will work with communities in Richmond and East Oakland, CA who have long borne the disproportionate pollution burdens of industry—to secure just, democratic, and equitable clean energy and climate resiliency systems. In law school, Connie was a Harvard Presidential Scholar, clinical student attorney in the Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, and a student attorney and team leader for the Harvard Defenders. She was a Racial Justice Summer Fellow at Justice in Aging as well as an Equal Justice America and James Vorenberg Equal Justice Summer Fellow at Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, CA. Prior to law school, Connie worked on health, homelessness, and social safety net policies and programs in New York City for over three years. She began as an organizing intern at the MinKwon Center for Community Action before serving as an Urban Fellow for the NYC Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. As a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholar, Connie earned her B.A in Political Science from Yale College and her M.Sc. in Gender, Policy, and Inequalities from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Ginger Cline

Ginger Cline

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Defending Asylum at the Southern Border
Al Otro Lado

Ginger will be joining Al Otro Lado, where she will represent French-speaking African and Haitian asylum seekers detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, as well individuals fighting their cases from Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico program. Through impact litigation, she will defend the rights of asylum seeking individuals, children and families unlawfully denied access to the asylum system at the southern border. Ginger graduated from Harvard Law School in 2020. While in law school, she represented asylum seekers through the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, served as co-president of the Harvard Immigration Project, and interned for a semester at the Boston Immigration Court. During her law school summers, Ginger was an intern at RAICES Texas, where she represented asylum seeking women detained at the Karnes Detention Center; and was a legal intern working on refugee resettlement at HIAS in Nairobi, Kenya. Ginger holds an M.Sc. in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and an A.B. from the University of Michigan.

Nick Cross

Nick Cross

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Achieving Indigenous Climate Justice in the Brazilian Amazon and the United States
Indian Law Resource Center

Nick is using his fellowship to achieve environmental justice alongside Indian Law Resource Center in Washington, D.C. Nick and the Center are assisting indigenous peoples in their fights to protect territories and human rights by representing the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon in international legal bodies. Nick will also develop educational materials for non-indigenous environmental professionals in the ‘United States’ toward beneficial alliances with indigenous peoples. As a Public Interest/Public Service Scholar at Washington College of Law, Nick advocated for social, economic, and environmental justice while clerking with Native American Rights Fund, externing with the Center for International Environmental Rights, interning with the Eviction Defense Project, practicing as a student attorney with the Civil Advocacy Clinic, and working as an executive board member of the Equal Justice Foundation.

Kimberly Fayette

Kimberly Fayette

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Carving Out a New Path in Anti-Discrimination Law: Challenging anti-Blackness and Hair Discrimination in New York City
New York City Commission on Human Rights

As a Justice Catalyst-Public Rights Project Fellow, Kimberly will work with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR). Her project centers on the enforcement of NYCCHR’s groundbreaking administrative guidance barring discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture and includes community education and advocacy efforts around hair discrimination. Additionally, Kimberly will work with NYCCHR to address other forms of anti-Blackness as well as access to justice issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kimberly is a 2020 graduate of the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. During law school, Kimberly participated in the Racial Equity Strategies Clinic, the Civil Rights Clinic, and interned at the New York Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Kimberly also served as a student fellow at NYU Law’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law and as an articles editor on the Annual Survey of American Law.

Nahuel Fefer

Nahuel Fefer

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Equitable Unification: Harnessing The Board of Freeholder’s Power to Transform St. Louis
Arch City Defenders

Nahuel Fefer is a Catalyst Fellow with Arch City Defenders, where he will work to translate demands for criminal justice reform, economic equity, and democratic representation into legislation, executive orders, and ballot measures. Nahuel, who previously served as Director of Economic Policy for the City of St. Louis, will work with activists, organizers and elected officials to advocate for these policies across a wide range of law-making institutions, with a particular focus on the transformative potential of the Board of Freeholders. Contingent on the approval of concurrent majorities in the City and County, the Board of Freeholders is empowered by the Missouri Constitution to eliminate predatory courts and police departments, redesign electoral systems to provide proportional representation for all, and tear down jurisdictional walls guarding hundreds of millions in sales, earnings and property tax revenues. Nahuel focused his research at NYU Law on equitable taxation, and as the ongoing public health crisis puts state and local governments in a deep fiscal hole, he looks forward to fighting for progressive tax reform which distributes freedom, power and opportunity fairly.

