We are pleased to introduce you to our 1L Henderson Center Scholars! These 1Ls have demonstrated a stand-out commitment to social justice before even arriving on campus. As Henderson Center Scholars, they receive scholarship funds to attend law school, as well as special mentorship opportunities during their time at Berkeley Law.
Class of 2025
Marah Ajilat is a 1L at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. She graduated summa cum laude from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Politics and a double minor in French and International Affairs. Growing up in Jordan at the height of the Arab Spring has shaped her dedication to contemplating the necessary conditions for justice, democracy, and the rule of law. She wrote her honors thesis on the relationship(s) between Arab states and the International Criminal Court, seeking to evaluate the Court’s promise as a justice and accountability mechanism for victims of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression in the Arab world and beyond.
Following graduation, Marah worked with social justice-oriented nonprofits and progressive political candidates, leveraging digital advertising tools and big data to influence elections and expand fundraising efforts. Having worked at the intersection of digital technology and justice, Marah hopes to use her legal education and training to expand victims of human rights violations’ access to justice and accountability mechanisms in the digital age.
Krishna Desai was born and raised in a small town near Jackson, Mississippi. In 2020, she graduated from Mississippi State University where she majored in Political Science and Economics and minored in Spanish and International Studies. While in college, Krishna served as the Executive Director of the MSU chapter of No Lost Generation, a student-led advocacy group raising awareness about the Syrian Refugee Crisis. This is where her passion for working for migrant rights and facing mass human displacement began.
In the fall of 2020, Krishna led a cooperative political education group called “Study & Struggle” as part of the Mississippi Freedom Winter project that focused on Abolition as study, practice, and care. Part of the program involved concurrent study and communication with incarcerated pen pals, and this is when her interest and focus on abolition and decarceration took hold.
After graduating, Krishna also began volunteering at a small immigration legal services and community outreach non-profit in Forest, MS that served the largely undocumented population of migrant poultry farm workers in rural MS that had just faced the largest single-state ICE raid in US history a year prior. Soon, she was brought on as a Caseworker and Victim’s Advocate where she assisted families and individuals with a variety of pressing legal issues from direct court advocacy in DV and SA cases to U-Visa applications to petitions for family members. In addition, she worked at a small law firm in Jackson, MS as a clerk and eventually legal analyst assisting with domestic, criminal, and civil casework.
Krishna’s passion for social justice is rooted in her perspective growing up as a minority in the Bible Belt and seeing the impacts of certain harmful systems on individuals who just want the same dignity, respect, and opportunity as everyone else. Whether it is across the globe, on the border, or in her own hometown, Krishna is ready to gain the skills and tools necessary to assist people who are too often harmed and gate kept by these systems
Kennedy Edwards is a first-year law student at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. In the Spring of 2022, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Legal Communications. She is a former Miss Texas Teen USA, and a proud advocate for voter registration, who was introduced to the importance of political efficacy at a very young age. Growing up she competed on her middle and high school debate teams, where her knowledge of public policy and interest in the people’s effect on political affairs expanded. In 2018, Kennedy was crowned the first ever African-American Miss Texas Teen USA and went on to compete in the Miss Teen USA pageant representing the Lone Star State. Throughout her reign, she utilized her platform to educate the youth about the importance of voter registration, while also proving that beauty comes in multiple shapes, colors, and backgrounds. Recently, Kennedy has had the honor of working in Vice President Harris’ Senate office, the Millennial Action Project, and the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Through these experiences, she has gathered a deeper understanding of politics and the legal field, while building a portfolio in criminal justice reform. After law school, Kennedy plans to continue this work by practicing public interest law and influencing progressive policy reform.
Vernon Espinoza is originally from Corinto, Nicaragua. As a kid, Vernon came to the United States with his mother and resided in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he attended West Forsyth High School. Following graduation, he attended Amherst College, where he gained a degree in Spanish and completed research for the Black Studies and Spanish departments. After college, Vernon participated in the Teach for America, where he was the Founding Spanish teacher at Esperanza College Prep in East Los Angeles. After teaching, Vernon was a content steward for Teach for America. In addition, Vernon is an SEO law fellow and was part of the 2022 Goodwin LLP summer associate.
