Human Rights Scholars Program

The Human Rights Scholars program offers currently enrolled NYU Law students the opportunity to be a part of the Center community through close interaction with CHRGJ faculty and staff. Human Rights Scholars contribute to the Center’s activities as research assistants and can undertake independent writing projects under the guidance of CHRGJ faculty and staff.

Research Assistance

Human Rights Scholars work with CHRGJ faculty and staff to further the Center’s research agenda and to support the design and implementation of the Center’s projects, conferences, workshops, and other programs. Each Human Rights Scholar will be assigned a primary supervisor from among CHRGJ faculty or senior staff. Research for the Center is compensated or undertaken for RA academic credit. Work is assigned on an as-needed basis. Workloads vary by supervisor, but scholars should be prepared to contribute a minimum of 60 hours per semester of RA assistance.

Legal Director Nikki Reisch with 2016-2017 Human Rights Scholar Katerina Wright, JD '19
Legal Director Nikki Reisch with 2016-2017 Human Rights Scholar Katerina Wright, JD '19

The Center houses the Global Justice Clinic, Just Security, and two UN experts and their research staff: the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Center faculty and staff work across a diverse range of issues, including:


Human Rights Scholars have access to work space at the Center and are integrated into CHRGJ’s community of staff, faculty, and visiting scholars through invitations to its social events, workshops, and expert convenings.

Independent Writing

Students also interested in working on their own academic research projects are strongly encouraged to consider the program. Human Rights Scholars will benefit from guidance and feedback from CHRGJ faculty and staff. At the discretion of the supervisor, earning academic credit may be an option through NYU’s Directed Research program or through enrollment in a course with a writing component taught by CHRGJ faculty. Scholars writing papers are encouraged to submit papers to the annual Emerging Human Rights Scholarship Conference, a forum that provides students with the unique opportunity to receive detailed feedback from experts and peers in order to prepare work of publishable quality.

“In a way quite unique from other aspects of law school, the Human Rights Scholars program has allowed me to engage with individuals using the law and rights-based frameworks in innovative, dynamic, and creative ways.”
Nora Christiani, JD '19

Applications Open

CHRGJ is accepting applications for the 2021-22 Human Rights Scholars Program through September 15, 2021. To learn more about, read the call for applications.

Other Research Assistant Positions

Professors Alston, Goodman, and Satterthwaite often advertise for additional RA positions throughout the academic year and summer. These openings will be posted on our Employment page and on The Docket when available.

Read more about working as a research assistant for a NYU School of Law Professor.

Related Announcements
Call for Applications to the 2021-2022 HR Scholars Program
Call for Applications to the 2020-2021 HR Scholars Program
Past Human Rights Scholars

Tatiana August-Schmidt is a second-year JD candidate and Institute for International Law and Justice scholar at NYU Law. As a Human Rights Scholar, Tatiana assists Professor Philip Alston in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. She is also a student advocate for the International Refugee Assistance Program and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as a member of the Racial Equity Strategies Clinic.

Tatiana spent her first-year summer at the International Organization for Migration in Bangkok where she researched and wrote briefs on climate change-induced displacement and corporate responsibility for human trafficking in Asia and the Pacific. Prior to law school, Tatiana researched migration, housing, and education at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and externed for a federal judge in California. Tatiana is passionate about human rights, racial justice, migration, and climate change.

Zi En Chow

Zi En Chow is an LLM candidate at NYU, specializing in international law. As a Human Rights Scholar, she works with Legal Director Nikki Reisch on research regarding the intersection of immigrant policy and human rights, as well as the imposition of human rights liability on corporations.

Zi En received her LLB from Singapore Management University. Her interest in international law began during her undergraduate years where she participated in numerous international moot competitions including the Philip C. Jessup moot and the Price Media Law moot. Further, Zi En has published a paper wherein she evaluates the relevance of the Refugee Convention in light of contemporary refugee crises, and has presented on multiple occasions regarding civilian drones and privacy. Zi En looks to broaden and deepen her knowledge and experience in international law during her year at NYU.

Fontanne ChuFontanne Chu is an LLM candidate at NYU studying international human rights and legal theories. As a Human Rights Scholar, she works on the Human Rights Resilience Project with Professor Margaret Satterthwaite and Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellow Katie Wightman. Additionally, she is representing NYU as an oralist at the 2019 International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition.

Fontanne received her Bachelor of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2017, and the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws from The University of Hong Kong in 2018. During law school, Fontanne served as the Internal Vice President of the LSESU Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society. She also took part in a variety of international and domestic mooting competitions.