John Giammatteo

John Giammatteo

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Second Circuit Asylum Monitoring Project
Lutheran Social Services of New York

As a Catalyst Fellow, John Giammatteo will coordinate the Second Circuit Asylum Monitoring Project at Lutheran Social Services of New York’s Immigration Legal Program. The project aims to build positive precedent at the Second Circuit, tracking pending petitions for review in asylum cases and coordinating amicus briefing in high-impact petitions. He first joined LSSNY-ILP as a Liman Fellow in 2019. A 2017 graduate of Yale Law School, John participated in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic and the International Refugee Assistance Project. After graduation he clerked for the Honorable Victor A. Bolden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and for the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to law school, John was a Marshall Scholar in London, where he received degrees from SOAS and City University, and worked with asylum seekers. John graduated from Syracuse University in 2011.

Sarah Levine

Sarah Levine

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Coordinating Worker Protection, Consumer Protection, and Antitrust Enforcement
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Sarah Levine joins the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia as a Catalyst/Public Rights Project Fellow. There, she will work to create a coordinated enforcement effort using antitrust, consumer protection, and wage and hour laws in order to protect vulnerable and low-wage workers in the District. Before law school, Sarah spent two years conducting empirical research at Stanford Law School about workers’ rights and worker safety. As a student at Yale Law School, she spearheaded several advocacy efforts pertaining to gender and economic justice through her leadership roles in Yale Law Women and the People’s Parity Project. She served as the Empirical Scholarship Editor of the Yale Law Journal and she was a member of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.

Sonya Levitova

Sonya Levitova

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Supporting Incarcerated People in Litigating Conditions of Confinement
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel

Sonya Levitova is a 2020 Catalyst Fellow with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel, where she will focus on holding federal officials accountable for their violations of incarcerated people’s constitutional rights. In addition to working on prisoners’ rights class actions, she will develop models and resources to assist litigants and advocates whose efforts to bring conditions of confinement claims may be impeded by the administrative hurdles that the Prison Litigation Reform and Federal Tort Claims Acts have created. Sonya graduated from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she served as Managing Articles Editor for CUNY Law Review and as a Student Attorney in the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic and in the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility Project.

Elizabeth Lewis

Elizabeth Lewis

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Providing Community-Based, Holistic Legal Services to LGBTQI+ Immigrants
Beyond Legal Aid

As a Justice Catalyst Fellow at Beyond Legal Aid, Elizabeth will leverage Beyond’s connections with community-based organizations to create an environment in which LGBTQI+ immigrants and their loved ones can embrace their identities while seeking safety, community, and legal services. She will address the specific barriers faced by individuals at the intersection of these communities through direct legal services, community healing services, and support of communities’ grassroots activism. Elizabeth earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Kansas.

Melodie Meyer

Melodie Meyer

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Indigenous Climate Justice: Yurok Tribe Climate Change Adaptation
Yurok Tribe’s Office of the Tribal Attorney

As a Justice Catalyst/Public Rights Project Fellow, Melodie will be working with the Yurok Tribe’s Office of the Tribal Attorney in Klamath, CA to advocate for and implement indigenous climate justice. Melodie will work to help indigenous communities, specifically the Yurok Tribe, develop legal environmental protection to mitigate harms of climate change and to protect the Yurok Tribe’s resources. The project has been designed with the Office of the Tribal Attorney to foster collaboration both within and outside a United States legal system that has historically and systemically failed to incorporate indigenous knowledge and concerns into development projects, environmental decisions, and climate change planning. Melodie is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and grew up in New Mexico. She graduated from University of California Los Angeles School of Law with specializations in Environmental Law and Critical Race Studies. Melodie served as Co-President of the UCLA Native American Law Student Association from 2018-2019 and clerked with Native American law firms and non-profit organizations. It is Melodie’s goal to return to her community with the knowledge and experience to develop stronger indigenous informed environmental policy. She hopes this project will allow her to develop the legal skills she needs to keep indigenous communities safe from contamination and harm and to protect the Pueblo of Laguna’s cultural resources and environment for future generations.

Joseph Meyers

Joseph Meyers

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Challenging Unconstitutional Police Conduct at the Border
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild

Joseph will join the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, where he will work with immigrant communities to challenge unconstitutional police practices at the border. Joseph is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he participated in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic and the Criminal Justice Clinic. He clerked for the Hon. Beverly Martin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the Hon. Jesus G. Bernal of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Before law school, Joseph worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica and a paralegal at the Federal Defenders of New York.

