Class of 2018

Program Fellows share a passion for public service in the interests of justice, but are focused on a wide range of subject matter areas and have a diverse range of interests and experiences. Feel free to reach out to individual Fellows with questions about their paths and their experience in the Program.

Tony Belton

Tony Belton is a third-year law student from Bowie, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. During his 1L summer Tony interned at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in New York City where he interviewed law enforcement officers, victims, and witnesses to compose criminal affidavits. In his 2L spring semester he completed an externship at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia where he researched ethical issues for DHS employees and audited training courses for new federal agents. For his 2L summer he interned with the Army JAG Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he rotated amongst the military justice and administrative law sections of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Tony enjoys stock car racing, photography, and hiking. Interests: Government.

Jeremy Bennie

Jeremy Bennie is a third-year law student pursuing a career in public defense. While in law school, he has interned with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Office of the Public Defender, and the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Jeremy will be working at the Bronx Defenders in New York City after graduation. In his spare time, he loves running, dogs, vegetarian cooking, learning about radical ideas, and exploring national parks. He is from central Massachusetts, and he graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he created an individualized interdisciplinary major called Leadership in a Diverse Society. Interests: Public Defense; Community Lawyering; Criminal Justice Reform; Prisoners’ Rights; Juvenile Justice, Education Law; Mental Health Law.

Maggie Birkel

Maggie Birkel is a third-year law student from Washington, D.C. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2012. Prior to law school, Maggie worked as the Director of Operations at Eden House, a New Orleans residential recovery facility for women leaving sex work and sex trafficking. Her 1L summer she worked at the Orleans Public Defenders office and this past summer she worked in the Brighton Regional Office of the Colorado State Public Defenders. At UVA she is involved in the Virginia Law in Prison Project, the Virginia Innocence Project, and the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law.  Interests: Public Defense; Restorative Justice; Prisoners’ Rights; Women’s Rights; Criminal Justice Reform; Mental Health Law.

George Carotenuto

George Carotenuto is a third-year law student from New Jersey. He graduated from Duke University in 2013 with a degree in Economics and Education. After 1L, he interned at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and hopes to pursue a career as a federal prosecutor. He spent his 2L summer in the litigation department at Davis Polk in New York. George is a Notes Editor for the Virginia Law Review and a team leader for the UVA Innocence Project. He will be clerking for the Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo in the District of New Jersey after graduation. Interests: Government (agency work); Prosecution; Innocence/wrongful Convictions Litigation.

Jennifer Davidson

Jennifer Davidson is a third-year law student from Pennsylvania. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015 with a degree in Government and Women’s and Gender Studies. Jennifer spent her 1L summer working at the Department of Justice, International Affairs, and her 2L summer at Altshuler Berzon, a San Francisco-based public interest firm specializing in union-side and civil rights cases. She participated in the Housing and Litigation Clinic her 2L year, and is part of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic her 3L year. After graduation, Jennifer will clerk for Judge Costa on the 5th Circuit then Judge Beetlestone in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading, and going to museums. Interests: Women’s Rights; Civil Rights; Labor and Employment.

Jim Dennison

Jim is a third-year law student from Logan, Utah. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2013 with a degree in philosophy. He has done pro bono with Western Resource Advocates in Salt Lake City, Utah, spent the summer of 2016 working for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Birmingham, Alabama, and spent the summer of 2017 working for the Environmental Defense Fund in Boulder, Colorado. In his spare time, he likes to climb rocks, ride his bike, and cook veggies on the grill. Interests: Environmental Law.

Tess Fardon

Tess is a third-year law student who majored in psychology at Vassar College where she was a crisis advocate for a peer counseling hotline specializing in issues of interpersonal violence. Seeing how victims of this violence were treated in our legal system (mainly through witnessing Title IX hearings in-school and hearing about domestic violence proceedings in court) triggered her applying to law school. Tess took a gap year before coming to Virginia where she worked at the Legal Aid Society and in general counsel at Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. At school, Tess participates in the Hunton Williams Pro Bono program where she shadows an attorney who does a lot of work with domestic violence victims; the VA Legislative Committee on Mental Health where she helps with housing recommendations to keep mentally ill individuals out of the prison pipeline; and the Domestic Violence Project. Once at UVA, her interest in criminal justice — especially in racial justice — grew. She spent her 1L summer exploring criminal justice from the government side at the DOJ’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, and spent her 2L summer at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in their Criminal Justice Project. Interests: Civil Rights; Policy; Education Law; Criminal and Racial Justice.

Lauren Howes

Lauren is a third-year law student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Stevenson University in 2014 with a degree in Paralegal Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Before coming to law school, she worked as a paralegal in Baltimore, Maryland. She spent her 1L summer and 2L school year working at the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Interests: Prosecution; JAG.