Estefania GiacconeEstefania Giaccone graduated in the top 3% from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and in the framework of her studies at University, she participated in a Human Rights clinic at an NGO called Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia. In the year 2015, she was selected to do an internship in the “Center for the Justice and International Law” (CEJIL), in Washington DC, where she had the chance to research and work in cases brought to the Inter-American Human Rights system. After her graduation in 2016, she has done several courses in order to get new knowledge about the Human Rights current situation like the Seminar entitled: “The forced disappearance of people within International Law” tutored by Mr.Olivier de Frouville.

Because of her involvement in Human Rights, the American University Washington College of Law chose her to participate as Judge at the 22nd Edition of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition in 2017.

She has worked at the Argentinean Judiciary Branch since the year 2013 for the Judge Osvaldo Otheguy. She is also a researcher at UBA in an UBACyT project directed by PhD Andrea Gastron, a former Fulbright Scholar. Moreover, Estefania has served as a Teaching Assistant at UBA in the subject “Advanced Constitutional Law” with PhD Marcelo López Alfonsin. She has also participated in many investigations at the same University and has a large number of publications regarding enforced disappearance in Argentina. In the year 2017, she has been granted a Fulbright Scholarship in order to pursue an LLM at the United States.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Estefania will complete a Traditional LLM at New York University School of Law, specializing in human rights, transitional justice and constitutional law.

S. Priya Morley earned her LLB and BCL (common law and civil law degrees) from the bilingual Faculty of Law at McGill University. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia.

Before starting her LLM in International Legal Studies at New York University School of Law, Priya was a litigator at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto. She practiced human rights, public law, and civil litigation, and worked on a number of test cases under Ontario’s Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She previously completed a judicial clerkship at the Divisional Court (Superior Court of Justice of Ontario), which hears appeals and judicial reviews from administrative bodies.

Priya’s interest in transitional justice comes from her work with various civil society organizations on sexual violence, women’s and children’s rights, and human rights education. During law school, she worked with the Equality Effect in Meru, Kenya on the landmark “160 Girls” claim. This constitutional challenge, informed by international human rights law, obtained legal remedies ordering the state to enforce existing constitutional and human rights protections against sexual violence. Priya also worked on cases of gender-based violence during and after conflict while she was a legal trainee in the Gender and Human Rights Program of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin. Recently, she conducted research on citizenship and identity for the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) in Mexico City.

Priya is proficient in French and Spanish. She is admitted to practice in Ontario and British Columbia.

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is an LLM candidate in International Legal Studies. As part of the Human Rights Scholars program she is working on the Human Rights Resilience Project with Professor Meg Sattethwaite and Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellow Katie Wightman. She holds a Bachelor of Law with History degree from University College Dublin where she was a member of the Editorial Board of the UCD Law Review and coordinated the UCD Student Legal Convention 2018. Last summer, she interned with the Irish Supreme Court, conducting legal research for the Honorable Mr Justice John McMenamin. While at NYU, Sarah is talking classes in Strategic Human Rights Litigation and Transitional Justice and is a Graduate Editor with the Journal of International Law and Politics.

Rosa PolaschekRosa Polaschek is an LLM candidate and Hauser Global Scholar at New York University School of Law, specializing in constitutional and human rights law. Rosa is currently working as a Human Rights Scholar for Professor Meg Sattherthwaite and the Global Justice Clinic on right to water issues. She is also interning in the Liberty and National Security team at the Brennan Center for Justice. Her particular interests lies in the development of rights law to reflect the growing role of private actors within the state.

Rosa holds a Bachelor of Arts (Art History/Politics) and Bachelor of Laws (Honors) from the University of Auckland, graduating third in her cohort. She has worked as a Judge’s Clerk at the High Court of New Zealand, and in public law litigation for the Crown Law Office, the litigation department for the New Zealand government. She appeared in the Court of Appeal and High Court on a range of public and constitutional law matters, including challenges to the legitimacy of delegated legislation and refugee and indigenous rights issues. Among other volunteer commitments, Rosa was the co-Director of the student-run Equal Justice Project, organizing more than 150 law students to provide pro bono legal assistance in the community, and has been the co-Chair of the Aotearoa Human Rights Lawyers Association. She won the New Zealand Law Foundation’s Cleary Memorial Prize for a young lawyer who shows outstanding future promise to the profession.

Mary QuinnMary Quinn is an LLM candidate at NYU. As a Human Rights Scholar, she works with Professor Philip Alston on human rights and extreme poverty. Her research interests lie in the intersection of public law, human rights, development, international law and legal theory. Mary has worked in legal research on international law and human rights at Melbourne Law School and on water rights at the University of Oxford. She was previously an Editor of the Melbourne Journal of International Law, Assistant Editor of the Melbourne University Law Review and Secretary of Right Now: Human Rights in Australia.