Rajiv Narayan

Rajiv Narayan

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Bridging Public Health and Public Rights Enforcement at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office
Oakland City Attorney’s Office

Rajiv Narayan returned home to the East Bay to serve as a Justice Catalyst–Public Rights Project Fellow at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office. There, he will work to advance health equity using the tools of local government and affirmative litigation. During law school, Rajiv was a clinic student with the Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, and a summer law clerk for the Oakland City Attorney’s Office and Gupta Wessler. Just prior to law school, Rajiv worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Health. He received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and President of the South Asian Law Students Association. Rajiv received his B.A. summa cum laude from the University of California, Davis, and an M.Sc. with Distinction in Medical Anthropology from the University of Oxford.

Yazmine Nichols

Yazmine Nichols

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Advancing the Economic and Legal Rights of Low-Income Women of Color by Challenging Unjust Pretrial Conditions of Release
ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project

Yazmine Nichols is a Christian Minister and a Catalyst Fellow at the National ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project where she focuses on challenging unjust pretrial conditions of release and eliminating pretrial profiteering through a targeted campaign centering women of color. Yazmine graduated from the Fordham University School of Law, receiving the Public Interest Valedictorian Award and Dean’s Special Achievement Award for making a singular and distinctive contribution to the school community. As a law student, Yazmine was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest; worked in the school’s Immigrant Rights Clinic; served as President of Advocates for the Incarcerated; and was a staff member and Note writer for the Fordham Urban Law Journal. She is committed to community service and to making the law accessible to those who have been historically disadvantaged by the legal system. Yazmine received her M.A. from Union Theological Seminary in 2017 with an interdisciplinary concentration in Social Ethics and Theology.

Christopher Owens

Christopher Owens

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Preserving Non-Refoulement Norms Amidst Non-Entrée Policies
Al Otro Lado

Chris will be joining Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project in Tijuana, Mexico, where he will assist in strategic litigation to secure the individual right to apply for asylum and to protect against the dismantling of the international refugee system by the U.S. and Mexican governments. In addition to providing representation in immigration court, Chris and Al Otro Lado will utilize habeas corpus, constitutional and federal tort claims, and international law, to respond to the rapidly changing policies and circumstances impacting asylum seekers in the Americas. As a law student, Chris participated in NYU’s Immigrant Defense and Housing Rights Clinics, and spent his summers with Human Rights First’s Refugee Representation Unit and in the chambers of the Hon. Juan R. Torruella of the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to law school, Chris worked with human rights and immigration advocacy organizations in North, Central and South America. He received his B.A. from Brown University, a masters of public policy and Latin American studies from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was Senior Notes Editor of the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and proficient in French and German.

Maya Ragsdale

Maya Ragsdale

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Free the Block
Dream Defenders

Maya Ragsdale is a movement lawyer in Miami who is fighting for a world in which jails and prisons are obsolete. As a Justice Catalyst Fellow, she will work as Dream Defenders’ first staff attorney, providing legal, policy, and strategic support to abolitionist organizers who are fighting to end pretrial detention and close jails in Miami-Dade County. Maya believes in using her legal skills to build the power and visibility of people impacted by the carceral system. She became an Invest/Divest fellow with Law for Black Lives in 2019, hosted by Dream Defenders. In addition to her work with Dream Defenders, she supports organizers who are building Miami’s first community bail fund and South Florida’s first participatory defense hub. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2018, she was a public defender and a legal aid attorney in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and in Miami, Florida.

Kathleen Rivas

Kathleen Rivas

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Combatting Notario Fraud in our Immigrant Community
Public Counsel

Kathleen Rivas is joining Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project as a Justice Catalyst Fellow for 2020-2021 where she will be working on a project to combat notario fraud in Los Angeles’ immigrant community. Kathleen will be assisting vulnerable populations of low income immigrants who have been defrauded by a “notario,” a notary public or immigration consultant who engages in the unauthorized practice of immigration law, through direct representation and community education. In addition, Kathleen will be continuing the work she began in law school as a clinical student of Loyola’s Immigrant Justice Clinic, to engage in collaborative efforts to tackle this issue with community partners, including local governmental agencies and non-profit legal service providers. Kathleen has been dedicated to assisting Los Angeles’ immigrant community since entering Loyola Law School. As a clinical student for two years, Kathleen offered direct legal services to victims of serious crime and asylum seekers who were facing deportation. Kathleen has interned for Kids in Need of Defense (K.I.N.D.) where she assisted unaccompanied minors who were forcibly separated by the government from their parents at our southern border and are now facing deportation. Kathleen also volunteered with the CARA Pro Bono Project where she assisted women and their children who were being detained in South Texas and were seeking asylum. Kathleen looks forward to being an ally and an advocate for Los Angeles’ immigrant community.

