Current Fellows

University of California Human Rights Fellows 2014

Seventeen University of California students have been selected from six campuses to serve as UC Human Rights Fellows in 2014. Since 1994, the Human Rights Center has enabled nearly 250 students to spend the summer engaged with human rights organizations worldwide. 


Anita Barooni, UC Davis School of Law
First-year law student
Foundation Against the Violation of Law in Yerevan, Armenia

Anita will be working with the Foundation Against the Violation of Law (FAVL), a non-governmental organization based in Yerevan, Armenia. She will assist in the preparation of the organization’s 2014 Human Rights Status report. Her research will focus on access to justice in four key areas: labor rights, property rights, women’s rights, and prison torture. This information will be used to inform FAVL’s future litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education. 


Sumit Baudh, UCLA School of Law
Candidate for Doctor of Juridical Science
Indian Institute of Dalit Studies in New Delhi, India

Sumit will work in partnership with the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies in New Delhi, India. He will prepare a working paper and policy brief on “Law at the intersection of Dalit castes and queer sexualities.” In exploring legal responses to casteist, homophobic, and transphobic violence, this project will bring to fore new areas of intersectional discrimination that have been largely ignored in India.


Cassandra Blazer, UC Berkeley, School of Public Health
Doctoral student
Mozambican Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Mozambique

Cassandra will focus on global health and family planning, working with the Mozambican Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to conduct 50 in-depth interviews with post-partum women and their community-based family planning providers in two rural districts of northern Mozambique. These interviews will bring to light the factors that encourage or prevent family planning in the postpartum period. The long-term goal of Cassandra’s research is to develop a sustainable family planning distribution system that responds to low-resource, rural women's needs and preferences without further burdening skilled health professionals.


Jessica Caplin, UC Berkeley School of Law
First-year law student
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Serbia

Jessica will be working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Serbia, where she will meet with refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers as part of an effort to prepare a report on the issue of asylum seekers originating from Serbia whose claims have been rejected by EU countries.


Maggie Crosby, UC Berkeley, School of Public Health
First year, Master of Public Health
Pader Girls Academy in northern Uganda 

Maggie will be working at Pader Girls Academy (PGA), a boarding school in northern Uganda that serves women and girls who have escaped the Lord's Resistance Army. The Pader Girls Academy provides an accelerated academic program, skills training in sewing and cooking, and HIV treatment. Maggie will be responsible for developing the first ever sexual and reproductive health curriculum for the school. 


Emma Dobbins, UC Berkeley/UC San Francisco
MD, MS; Joint Medical Program
Direct Access to Housing, San Francisco Department of Public Health, in San Francisco

Emma will be working with the San Francisco Department of Public Health's supportive housing program called Direct Access to Housing (DAH). DAH subscribes to a “housing first” philosophy to homeless healthcare, recognizing that housing is a fundamental human right and a crucial component of healing. However, the transition from homelessness to housing can be rocky and even dangerous for some people. For that reason, Emma will be working on a mixed-methods research project that will attempt to identify and support these vulnerable individuals as they transition into housing after living outdoors.


Nick Dubroff, UC Berkeley School of Law
Second-year law student
Earthjustice International in San Francisco

Nick will join Earthjustice's International team to work on environmental litigation and research on the legal protections accorded to environmental defenders in the Americas—those who advocate for community land rights and environmental protection. Although the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders extends protections to environmental defenders, the widespread adoption of free-trade agreements in Latin America, coupled with a surge in foreign direct investment in extractive industries, has engendered land dispossession and environmental conflicts. In confronting these projects, environmental defenders have been abducted, forcibly disappeared, and murdered. Nick will deliver his findings to the Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente, a regional NGO dedicated to defending human rights and the environment in the Western Hemisphere.


Mayra Feddersen, UC Berkeley School of Law
Doctoral student, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program
Ciudadano Global in Chile

Mayra will explore how immigrants in Chile come to understand their citizenship. She will work with Ciudadano Global, an immigrant rights organization whose purpose is to facilitate immigrants’ integration into Chilean society. By observing Ciudadano Global’s daily activities, she will explore how the organization helps to integrate immigrants into Chilean life and experience of immigrants who participate in the organization.


Benjamin Garcia Candelaria, UC Santa Cruz
School of the Arts, Social Documentation Program
Grassroots Leadership in Texas

Benjamin will be shooting his thesis film The Black Collar Worker as part of his M.A. in Social Documentation from UC Santa Cruz. The Black Collar Worker explores the cost-cutting tactics of the multi-billion dollar private prison industry. He will document the everyday struggles of a current inmate in a maximum-security private facility and how his stay and his labor are contributing to the massive profits of a for-profit prison corporation. Benjamin will be working with Texas-based non-profit Grassroots Leadership to provide support to inmates and create an inclusive narrative for victims caught in a profit driven system.