Mary has expertise in public law and government policy, having worked as a crown solicitor and in law reform for the State of Victoria in Australia. She was also a legal clerk to Justice Tracey AM RFD of the Federal Court of Australia and the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal. She has been a Teaching Associate at Monash University and is a case reporter for the Federal Law Reports. Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with Honors from the University of Melbourne.

Lauren Richardson is a third-year JD candidate at New York University School of Law who hopes to use her law degree as a tool for improving the built environment, geographic space, and social determinants of health, particularly for low-income, immigrant and minority populations. Lauren is studying the intersection of health and environmental justice and community development, organizing, and empowerment. She is interested in how human rights and non-legal techniques can strengthen communities and complement legal advocacy. She is a member of the Advanced Immigrant Rights Clinic and a Moelis Fellow for Urban Law and Public Affairs. Lauren has worked in housing court on cases combating evictions and toxic health conditions in homes, for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest to address the health conditions and medical care of undocumented people and detained immigrants, and in the Office of the General Counsel at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She volunteers weekly as a Patient Advocate in the Emergency Department at Bellevue, Manhattan’s safety-net hospital and Level I Trauma Center.  Lauren works on the Human Rights Resilience Project, immigration and community empowerment, and the arts and human rights.

Before moving to New York City for law school, Lauren lived in Botswana and Colombia working on education and public health programs to support young people, and in support of people experiencing homelessness and displacement in Florida. She studied Swahili and international development in Tanzania for a year as a Boren Fellow as an undergraduate and graduated from the University of South Florida in 2014, with a BA in International Relations and BA in Africana Studies. She is originally from the town of Ft. Walton Beach, in the northwest Florida Panhandle.

Taro Tanaka is an LLM candidate at NYU School of Law where his primary focus is human rights for the LGBTI community. Prior to attending NYU, Taro earned his law degree at Keio University Law School, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class.

After he passed the Japanese national bar examination, he joined Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, (one of the largest full-service international law firm in Tokyo) with a primary focus on both international and domestic disputes. In 2015, he joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where he belongs to the dispute resolution group. He has substantial experience with international arbitration, such as representing a Japanese energy investor before the ICSID in an Energy Charter Treaty arbitration against Spain and providing the Government of Japan with training on various investor-state dispute settlement matters, including in relation to treaty drafting and negotiations.

Alongside his work, Taro has been playing a central role in achieving LGBTI equality in Japan. He represents the marriage equality petition before the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (the only time this argument has been made in Japan). He has also been actively involved with social advocacy work by cooperating with foreign activists such as the Hon. Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia. He gave numerous presentations/lectures to, among other things, the Japanese Diet members as well as companies and schools, colleges and law schools. He took a lead on launching the UN’s Corporate Standards of Conduct on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI in Japan upon request by the OHCHR.

Kalpana YadavKalpana Yadav is an LLM student at NYU School of Law, pursuing the traditional track on the Dean’s Graduate Award. As a Human Rights Scholar, she is working with Professor Margaret Satthertwaite on the Human Rights Resilience Project and with Professor Philip Alston on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Project. The focus of her Masters degree is constitutional law and human rights.

Kalpana earned her primary law degree in India at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Prior to attending NYU, she worked as a human rights advocate with NGOs, policy think tanks and civil society organisations. Her work has spanned across a wide range of individual rights, public interest law and access to justice issues, including disability rights, right to housing, women’s and children’s rights, access to education and quality legal representation, among others.


Nora Christiani is a second-year JD candidate at NYU studying the intersection of migration and human rights, with a particular focus on family unity and children’s rights. As a Human Rights Scholar, she works on the American Poverty and Human Rights series and on research related to arts and human rights with the Center’s Executive Director Deborah Popowski and Legal Director Nikki Reisch. Additionally, she is the co-chair of the NYU Law Immigrant Rights Project, a student advocate with the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, and the professional chair of Law Students for Human Rights. She has also interned at Brooklyn Defender Services in the Family Defense unit.

Nora has a background in human rights media and participatory education models, and has worked on documentary films about reproductive justice in the Lakota community, women’s economic human rights in Latin America, and the Ríos Montt genocide trial in Guatemala. From 2012-2013, she served as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow with Redes de Tutoría, a Mexican civil society organization promoting a liberatory education model in rural public schools in Mexico. Nora graduated with high honors from Wesleyan University with a BA in Latin American Studies. She is originally from Boston, Massachusetts.

Deirdre Dlugoleski is a second-year JD candidate at NYU working as a Human Rights Scholar on the Data Visualization Project with Professor Margaret Satterthwaite. She is also a student advocate in the Global Justice Clinic, where she works on community land monitoring and data analysis.