Michael Saavedra

Michael Saavedra

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Creating a Pathway for Formerly Incarcerated People to Become Bar-Admitted Lawyers
Youth Justice Coalition

Michael Saavedra is working with the Youth Justice Coalition as a Justice Catalyst Fellow to remove the barriers that block many formerly incarcerated individuals from becoming lawyers. Michael was recently released from prison on February 22, 2017 after being inside for over 19 years – with 15 years spent in solitary confinement. During that time, he led and participated in all three separate California prisoner hunger strikes as part of a successful effort to end the use of long-term solitary confinement in the state. While incarcerated Michael taught himself the law and was able to successfully sue the California Department of Corrections multiple times – as well as teaching and assisting others to do the same. Since his release, Michael has played a prominent role working with organizations such as Critical Resistance, the L.A. Youth Justice Coalition, Dignity and Power Now, and Justice LA to end mass incarceration and advocate for people of color in his community.

Sejal Singh

Sejal Singh

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Fighting Corporate Power in Agency Rulemaking
Public Citizen

Sejal Singh will be a Justice Catalyst Fellow at Public Citizen Litigation Group, where she will focus on FOIA and APA litigation to combat corporate power and hold the Administration accountable. She is a founding co-Director of the People’s Parity Project, a nationwide campaign organizing law students and new attorneys to unrig the law and build a justice system that values people over profits. During law school, Sejal spent summers at Legal Aid at Work and the New York Civil Liberties Union, joined Senator Warren’s 2020 Presidential campaign as a Policy Fellow, and worked at the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center for a people-first response and for a just recovery to the COVID-19 crisis. Before and during law school, she organized with Know Your IX, a youth-led campaign to end gender harassment and violence in schools. Sejal graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and won the David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award for her work taking on predatory for-profit colleges and the student loans crisis at the Project on Predatory Student Lending. Her writing about unrigging the legal system has been widely published, including in New York Magazine, Slate, the Nation, and Current Affairs.

Priya Sreenivasan

Priya Sreenivasan

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Challenging Conditions at Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) Facilities in Georgia
Project South

Priya Sreenivasan will be a Justice Catalyst Fellow at Project South in Atlanta, Georgia, a social justice organization that conducts broadscale organizing, education efforts, and legal advocacy. Using movement lawyering practices, Priya will leverage law and advocacy to challenge all forms of immigrant incarceration. In particular, she will focus on challenging the use of private prisons to imprison immigrants mainly for immigration violations before they are transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. During law school, Priya was part of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, where she represented a client in deportation proceedings, and helped to develop a radio series connecting immigrants in and out of detention facilities. Priya was also a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. As a first-generation American, Priya is committed to using law and advocacy to dismantle our current egregious immigration policies and hopes to work collectively to reimagine what a “just” world looks like.

Scott Stern

Scott Stern

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Using Litigation to Challenge Slavery at Sea
Greenpeace International

Scott W. Stern is a Catalyst fellow with Greenpeace International’s Legal Unit, based in Amsterdam. His project is aimed at addressing a problem that lies at the intersection of environmental law, labor law, and international human rights law: “slavery at sea.” Scott will develop creative litigation strategies to complement Greenpeace’s grassroots organizing campaigns against slavery at sea in the commercial fishing industry, as well as its devastating effects on communities. He will also work with Greenpeace attorneys in other litigation to assert broad environmental rights in order to combat climate change and protect human rights. Scott is a 2020 graduate of Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor on the Yale Law Journal, co-editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, co-president of the Yale Environmental Law Association, and a board member of OutLaws. While in law school, he spent his summers at Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council and was a student member of Yale’s Environmental Justice and Environmental Protection Clinics. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Scott graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 2015, with a B.A. and M.A. in American Studies. In his spare time, he moonlights as a historian, and his first nonfiction book, The Trials of Nina McCall: Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-Long Government Plan to Imprison “Promiscuous” Women, was released in 2018; it was a Boston Globe best book of the year, and it has been optioned for feature film.