Maya Iyyani

Maya Iyyani is a third-year law student from Pembroke Pines, FL. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 (Go Gators). Her first summer she served as a law clerk at Bay Area Legal Aid in the Housing Unit, working on eviction defense and subsidy preservation. This past summer she worked at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant predominantly on Affirmative Asylum cases. Maya returned to Bay Area Legal Aid and recently completed a full-time semester-long externship.  In her spare time, Maya enjoys Indian dancing, reading, and watching shows on Netflix. Interests: Civil Legal Aid; Economic Justice; Racial Justice; Housing; Immigration.

Keisha James

Keisha James is a third-year law student from Tampa, Florida. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2014 with bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Studies. Prior to law school, Keisha worked for a non-profit as a court advocate for victims of domestic violence. During her 1L summer, she interned at the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. Keisha enjoys binge-watching critically-acclaimed television shows, wearing bold prints, and watching live comedy. Interests: Criminal Law; Public Defense; International Law; Human Rights.

Megan Keenan

Megan Keenan is a third-year law student from Ohio, where she (*proudly*) graduated from The Ohio State University. During law school, Megan has worked in the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Legal Advisor at the State Department, and she spent a month in Zambia working with Undikumbukire Project on juvenile justice reform. Megan is the president of the Public Interest Law Association and Common Law Grounds at UVA Law, and in her free time, she’s a big fan of coupling running with excessive amounts of gummy worms. Interests: Civil Rights; Human Rights; Public International Law; Criminal Justice Reform; Racial Justice; Government.

Joanna Kelly

Joanna Kelly is a third-year law student from Wilmington, Delaware. She graduated from Columbia University in 2014 with a major in Middle Eastern Studies. After graduation, she worked in Cairo, Egypt at the American University… and almost didn’t come to law school because she loved it so much (but glad she did!). She especially enjoyed visiting family in the region and tutoring English to Syrian and Sudanese refugees in her free time. After her 1L year, she interned at the Office of Foreign Litigation at the Department of Justice. As a 2L, she spent much of her time at the Legal Aid Justice Center as part of the Litigation and Housing Clinic and, in the summer, worked on the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Joanna enjoys playing basketball and exploring Charlottesville’s culinary scene in her free time. Interests: Racial Justice; Education Law; Criminal Justice Reform; Housing Law; Civil Rights Law; Poverty Law; International Human Rights Law.

Nicole Lawler

Nicole Lawler is a third-year law student from Orefield, Pennsylvania. She graduated from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Political Science, Theology, and Economics. After her first year of law school Nicole worked at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Delhi, India. For her 2L summer, Nicole was a summer associate at Richards, Layton, & Finger in Wilmington, Delaware. Previously, Nicole has interned at the Defenders Association of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project in Philadelphia, and the Delaware Community Legal Aid Society. Interests: Prisoner Rights; International Human Rights; Public Defense.

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer is a third-year law student. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2012. Jennifer taught fourth grade as a Teach For America corps member in Charlotte for three years prior to law school. During her 1L summer, she worked as a legal intern at Children’s Rights in New York. Jennifer enjoys meeting new people and exploring new places to eat. Interests: Child Advocacy; Juvenile Justice; Education Law.

Ryan Leonard

Ryan is a third-year law student from Delaware, home of Joe Biden and tax-free shopping. He graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in political science and history, focusing primarily on the MENA region. After law school, Ryan plans to go into white-collar prosecution. In his spare time, Ryan helps coach Virginia’s undergraduate mock trial team and watches the Philadelphia 76ers lose games.  Interests: White-Collar Prosecution.

Amber McCoy

Amber McCoy is a third-year law student from Matewan, West Virginia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in psychology. Prior to law school, she worked for a public defender and conducted psychological research. During her 1L summer, Amber interned at a federal district court. Last summer, she interned at the Attorney General’s Office in Raleigh, North Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and digital painting. Interests: Government; Poverty Law.

Emily Mordecai

Emily is a third-year law student and hails from Virginia Beach. She spent her summers during undergrad working in public defender’s offices and spent her 1L summer working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. She joined Hunton & Williams as a summer associate last summer in the firm’s Richmond office and gained experience in bankruptcy, consumer products & retail litigation, white collar criminal defense, employment law, and pro bono work. Emily has enjoyed being a part of a number of public interest groups at school, including the Law and Public Service Program, Public Interest Law Association, and the Civil Rights Litigation Clinic. Interests: Criminal Law; Government Work.

Elyse Moy

Elyse Moy is a third-year law student from McLean, Virginia. She graduated from William and Mary with a degree in Linguistics and Japanese. During her 1L summer she interned at the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, visiting museums, and finding new coffee and tea shops. Interests: Civil Rights; Racial Justice; Language Access.