In his free time, Vernon enjoys distilling coffee and spending time with his wife Devina.
Grace Geurin-Henley (she/her) grew up in Tennessee and Oregon, but in recent years has lived in Sacramento, CA and New York, NY. She graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with a major in American Studies and a concentration in Sociology. As an undergraduate, her studies focused on American history and culture, specifically through the lens of musical traditions, and she wrote her senior thesis on the symbolism of the automobile in the Country music tradition.
Following graduation, she pursued her interest in public health and housing justice by working with a grant-funded program to deliver fresh meals from a local restaurant to people living in homeless encampments in Sacramento, CA.
Most recently, Grace has been a paralegal in the Public Benefits Unit of Bronx Legal Services (LSNYC) where she has worked with low-income Bronx residents who are at risk of eviction. In this position, she has assisted clients in identifying programs and avenues through which they can keep their homes, and in applying for public benefits such as TANF and SNAP. Her time in this capacity strengthened her belief that anyone facing eviction should have access to legal representation.
As she enters her 1L year at Berkeley Law, Grace looks forward to further opportunities to advocate for those who face food, housing, and healthcare instability.
Vanessa Gutierrez MayaVanessa Gutierrez Maya grew up in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. She attended Yale College and graduated with a B.A. in Global Affairs. Vanessa’s interest in law was greatly influenced by her experiences as an intern with immigration legal aid organizations during college. After college, Vanessa worked as a paralegal at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project and her time at Esperanza confirmed her decision to attend law school. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys working on embroidery projects, being outdoors, and spending time with friends.
Cyrus Kusha (he/him) has lived in California’s East Bay almost his entire life. In 2020, he graduated magna cum laude from University of San Francisco. Cyrus cut his teeth interning with a legal aid clinic that served San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point community, one of the most economically disadvantaged portions of the city. He most frequently worked on cases involving eviction protection and delinquent landlords. One of his proudest achievements with the clinic was helping to successfully defend a hospice nurse and San Franciscan resident of three decades from an egregious rent hike and what would have functionally been eviction. Upon graduation, Cyrus began a Fellowship position at the office of then-San Francisco Supervisor (now CA State Assemblymember) Matt Haney. Cyrus worked to support Supervisor Haney in his role as Chairperson of the Budget and Finance committee. Working alongside a team in City Hall, he conducted research and produced analysis in order to support legislation, generate questions for hearings, and provide the Supervisor with talking points and agenda summaries. He was then promoted and hired on full-time as one of Haney’s Legislative Aides. During this period, he drafted pieces of legislation such as an ordinance that strengthened wage theft protections and a resolution that supported housing stock in the state’s higher public education system. Cyrus loves California and is passionate about ensuring his home state is a livable, equitable, and prosperous place to reside. He understands healthcare, housing, and fair wages as indispensable human rights.
Class of 2024
Emily was raised in the Bay Area. She attended UCLA, majoring in political science and minoring in international migration studies. As a college student, she served as the Executive Director of No Lost Generation at UCLA (an organization dedicated to advocacy for refugee youth) and as a student leader of Agape Christian Fellowship. She interned with UCLA Development, the State Department, and the nonprofit AsylumWorks. She volunteered in legal aid as well. Emily also authored two theses: one on the failings of the U.S. asylum system and one on the necessity of international cooperation within the refugee protection regime. After graduating college in 2019, she provided legal aid at the Alameda County Superior Court as a full-time AmeriCorps member. Most recently, she worked with the incarcerated and fire victims at the San Francisco public interest law firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein. She hopes to explore criminal defense and immigration defense at Berkeley and better understand how they intersect. She has a Biblical understanding of social justice and she believes she has been called to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to defend the defenseless.
