2019 Fellows

2019 Fellows

The Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law, works with University of California campuses to provide fellowships for students wishing to contribute their energy and expertise to human rights organizations worldwide. More than 325 Human Rights Center Fellowships have provided opportunities for meaningful human rights work.

Kelsey Alford-Jones

MA student, Energy & Resources Group, UC Berkeley

Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition (Washington, D.C., USA)

Kelsey is working with the Land and Environmental Defender Coalition, a global network seeking to address the increasing threats, criminalization, and violence faced by defenders. She will coordinate with partners in four pilot countries—Mexico, Colombia, Kenya and the Philippines—to assess how governments and civil society document these attacks and to analyze structural barriers to protection and justice. Her work will contribute to the Coalition's efforts to support and advocate for defenders around the world.

Elise Baker headshotElise Baker 

 J.D. Student, School of Law, UC Berkeley

Geneva, Switzerland

Elise has a background in documenting violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Syrian conflict. In her fellowship, she will work to advance the prospect of justice and accountability in Syria, conducting legal and factual research to support to investigations into and documentation of violations.

Laura Belik

Ph.D. student, Department of Architecture, UC Berkeley

Secretariat of Culture of Ceará’s State (Ceará, Brazil)

Laura will partner with the Secretariat of Culture of the State of Ceará, joining the Council of Historic, Artistic and Cultural Heritage, contributing to the process of recognition of former Concentration Camp of Patú (1932) as a State Heritage and public Landmark. Laura will conduct field visits and archival work in order to shed light on scarcely documented histories of this former space that held refugees from the droughts, preserving its memory and remembrance. 

Morgen Chalmiers

MD/Ph.D. student, School of Medicine, UC San Diego

Syrian Community Network (El Cajon, CA)

Morgen is a student in the combined MD/PhD program at UC San Diego School of Medicine. She is currently completing her PhD in Psychological & Medical Anthropology. She will work with the Syrian Community Network (SCN) and assist in the facilitation of SCN’s innovative programs such as Women at the Wheel, the Refugee Women’s Club, and Women’s Conversational English, which provide opportunities for women to acquire the practical skills (e.g. driving) needed to thrive in the resettlement context. Through this internship, Morgen will deepen her understanding of the larger context in which refugee women’s reproductive rights are exercised. Her research employs an intersectional, feminist approach to questions of healthcare access and seeks to bridge the typical gulf between academics, practitioners, and policy advocates.

Sara Chase

Ph.D. student, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley

Hoopa Tribal Education Association (Hoopa, California)

Sara will partner with the Hoopa Tribal Education Association, a charter organization of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, to contribute to their Hupa language revitalization efforts. Sara will help to create curriculum, train teachers, learn and teach language, and ultimately help to conduct a week-long language immersion camp with Hupa children and their families. Sara’s fieldwork project will contribute to her dissertation, which charts out a community based vision of education for Hupa youth despite ongoing settler colonial impositions. 

Angélica Ekeke

M.J. student, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

Peter Bahrens School of Arts, Hochschule Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences (Düsseldorf, Germany)

Angélica will be working with the Peter Behrens School of Arts at the Hochschule Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences in Germany. During her stay, she will be working with both refugee and native students on a project that seeks to bridge art and journalism. Through a communal effort, they will produce a multimedia package ( photo, video, and audio) on the topic of isolation among Germany’s most underreported refugee population. Distribution for the project will be supported by Peter Behrens School of Arts, UNHCR, and Amnesty International.

Sarah Ferrell headshotSarah Ferrell

MPH/MSW student, UC Berkeley

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (Oakland, CA, USA)

Sarah, an MPH/MSW concurrent student at Cal, will work with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, an Oakland-based organization that organizes with Black, Brown, and low-income people to shift resources away from prisons and punishment, and towards opportunities that makes communities safe, healthy, and strong. Sarah will support the Ella Baker Center with the beginning stages of a multi-year campaign against city and state efforts that criminalize and punish houslessness in Oakland, CA. Sarah will develop a policy literature review, an outreach plan for the Census 2020, and a participatory research model to guide future efforts in this campaign.