Cassondra (Cj) Murphy

Cassondra (Cj) Murphy is a third-year law student from Syracuse, New York.  She attended American University, majoring in CLEG—communications, legal studies, economics and government.  Cj spent her 1L summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria and her 2L summer at Lambda Legal.  She recently completed an externship with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee during her 3L fall.  After graduation, Cj plans to return to Washington, D.C. to work in the federal government or for a non-profit. Interests: Intersection of Law and Policy; Human Trafficking; Sexual Assault; Child Exploitation; Wrongful Convictions.

Josh Myers

Josh Myers, a third-year law student, spent this past summer in the Washington, D.C. office of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLC. A native of Little Mountain, S.C., he served as social chair of the Black Law Students Association and alumni co-chair with the Program in Law & Public Service. He is also a member of the Virginia Law & Business Review and serves as Development Editor. He has served as a law clerk with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. His pro bono activities include work for the S.C. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. He also has been a Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, focusing his work on federal arts policy. He enjoys cooking, running, and exploring museums. Interests: Government; Prosecution; Employment Law.

Jeni Popp

Jeni Popp is a third-year law student from San Diego, CA. She graduated from Brown University in 2012. After college, Jeni taught 9th and 10th grade English for two years as a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans, LA, followed by a stint at an education technology startup in Cambridge, MA. While in law school, Jeni has interned at the Orleans Public Defenders, the Bronx Defenders, and the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties; participated in the Immigration Law and Civil Rights Litigation Clinics; and been on the boards of the National Lawyers Guild and Child Advocacy, Research, and Education. After graduation, Jeni will clerk for the Honorable Carl E. Stewart on the Fifth Circuit. Interests: Civil Rights (particularly those related to Education, Police Practices, and Immigration); Racial and Socioeconomic Justice.

Louisa Rich

Louisa is a third-year law student from a small hippie town in Ohio who went to Colorado College. She went straight to law school afterwards and quickly realized she wanted to do civil legal services. She worked at the Legal Aid Justice Center here in Charlottesville her 1L summer. Her 2L summer she worked at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. Both organizations offer direct services to people that cannot afford legal representation and seek systemic change through litigation and policy work. In her free time, she loves exploring the many outdoor areas Charlottesville offers, including the Rivanna Trail, Chris Greene dog park (she has a dog), Penn Park, the Monticello Trail, and the greater Shenandoah Valley. She lives on the Downtown Mall and highly recommends coming to the Saturday farmer’s market April-December. Interests: Civil Legal Services.

Cory Sagduyu

Cory Sagduyu is a third-year law student originally from Kansas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and interned with the Innocence Project, the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office, and at the White House in the Office of National Economic Council. She also spent a summer in Nicaragua, teaching classes about domestic violence and human rights. Cory split her 1L summer, interning both at Ayuda and for the Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She spent her second summer interning at Human Rights First, working on asylum cases and human trafficking research, as well as at the Equal Justice Center, representing victims of labor trafficking and migrant workers in employment rights cases. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and traveling internationally. Interests: Immigration; Human Trafficking; Domestic Violence; Criminal Law; International Human Rights.

Aviva Schaffer

Aviva Schaffer is a third-year law student from Rochester, NY.  After studying International Relations and Arabic at the University of Rochester, she spent a year in Washington, DC.  She has interned for the Immigration Program at the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, the Arlington Immigration Court, and CAIR Coalition.  She plans to practice immigration law after graduation. Interests: Immigration Law.

Ryan Snow

Ryan Snow is a third-year law student who was born and raised in Stanford, CA, graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in 2005 with degrees in Politics and Jazz Studies, and worked as a professional trombonist based in Brooklyn, NY from 2005 to 2014. Over several years touring the country with soul-rock band Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Ryan’s political passions were activated by a series of Supreme Court decisions enshrining money as protected speech while allowing states to create severe burdens on the right to vote, and he decided that he had a moral duty to spend his life working in service of democracy and toward a society that works for all. Ryan interned at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section during summer of 2017; for Represent.Us in January of 2017; at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, DC, during summer of 2016; and at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York, NY in January of 2016. Interests: Voting Rights; Redistricting; Campaign Finance; Government Ethics; Civil Rights; Civil Liberties; Climate Action; Progressive Politics.

Dre Thujis

Dre Thuijs is a third-year law student from Miramar, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators) in 2015 with bachelor degrees in History and Political Science. During his time at UF, he worked for the school’s Student Legal Services, assisting students in almost all of their legal troubles. In his 1L summer, he interned in Miami at the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. In his free time, Dre enjoys playing and watching soccer, learning Dutch, and hanging out with the best group of people in UVA’s SALSA. Interests: Criminal Defense; Public Defense.