Langston Glaude graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies, particularly focusing on issues of race, urban space, and American policing. At Brown, Langston was involved in a variety of leadership roles as well as numerous grassroots organizations focused on issues around police accountability, including #BlackLivesMatter and the Dream Defenders. During his undergraduate career, he served as a Minority Peer Counselor (MPC), a program dedicated to supporting students of color and educating the broader community on issues of race, class, gender and sexuality. Additionally, he was an active member of the Brown Center for Students of Color and the Black Student Union. Langston was a recipient of the Charles H. Nichols Award, an award honoring Brown University students working to advance the scholarly study of the Black diaspora and who has demonstrated exemplary leadership at the University.
After Brown, Langston went on to work as a paralegal at Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP, a civil rights law firm specializing in wrongful convictions litigation across the U.S., and the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. His experiences in both offices impressed upon him the absolute importance of indigent defense in the broader racial justice movement and inspired him to attend law school with the vision of continuing his advocacy work on behalf of marginalized communities across the country.
As he enters Berkeley Law, Langston looks forward to continuing his work around mass incarceration, racial justice, and police violence. He aims to become a fierce advocate for marginalized communities across the globe.
KeAndra Hollis (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Detroit, MI. Growing up, KeAndra saw the inequities her community faced which ignited her passion for education and socio-economic justice. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Spelman College followed by a Master of Arts in Education Policy from the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate and master’s student, KeAndra focused much of her research on ways to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and on understanding the relationship between education and economic mobility. In addition to research, KeAndra also served as an intern with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Detroit City Council, Robinson & Associates Law, a Campus Based Leader for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, and a Student Rights Advocate for K-12 students in Michigan. In 2019, KeAndra returned to the city of Detroit and used her research, policy, and advocacy experience to advocate for clients facing legal charges through the Neighborhood Defender Service. As an advocate she worked with attorneys, social workers, and investigators to call for restorative justice while outlining alternatives to incarceration. She exclaims that it was during time where she saw at hand, daily, the horrific inequities that persists within the criminal justice system stemming from client experiences from as early as elementary school. KeAndra is attending law school so that she may fight as a transformative attorney to improve inequities within education and bring justice to marginalized communities. KeAndra loves film, writing, cooking, nature and spending time with family and friends. She is thrilled to join Berkeley Law and the Bay Area community!
Zainab Kahloon graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Social Studies and a minor in Comparative Literature. During her undergraduate career, Zainab interned at the City of Boston and at an NGO that trains Muslim-Americans to run for office. She also was a Research Assistant for Professor Intisar Rabb’s Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School. Her thesis examined how Muslim-American politicians reconciled their Islamic values with their political decisions. After graduating, Zainab worked at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) as an Urban Fellow, one of the most competitive public policy fellowships in the country. While at MOIA, Zainab worked on a range of policy issues relating to immigrant New Yorkers such as criminal justice, police reform, and housing. In her spare time, Zainab enjoys hiking, baking, kettlebell training, and reading.
Chloe Pan (she/her/hers) graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with double majors in International Development and Asian American Studies. As an undergraduate student, she founded UCLA’s Public Service & Civic Engagement Community; advised the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; and interned at policy organizations including the White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders and the House Judiciary Committee. During her senior year, Chloe served as student body External Vice President and organized across the UC system for tuition affordability. She also co-founded Westwood Forward, a coalition that successfully passed a ballot measure to create new local governance. After graduation, Chloe returned to her home state of Michigan to work as a Civil Liberties Fellow at the ACLU, where she led bail reform efforts in Detroit. Most recently, Chloe worked at YouTube on product compliance for regulations on child safety and intellectual property. At Berkeley Law, Chloe intends to pursue a public interest career in civil rights advocacy.
