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Leitner Center Welcomes New Class of Crowley Scholars in International Human Rights

New York, NY (August 22, 2013): The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice is pleased to announce the incoming class of 2013-2014 Crowley Scholars in International Human Rights. The Scholars, all second-year law students at Fordham Law School, will work with faculty, fellows, and staff at the Leitner Center to design and implement an international human rights fact-finding project.

This year, the following eight Fordham Law students were selected as Crowley Scholars: Erica Appelman, Guillermo Farias, Taka Juba, Tessa Juste, Jennifer Li, Alex McCabe, Dana Swanson, and Estelle Wagner. Short bios of each can be found below. The Crowley Scholars will be led by Brian Tronic, the Leitner Center’s new Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights. Brian, a 2010 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, recently returned from a year in India, where he worked at People’s Watch, a human rights NGO in Madurai, India.

This year’s project will be the Crowley Program’s 17th international human rights program. Unique among American law schools, the Crowley Program provides Fordham Law School students with the opportunity to participate in international human rights fieldwork and investigation and prepares them for a career in human rights. Scholars enroll in an intensive academic program in human rights theory, practice, and advocacy; help to plan every stage of the study together with the Crowley Fellow; and participate in implementing the study through on-the-ground fieldwork. Further information about the program can be found here.

In 2012-2013, the Crowley Project examined disability rights in Rwanda. The latest Crowley Program report on criminal justice in Bolivia can be downloaded here.

2013-2014 Crowley Fellow

Brian Tronic graduated from the University of Virginia in 2000 with a B.A. in Math and Philosophy. He taught math for one year at a high school in Boston, and then moved to a small village in rural Kenya as a Peace Corps Volunteer. For two years, Brian taught Math and Physics at the local high school. After returning to the U.S., he taught and tutored in various capacities before deciding to attend law school. While studying at Penn Law, Brian worked at the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Community Legal Services, representing low income clients who had been denied unemployment or were being evicted from public housing. After graduating, he clerked for two years in the Vermont Superior Court, and then moved to India as a fellow with the American India Foundation. There, Brian spent ten months working at People’s Watch, one of the leading human rights organizations in Asia, working on cases involving police torture, caste discrimination, and corporal punishment in schools.

2013–2014 Crowley Scholars

Erica Appelman graduated with honors from George Washington University in 2009 with a B.A. in Sociology. Before attending college, Erica was a member of the Student Advisory Board for Operation Smile and traveled with them on a medical mission to Morocco in 2004. In 2006, she attended a Georgetown University public service delegation to Mexico with the Center for Adolescents of San Miguel (CASA) focusing on reproductive health issues. She served as Vice President of Philanthropy for her sorority, Delta Gamma, in 2007. In 2008 she studied abroad at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and volunteered with a non-profit, Children of South Africa (CHOSA), tutoring children at a township care center. At Fordham, Erica is an Associate Editor of the International Law Journal and the Student Bar Association Evening Vice President. She works as a litigation paralegal at the Law Firm of Martin J. Auerbach, Esq. but took time off last summer to attend Fordham’s Ghana Summer Law Program and intern for the Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana. Last spring, with the International Law & Development in Africa Clinic, she drafted a manual on basic human rights principles for LiCoProMa, a non-profit which promotes the rights of individuals in the LGBTI community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This summer she is assisting Professor Chi Mgbako on a human rights project focusing on sex workers’ rights in Africa.

Guillermo Farias graduated from Vassar College in 2010, with a B.A. in History and Political Science. As an undergraduate he interned at Fundar, a budget transparency think tank in Mexico City, and the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York. He also worked as a research assistant for Political Science Professor Katherine Hite at Vassar. After graduation, he interned at the Washington Office on Latin America in Washington D.C. and then joined Human Rights Watch (HRW) in New York as Associate in the Americas Division. At HRW he was involved in regional advocacy and the research and production of reports on Haiti, Venezuela, Honduras, and Mexico. During the 2013 summer, Guillermo worked at the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit.

Taka Juba graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in International Relations. Taka’s interest in international human rights grew when he ran an exporting business in Hong Kong and experienced both the positives and negatives of economic growth and development while frequenting factories in mainland China. Upon his return to the US, Taka became a volunteer and a board member of a non-profit organization, NY de Volunteer, devoting his time to help minimize opportunity gaps for underserved youth. While at Fordham, Taka interned at the Sex Crimes Unit of the Kings County District Attorney’s Officein summer 2012, working on trials and cases to help victims. In 2013, he interned at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana, where he prepared for a visit by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and developed an action plan to disseminate and implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Taka is a staff member of the International Law Journal and a board member of the Asia Law Society.

Tessa Juste graduated with honors from St. Thomas University, Miami in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in International Relations and Psychology. While at St. Thomas, she was the Speaker of the Senate and President of the National Society of Leadership and Success. During summer 2013 Tessa interned at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Accra, Ghana, working on gender, HIV/AIDS, and migrant workers projects.

Jennifer Li graduated from New York University in 2008 with a dual degree in Politics and East Asian Studies. While at N.Y.U., Jennifer studied abroad in Paris and Shanghai, and interned with the Children’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch and the Global Public Service Law Project at N.Y.U. School of Law. After graduation, Jennifer worked as a paralegal at a criminal defense firm in New York and served as Secretary of the Criminal Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Jennifer also helped start a pilot program that provided free water filtration systems to villages near Cochabamba, Bolivia. In the summer of 2013, Jennifer interned with the Strategic Litigation Unit at the Innocence Project, helping to address the causes of wrongful convictions relating to eyewitness misidentification. Jennifer is a staff member of the Fordham International Law Journal.

Alex McCabe graduated with honors from Tufts University with a B.A. in International Relations and Economics. After college, he worked for Singaporean budget airline Tiger Airways doing scheduling, governmental relations, and marketing. During his first year at Fordham and into the summer, he worked in an immigration law firm in lower Manhattan, helping refugees and asylum seekers gain legal status. Alex is a staff member at the Fordham Law Review and tutors part-time. 

Dana Swanson graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science. Prior to beginning law school, she worked on public health programs in India and the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the summer of 2012, Dana was a Leitner Fellow and a Legal Associate at the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At Fordham, she is a Stein Scholar, a staff member of the Fordham International Law Journal, and Vice President of the Disaster Relief Network’s Haiti program. Raised on an island in Maine, she is now officially a city slicker. Her preferred mode of transport is bamboo train.

Estelle Wagner grew up in Napa Valley and studied dance and Latin American history at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She spent one semester in Havana, Cuba and another in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying human rights, before moving to Buenos Aires for four years following graduation in 2009. She returned to New York to begin law school and currently serves as a Lead Volunteer in the Choices/NOW-NYC clinic escorting program. She is a Stein Scholar for Public Interest, a board member of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Farm to Fordham, and Vice President of Tortfeasors (the law school a capella group). In Spring 2013, she participated in the HNBA Moot Court competition on behalf of Fordham´s Latin American Law Students Association, winning best petitioner brief with her two teammates. She is a member of Fordham´s International Law Journal and a Legal Writing teaching assistant for Professor Ross Morrison.


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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
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New York, NY 10023 USA

Email: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu
Telephone: 212.636.6862
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Martin Flaherty
Leitner Family Professor
Co-Director, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
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