Deirdre spent her first-year summer as an International Law and Human Rights Fellow at Human Rights Law Network in New Delhi where she researched and wrote briefs for human rights litigation in the Delhi High Court and the Indian Supreme Court. Her work covered the right to education, regulatory protections for healthcare workers, environmental justice, and the right to health. Before law school, she spent a year in India as a Fulbright Scholar teaching English and researching India’s Right to Education Act, followed by two years working in education policy consulting in Washington, D.C.

Yoojin Lee is a first-year JD candidate at NYU working as a Human Rights Scholar on the Human Rights Resilience Project with Professor Margaret Satterthwaite and Consulting Fellow Ria Singh Sawhney.

Yoojin received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from NYU Abu Dhabi. Her undergraduate study and her thesis, Relations between Attachment Security and Life Story Themes, examined how humans develop resilience through their interactions with various factors in their environment, ranging from their primary caregivers to broader society. Her academic interest and passion for human rights stem from the insights she obtained from her background in psychology. In the future, she aims to research and foster human resilience against dehumanizing legal systems and practices.

Jennifer Daphne Lim is an LLM candidate at NYU, specializing in International Legal Studies. As a Human Rights Scholar, she works on the Human Rights Resilience Project with Professor Margaret Satterthwaite and Consulting Fellow Ria Singh Sawhney. Her interest in well-being for lawyers led her to co-create the podcast Compos Mentis. Her research interests lie in law and development and human rights and global governance, in particular the regulation of and by international institutions.

Jennifer has significant expertise in government litigation and legal policy, most recently advising on the human rights impacts of legislative reforms including justice, health and environmental issues. She previously practiced as a crown solicitor, acting for the Commonwealth of Australia in administrative and tort law cases. She was also a law clerk to Justice Beach of the Federal Court of Australia and case reporter for the Federal Court Reports. She holds a Bachelor of Arts/Law with Honours from the University of Melbourne and was an Australian representative at the Georgetown Center for Transnational Legal Studies.

Anjali Mehta is a first-year JD candidate at NYU working as a Human Rights Scholar on the American Poverty and Human Rights series and on research relating to arts and human rights with CHRGJ Executive Director Deborah Popowski and Legal Director Nikki Reisch. A professional dancer, Anjali’s passion lies in storytelling and truth seeking as it relates to justice. She is a legal team member of the International Refugee Assistance Project, through which she is currently helping a client navigate the resettlement process in the United States. Additionally, she is a researcher for NYU’s International Criminal Court Moot Court team. In February 2018, she will be co-presenting a workshop exploring the use of movement as a tool for self-awareness and emotional healing along with its use in guiding storytelling techniques for practicing and future lawyers at Yale’s Rebellious Lawyering Conference.

Anjali was introduced to the legal world as an undergraduate intern at the Ministry of Justice in Chile, where she worked with the Department of Human Rights to codify a legal definition of “torture” while remaining truthful to the stories of survivors of the Pinochet regime. In 2016, she served as a Fulbright Fellow in Maceió, Brazil, teaching English and dance to students and exploring the use of storytelling as a mechanism for self-healing. While there, she had the opportunity to work with Centro Universitário CESMAC, a private university, on their legal research regarding Quilombo communities and their right to land. In 2017, she worked with Americans for Immigrant Justice and their Detention and Asylum team, working to use the justice system in order to protect the most vulnerable asylum seekers here in the United States.

Elise Perry is an LLM candidate at NYU, specializing in international human rights law. As a Human Rights Scholar, she works with the Transitional Justice Program and provides research support to the UN Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff and Research Officer Danica Damplo. She is also enrolled in courses on strategic human rights advocacy and transitional justice, as well as the International Organizations Clinic, through which she works on a project to be referenced by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston.

Elise holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree from the Australian National University, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection. Prior to moving to New York in August 2017, she worked at the Attorney-General’s Department in Australia, primarily in the areas of criminal law policy, countering violent extremism, and international cooperation, and at the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions as a solicitor advocate. Her passion for human rights law stems from volunteering at a refugee legal center and at a local women’s refuge to document the oral history of clients.


Sarika Arya, JD 2017

Hanna Hallonsten, LLM 2017

Ayako Hatano, LLM 2017

Jorge Carlos Peniche Baqueiro, LLM 2017

Shreya Rastogi, LLM 2017

Marcela Schaefer, JD 2019

Amy Tan, JD 2017

Katerina Wright, JD 2019


Sahiba Gill, JD 2017

Brooke Guven, LLM 2016

Varin Singh, LLM 2016

Peter Speelman, JD 2016

Kate Nancy Taylor, LLM 2016


Emily Buist-Catherwood, LLM 2015

Natalia Restrepo-Ortiz, LLM 2015

Allie Wilson, JD 2016


Tom Artaki, JD 2014

Tamara Morgenthau, LLM 2014


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