Amy Tamayo

Amy Tamayo

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Outsourcing Discrimination: Gender Disparities in U.S Migrant Workers
Centro de Los Derechos de Migrante

Amy Tamayo will join Centro de Los Derechos del Migrante as a Justice Catalyst fellow in Mexico City. Through this fellowship she will work with migrant worker women to challenge the discrimination and harassment women face during recruitment for U.S. employment and in their workplace in the U.S. Amy graduated from American University Washington College of Law in 2020. During law school she was a student attorney in the Immigrant Justice Clinic, where she worked on labor trafficking and asylum cases. Amy also interned at the Legal Aid Justice Center, DC Superior Court for Magistrate Judge Jorge Vila, Farmworker Justice as a Peggy Browning Fellow, and was a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Honor Society. Amy graduated from Santa Clara University in 2013, where she got a B.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in German Language Studies. Amy grew up in Idaho, is the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico, and is proud to be advocating for workers’ rights.

Chelsea Tejada

Chelsea Tejada

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Ensuring Reproductive Rights for Immigrants in Government Custody
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project

Chelsea Gabriela Tejada is a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, where she is working to protect the reproductive rights of noncitizen immigrants in government custody. Chelsea will support pregnant immigrants using a combination of direct services, federal agency monitoring, and impact litigation to ensure their reproductive rights – including access to abortion – are not infringed. Before beginning at the ACLU, Chelsea graduated cum laude from Boston University School of Law. As a law student, she worked as a student attorney in the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Clinic, completed a semester in practice at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and served as Co-President of BU’s Latin American Law Students’ Association. She was also a BU Public Interest Scholar and completed a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Prior to law school, Chelsea conducted reproductive health research at Ibis Reproductive Health. Chelsea is also a graduate of Amherst College.

Mudassar Toppa

Mudassar Toppa

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Challenging the Security State
Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility Project (at CUNY Law)

Mudassar will join the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) Project housed at CUNY School of Law. His fellowship will focus on providing legal representation, supporting movements and communities, and pursuing litigation on behalf of U.S. Muslims and all other constituencies that are targeted by government agencies under the guise of “national security” and “counterterrorism.” This will include working with and providing legal representation to immigrants who are facing pretextual delays or denials in their immigration applications. A native New Yorker, Mudassar graduated from Queens College and CUNY School of Law, where he was a member of the law review, moot court, and a treasurer for the Muslim Law Students Association. As a member of CUNY School of Law’s Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, Mudassar represented individuals incarcerated at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. During the course of that work, he collaborated on the researching, drafting, and editing of a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also represented a client in deportation proceedings where he helped research appeals and co-prepared applications for relief in immigration court. As a student attorney in CLEAR, Mudassar facilitated several Know Your Rights workshops throughout the NYC area, prepared immigration benefits applications, submitted Freedom of Information Act requests, represented clients approached for questioning by the FBI, and collaborated on a project to analyze and document travel difficulties for watchlisted clients.

Zoe Tucker

Zoe Tucker

2020 - 2021 Fellow

Enforcing and Expanding Housekeeper Protections Against Sexual Harassment
UNITE HERE Local 11

Zoe is a Catalyst Fellow with UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents hospitality and other service-industry workers in Southern California and Arizona. Zoe will support workers in asserting and expanding their protections against sexual assault and harassment in their hotel jobs. Zoe recently graduated from Yale Law School.

Octavia Abell

Octavia Abell

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Building the Next Generation of Public Sector Leaders
Govern for America

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.

Lauren Gorodetsky

Lauren Gorodetsky

2019 - 2020 Fellow

Challenging sex discrimination in health care
National Women’s Law Center

Lauren Gorodetsky is joining the reproductive rights team at the National Women’s Law Center, where she will focus on litigation efforts to promote and defend reproductive rights. Her project will engage in constitutional and APA litigation to challenge laws and regulations that enable discrimination in health care on the basis of sex. She will be joining NWLC after spending a year clerking on the Fourth Circuit. A 2018 graduate of Stanford Law School, Lauren interned at the California Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Legal Aid Society of New York. She also participated in Stanford’s Supreme Court Clinic and served as Co-President of Stanford’s Women in Politics student group. Originally from Florida, Lauren received her B.A from Emory University, where she played on the varsity soccer and softball teams. 

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.