Class of 2023
Andres (he/him/his) was born in Bethesda, Maryland but as the youngest in a military family, he spent most of his life moving between California, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. His first involvement with the legal system came when he was just 14–for several years, Andres volunteered as a teenage attorney and juror in Anchorage Youth Court and Montgomery Teen Court, negotiating court-enforced sentences for teens convicted of misdemeanors. Working as a minority in the legal system motivated him to address systemic racism as Undersecretary General of Alaska’s Model United Nations program, a Seawolf Success mentor to minority college students and a Senator in his university’s student government. After graduating with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage, Andres was inducted into Humanity in Action’s John Lewis Fellowship and joined Alaska’s Public Defender Agency as an AmeriCorps member. His goal at UC Berkeley is to better understand how economic, political and legal institutions affect our ability to deliver justice equitably through the U.S. court system.
Weston Jones (he/him/his) grew up in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University where he studied Political Science and Philosophy. During his undergraduate career, Weston interned at the ACLU of Indiana in addition to the health law firm Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman. Most recently, Weston worked as a researcher at the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, where he explored public policy as it relates to social and economic inequities throughout Indiana. In his free time, Weston enjoys shooting and developing film, rock climbing, and reading anything and everything by Kurt Vonnegut. Above all, Weston is passionate about dismantling barriers that curtail the civil liberties and quality of life for transgender people in the U.S. and abroad. At Berkeley Law, Weston intends on using his legal education to transform this vision into a reality.
Anna Katz (she/her/hers) graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 2018 with a double major in African and African American Studies and Global Health. As an undergraduate student, Anna researched food security and nutrition access in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, advocated for abortion rights with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and taught comprehensive, pleasure-based sex education to her Duke University peers. She also wrote a senior thesis analyzing coded racial appeals in Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and exploring the tradition of strategic race baiting in American electoral politics. Most recently, Anna worked as a researcher at Ibis Reproductive Health, where she conducted qualitative and quantitative research on access to safe abortion and high-quality reproductive healthcare in the United States and around the globe. Deeply committed to reproductive health and justice, Anna plans to use her law degree to advance the health, dignity, and freedom of people and families. She enjoys listening to comedy podcasts and cooking for family and friends in her spare time.
Class of 2022
Ashleigh grew up in the Midwest and graduated from the University of Missouri in 2018. Since then, she’s worked as a government contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton in DC where she engages with federal clients to capture and represent their interests as contract requirements. Her interest in law began as a Victims’ Advocate with a DV and SA shelter in college. During this time, she worked with survivors to file ex partes, provide transitional housing, and establish safety from their abusers. She is excited to continue learning alongside the Henderson Scholars.
As a proud Southern California native, I enjoy the city as much as I do being outdoors. I attended the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) where I studied Environmental Studies and Political Science, which allowed me to explore the intersection of the environment and the law. Upon graduating, I relocated to the Bay Area as a San Francisco Fellow where I was exposed to the mechanisms and fiscal management of local government. Thereafter, I joined a statewide legal aid nonprofit where I helped connect Californians in need, especially in rural communities, to pro bono legal services. During law school and beyond, I intend to continue exploring my interests in environmental law, public service, and social justice.
Mallory Hale (pronouns: they/them/theirs) graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2019 with majors in Women and Gender Studies and International Affairs. While there, they wrote a senior thesis on the discourse surrounding sexual violence committed by United Nations peacekeeping personnel. Specifically, they examined how discourse is used by institutions to erase the structural causes of sexual violence. During their time at CU, Mallory was active in campus organizing around issues of gender and racial justice, queer politics, and prison divestment. They also volunteered with the university’s restorative justice program. Off campus, Mallory worked with the local sexual assault crisis center as a victim advocate. After law school, Mallory hopes to pursue a career as a public defender or in legal aid. However, they recognize the landscape of social justice work is constantly changing and are ultimately focused on meeting community needs and advocating for victims of structural violence in the way that is most valuable. In their spare time, Mallory enjoys reading feminist fictions, cooking, and spending time with their cat.