Mara Kardas-Nelson

M.J. student, School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

AdvocAid (Freetown, Sierra Leone)

Mara will be working in Freetown, Sierra Leone and will be hosted by AdvocAid, the only organization providing comprehensive legal aid in West Africa. AdvocAid is campaigning to remove colonial laws that continue to criminalize debt in Sierra Leone. Women, being the poorest members of society, are the most likely to rely on small and short-term loans, and are thus more likely to be impacted by these laws than men. Mara, a freelance journalist studying at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, will report on women who are imprisoned, or threatened with imprisonment, due to their inability to pay back debts as small as $20. She will also investigate the role of the judicial system, police and lending institutions in perpetuating the use of these laws.

Jeanne Lieberman

MFA in Social Documentation, Film and Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz

El Proceso de Comunidades Negras – Colombia (Quilichao, Colombia)

Jeanne will work with El Proceso de Comunidades Negras - Colombia making a short documentary about Afro-Colombian communities' struggle for ethnic and land rights in Northern Cauca, Colombia. The film will follow women from these communities who forge creative forms of resistance to the dispossession and displacement their families face due to the expansion of monoculture plantations and the internal armed conflict in the region.

Franklyn Odhiambo

B.A. Political Science, B.A. African American and Diaspora Studies

Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (Kisumu, Kenya)

Franklyn will be working with FIDA, a women's legal advocacy organization in Kenya. His research will explore Kenya's implementation of Articles 1, 2 and 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Specifically, he will investigate the Kenyan parliament's legislative efforts in implementing legislation ensuring equal political participation for women in elective and nominated positions in line with both CEDAW and the 2010 constitution. 

Laura Santos

Political Science – Public Law & Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (Oakland, CA, USA)

Laura's project with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) will address the inhumane conviction of Life Without Parole (LWOP). Through the DropLWOP! campaign led by CCWP, Laura will help bridge the limited access the Spanish speaking community has to the legal system, by translating resources produced by CCWP. Including organizing a town hall meeting to inform the Latino community of the resources available for their loved ones who are incarcerated. While producing these needed materials to a large incarcerated Latino population, Laura will be researching the impact of sexism, racism, and classism in court convictions.

Meg Shutzer

M.J. student, School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal (Emeryville, CA, USA)

Meg is an investigative reporter who works on issues of criminal justice, race and human rights. This summer she will be working with the Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in Emeryville, California, that is known for groundbreaking storytelling that shines light on injustice, sparks action, and protects the most vulnerable in society.

Valentin Sierra

MSW/Ph.D. student, School of Social Welfare

Department of Social Services, Office of Tribal Affairs (Sacramento, CA, USA)

As a combined MSW/PhD student in the School of Social Welfare, Valentín will work with the California Department of Social Services - Office of Tribal Affairs to better improve the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act in California. Originally passed in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act serves to keep American Indian/Alaska Native young people connected to their tribal homes, communities, and nations by preventing them from being removed and adopted out into non-Indian families. Valentín’s work will strategically seek to strengthen the tribal consultation process between California’s 58 counties and the 109 different tribal nations located throughout the state. As a social welfare scholar and professional, Valentín is dedicated to honoring the lasting tradition of healthy American Indian/Alaska Native communities by affirming the salience of tribal sovereignty and effective government-to-government relationships.

Ming Tanigawa-Lau

J.D. student, School of Law, UC Los Angeles

Al Otro Lado (Los Angeles, CA, USA)

Ming will join Al Otro Lado to provide legal services to asylum seekers on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border. As part of AOL’s Border Rights Project, she will provide Know-Your-Rights workshops and individual legal consultations for recently arrived immigrants in Tijuana. She will also be assisting with legal representation for asylum seekers who have crossed the border and are being held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego. Her independent project will focus on collaborating with the Border Rights Project to systematize and expand their reach, through a volunteer handbook that memorializes the techniques and lessons that have developed as the project rapidly grows.

Special thanks to Dr. Thomas J. White who makes the Fellowship Program possible.