Sonal Goyal, UC Berkeley, School of Public Health
First year, Master of Public Health
Program Fellow, Human Rights Center

Sonal will be working with the Human Rights Center’s Sexual Violence Program on research on sexual violence accountability programs in Eastern DRC as well as research and operational support targeting sexual violence among migrant workers in the United States. She will also be involved in cross disciplinary research on other forms of sexual violence such as forced marriage and trafficking and will be working out of the Human Rights Center in Berkeley, California.


Georgia Hartman, UC Irvine
Doctoral student, Department of Anthropology
Observatorio Urbano Local de Cancún in Cancún, Mexico

Forty years after its design as Mexico’s first centrally planned tourist city, Cancún is regarded as an economic success and a planning disaster. Designed in the late 1960s as a mechanism for national and regional economic development, today it is a city marked by tremendous inequality. Beyond the white sand beaches of the tourist zone, nearly 40 percent of the city’s residents make their homes in informal settlements. Caught in a legal and bureaucratic tangle of property regulations, these settlements are barred from receiving municipal services such as electricity, water, and transportation. Through partnership with the Observatorio Urbano Local de Cancún, Georgia’s research will examine the interaction between state institutions and residents in order to understand the role of the state in producing informal zones and the unhealthy and unsafe conditions
found within them.


Tessa Napoles, UC San Francisco
Master of Science, Global Health Sciences Program
San Francisco Women’s Cancer Network in San Francisco

Tessa has partnered with the San Francisco Women’s Cancer Network to explore the two-tiered structure of Medi-Cal’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, which provides different levels of health care to California women based on their citizenship and immigration status. Using qualitative methods, she will document healthcare provider understandings of and experiences with time-limited breast cancer treatment for undocumented women at San Francisco General and
Highland hospitals.


Patricia C. Rodda, UC Irvine
Doctoral student, Department of Political Science
Williams Institute in Los Angeles

Patricia will join the Williams Institute’s Public Policy Project at UCLA, where she will compile national and international public opinion data on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Patricia will gather and analyze data from international sources with the aim of producing a report providing descriptive analysis of the current state of global public opinion regarding sexual orientation and gender identity as well as how these opinions have changed over time and by location.


Katya Rodriguez, UC Berkeley
First year, Goldman School of Public Policy
Clinica Monseñor Romero in Los Angeles and El Salvador

Katya will be working with Clinica Monseñor A. Romero in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. Clinica Romero views health access as a human right and seeks to provide comprehensive medical services to low-income men, women, and children living in Los Angeles County. Clinica Romero serves approximately 52 percent of patients who are without legal status. Katya will work with Clinica Romero to further understand the barriers faced by undocumented communities when accessing health services, as well as assist in advocating and evaluating current bills seeking to promote this agenda. She will also travel to El Salvador to support Clinica Romero's efforts to address the inequalities in health access for Salvadoran citizens. 


Roxanne Strohmeier, UC Davis School of Law
First-year law student
ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project in New York

Roxanne will work as a legal intern for the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Reproductive Freedom Project. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, the Reproductive Freedom Project strives to ensure access to abortion services, comprehensive sex education, affordable contraception, and to protect the rights of marginalized women to continue their pregnancies. The ACLU participates in significant cases in federal and state courts, including critical reproductive rights cases before the Supreme Court. Roxanne will be assisting in all aspects of litigation, including: conducting legal and policy research; drafting memoranda, affidavits and briefs; researching prospects for new litigation; and supporting research and drafting of materials for public education.


Julia Tierney, UC Berkeley
Doctoral student, Department of City Planning
Visualizing Impact in Beirut, Lebanon

Julia will partner with Visualizing Impact, a Beirut-based organization that brings together research and design focused on Palestine, the Middle East, and beyond to produce visualizations in the name of social justice. The intention of their infographics is to communicate the absurdities of daily injustices and to inspire others to think that they are not inevitable. As a summer research fellow, Julia will work on visualizations related to the renewal of the Israeli Citizenship Law, the plight of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the translation of the right to the city to the Lebanese context where insecurity is further segregating Beirut along sectarian lines.


Salvador Zarate, UC San Diego
Doctoral student, Department of Ethnic Studies
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles

Salvador will be working with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Los Angeles on human rights issues facing domestic and landscape laborers across Southern California. He will be helping to implement and evaluate the recently passed Domestic Bill of Rights (AB 241) for undocumented and informal laborers.