Born in South Korea, Yeji immigrated to the U.S. (Atlanta, Georgia) in middle school. She then moved to Massachusetts to attend Amherst College, where she majored in Political Science with a concentration in Political Theory. She also studied Japanese, Chinese, and Russian, to immerse herself in diverse ways of viewing the world. Her experience at Amherst motivated Yeji to grow as a bridge-builder who can connect and provide resources to those in need. Yeji then received Master of Divinity in the field of “Religion, Ethics, Politics” from Harvard Divinity School, where she examined the intersection between religion and politics, as well as the bounds of religious hermeneutics in fostering a more inclusive society. Applying this knowledge, she helped to facilitate intercultural and interfaith dialogues at VISIONS Inc, a nonprofit for diversity and inclusion consulting. She has also volunteered as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for abused and neglected children. Representing their voices ignited her passion in legal advocacy. She is very excited to attend Berkeley to grow as a legal advocate.
Grace Paine graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in political science. During her undergraduate years she worked on sexual violence prevention and refugee resettlement assistance, serving on the Executive Committee of Yale’s Center for Public Service and writing her senior thesis on Indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. After graduating, Grace worked as a legal assistant in her home state of Virginia at a law office that provided pro bono services to domestic violence survivors in their civil and immigration cases. She also has experience volunteering with legal organizations working inside immigration detention centers. She is passionate about direct service work at the intersection of several social justice issues, particularly that of immigration and gender-based violence. Grace loves being around mountains and in her free time enjoys hiking and live music.
Knychelle "Skippy" Passmore
Knychelle “Skippy” Passmore was born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut. She received her BA in English and Political Science from Howard University. During that time, she interned on Capitol Hill and for a political and strategic communications firm. Most recently, Knychelle worked in communications for the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of high-net worth Americans concerned about wealth and political inequality. Knychelle plans to use her legal education to further voting rights and advocate for marginalized communities. In her free time, she likes to travel, write short stories, and inundate her groupchats.
Amy grew up in rural Montana where she learned firsthand about mining, unions, and cattle ranching. Wanting to experience life in a city, she attended Georgetown University and majored in English. While at Georgetown, she volunteered for the University’s Center for Social Justice where she mentored local adjudicated and probationary teens to counteract chronic trauma and the school-to-prison pipeline. After graduating in 2014, Amy returned to her rural roots. She worked at a nonprofit in eastern Washington where she advocated for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and managed a violence-prevention program and 24-hour shelter. Her passion is the pursuit of justice and liberation for womxn and girls. She is interested in work that is intersectional and pushes feminism beyond carceral solutions. After law school she hopes to work in family defense or other public interest work. In her spare time, Amy likes hanging out with her burgeoning-feminist partner, browsing libraries, and hosting dinner parties.
Evangeline (Evvy) Archibald Shulman
Evvy Archibald Shulman grew up in Northern California. She attended Reed College in Oregon, where she completed her B.A. in Sociology in 2016. At Reed, Evvy adjudicated students’ Title IX cases and wrote her senior thesis on the dissemination of anti-harassment polices in higher education. Since graduating, she has worked as a paralegal at a plaintiff-side law firm and completed an AmeriCorps year of service with a restorative justice middle school, where she mentored LGBTQ+ students and managed the program’s attendance and retention data. Coming from a family of teachers, Evvy developed a deep appreciation for union organizing and collective action, and she remains inspired by the work of the labor movement. She plans to put her law degree to use fighting for workers’ rights.
Victoria Sun is a first-generation Chinese-American and grew up in the Bay Area. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2015, where she studied Business Economics and Spanish. After graduating, Victoria worked as a financial auditor and then for two years as a paralegal at an immigration law firm in San Francisco, helping hundreds of undocumented immigrants apply for humanitarian and family-based immigration relief. In particular, she specialized in working with unaccompanied minors, victims of domestic violence, and LGBTQ immigrants. Her proudest accomplishment was preparing sixteen granted Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions in family and probate courts so unaccompanied minors could apply for permanent immigration relief. Victoria is attending Berkeley Law so she can continue to fight for immigrants’ rights in the Bay Area.
Robel’s passion for educational equity began as a child growing up in Maryland. His parents’ sacrifices and faith in the transformative power of education fostered in him the belief that every child should have access to a high-quality public education. His experiences as a student led him to begin his career in education as an English Language Arts teacher with Teach For America in traditional and charter schools in Nashville, TN. He later served as the Community Engagement & Outreach Manager at KIPP and led community efforts revolving around student recruitment, parental mobilization, and advocacy in the founding of KIPP Antioch College Prep Elementary School. Most recently, Robel worked as a parent organizer and facilitator at Kindred, a non-profit that focuses on building authentic relationships between diverse groups of parents through structured dialogues about their backgrounds, race and equity, and goals for their children. Robel earned undergraduate degrees in Spanish and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Education from Lipscomb University. He is the son of Ethiopian immigrants, has two younger sisters, and enjoys running in his free time.
Class of 2021
Maya Campbell is a native of Silver Spring, MD. She received her B.A. in History from Reed College in 2015, where she wrote her senior thesis on social movements, particularly, how conceptions of racial identity shaped methods of self-defense among Black American, Asian American, and Black British communities in the 1960s and 1970s. Additionally, Maya worked as a research assistant studying the various ways that definitions of race in the United States have morphed over time and intersected with American judicial system, and also spent time as an intern in the race policy center at the Center for American Progress. Most recently, Maya was a paralegal at Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC in Washington, DC, where she primarily worked on plaintiff-side class action antitrust cases and was also involved in the Flint Water class action litigation and Special Immigrant Juvenile Asylum cases. Maya’s professional interests center around privacy, race, immigration, and First Amendment Freedom of Expression and Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection issues; specifically how they can work in concert to advance racial justice.
Katie Courtney grew up in Hermosa Beach, California and attended Bates College, where she majored in rhetoric and minored in Spanish. After graduating, she organized volunteers for the Democratic Party in Dover, New Hampshire for the 2016 election cycle. Most recently, as a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member, she taught classes on cooking and gardening at a Washington, D.C. public elementary school while collaborating with the school community to improve access to healthy food.
Sarah Domenick graduated from Brown University in 2014 with a double concentration in international relations and French. After graduating, she moved to Paris, France for a Fulbright Scholarship to study the translation of humor and its social and political implications. While in France, Sarah taught English at an educational organization, Renovo, which works with high school students from the immigrant community in Paris. After, she moved back to her hometown of Philadelphia to work as a research professional at Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, where she worked on a range of issues including immigration and health care policy. Sarah then did a Masters in Comparative Literature at Dartmouth, where she studied translation and translingual writing. She spent the last year learning Spanish and teaching English in Madrid, Spain. At Berkeley, Sarah plans to focus on immigration and refugee law.
Tempestt Edward graduated magna cum laude from UCLA with a degree in Political Science and Communications Studies. She previously participated in the Capitol Fellowship Program in Sacramento where she was a Senate Fellow for former California State Senator (now Congressman) Mark DeSaulnier. After the fellowship she spend the next 4 years working in the California State Legislature as a Legislative Aide for Assemblymember Jim Cooper. In her role she worked on legislation to improve the lives of all Californians. During her time in Sacramento she served as Communications Director for the Black Young Democrats of Sacramento and as Treasurer for the Fem Dems of Sacramento. As an Afro-Latina and a daughter of immigrants she is excited to be the first in her family to obtain a law degree and hopes to use her education at Berkeley Law to be an advocate for others. In her spare time she enjoys trying out new recipes, getting lost in a good book, and watching the latest movies.
Derek Ha was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Southern California with his family at a young age. He only discovered his interest in immigration law, however, when he started working as a paralegal for a solo immigration law practitioner, handling family-based immigration cases as well as waivers for undocumented individuals. He has also worked at a corporate immigration law firm in San Francisco and an education consulting company in China. He hopes to use his legal education, as well as his Chinese language skills and heritage, to practice immigration law and advocate on behalf of Asian-American immigrant communities.
Ellen Ivens-Duran is a California native whose understanding of social justice is most informed by the Unitarian Universalist faith in which she was raised. Her undergraduate institution, Whitman College, gave her many opportunities to practice the values of equality, service, and ecological protection that Unitarian Universalism emphasizes. She was involved in writing for the student newspaper (The Wire), leading and planning community service pre-orientation trips, and Whitman’s environmental studies field program, Semester in the West. Her proudest accomplishment was being on the executive committee for the 2016 Power and Privilege Symposium, with the theme of Speak Up, Act Out. Since graduating, she has worked in education, coaching high school speech and debate and encouraging young women to hone their research skills, refine their ability to argue, and learn to advocate for themselves and others. After Berkeley Law, she plans to pursue criminal defense or civil rights law.
Savelle Jefferson graduated from the University of California-Davis in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology with an emphasis in Law and Society and a minor in Political Science. During his undergraduate career Savelle was a founding member of the Black Pre-Law Association at UC Davis, a member of the collegiate Mock Trial team and a High School Outreach Fellow for the UC Davis Student Recruitment and Retention Center. In addition to Savelle’s involvement on his respective college campus, Savelle has also been an advocate for change on the county, state and national level. While still pursuing his undergraduate degree Savelle worked as a Criminal Justice Researcher in his home counties’ Department of Probation. Within this position Savelle analyzed and collected data to evaluate the quality of the department’s re-entry services and their effect on the overall recidivism rate for the county. From there he went on to work at the AFL-CIO in both the Campaign and Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Departments where he participated in organizing and implementing a national program for the upcoming election to ensure legal voter protection and voting rights for all individuals regardless of background. Within this position he also assisted in developing a criminal justice reform training to educate interns within the labor field on the broader effects of mass incarceration. Taking this experience with organizing combined with a passion for voting rights , Savelle then went on to work for Fair Elections Legal Network as their North Carolina State Director. Within this position he supervised eleven fellows on eight university campuses , collectively they engaged college campuses across the state at an institutional level to drive nonpartisan civic engagement programs during the 2016 election. These initiatives promoted voter registration and equal ballot access that reached across the entire campus community at these universities. As Savelle enters law school he aspires to obtain a legal education that will allow him to make tangible change in our society for individuals who lack the necessary social and financial capital to make change themselves.
Maddie Lips grew up in Colorado where she gained a deep love for standing on top of mountains. She attended Yale University where she majored in Political Science and rowed for Yale Women’s Crew for four years, serving as elected captain her senior year. She also competed for the United States at the Junior and Under 23 World Rowing Championships, and raced at the 2016 U.S. rowing Olympic trials. Since hanging up her oars, Maddie has learned about many aspects of U.S. immigration law through her work as a business immigration paralegal, as well as her volunteer work with refugees, immigrants, and detained individuals in Denver. She has become passionate about fighting for the rights of immigrants in her community, and plans to leverage her legal education to advocate for immigrants as an attorney.
Samantha is a native of Southern California who joins the Berkeley community after spending the past four years living and working in Washington, D.C. She is passionate about the intersection between law and policy—especially regarding the environment, immigration, and human rights. Sam has worked as a policy fellow for the international oceans protection group Oceana, a legislative aide for California Congressman Sam Farr, and as a research assistant for the nonprofit Migrant Legal Action Program. After graduating law school, she hopes to work for the state of California on issues of environmental protection and environmental justice. In her free time, Sam loves spending time outside—she is an avid rock climber, a plein air artist, and a PADI divemaster. She graduated in 2014 from Williams College with a BA in Political Science.
Ehsan Sadeghi was born in Tehran and grew up in the Bay Area. He returned home after college to work at the San Francisco Office of the Public Defender, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, and the Prison Law Office. He remains passionate and curious about issues in the realm of criminal justice.