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Meet the 2024 Equal Justice Works Student Fellows in the Crime Victims Advocacy Program

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Equal Justice Works is proud to introduce the 2024 class of Crime Victims Advocacy Program Fellows. These 18 law students will spend their summer working alongside Crime Victims Advocacy Program Fellows as they help to provide legal aid and build capacity at their host organizations with a focus on survivors of various crimes. 

“Without legal representation, the myriad of complex civil legal problems faced by victims of crime can be overwhelming to navigate alone,” said Angie McCarthy, senior program manager for the Crime Victims Advocacy Program at Equal Justice Works. “Our Student Fellows play a critical role in our mission to increase access to legal aid for survivors of crime, especially in underserved communities.” 

Through the Crime Victims Advocacy Program, Student Fellows will gain experience providing legal aid and resources to survivors of crime. They will help to provide civil legal services, engage in community education and advocacy efforts, and build capacity at their host organizations.  

Meet our Crime Victims Advocacy Program Student Fellows and learn more about how they will be supporting a wide range of legal issues that survivors of crime often face, including domestic violence, financial crime, and immigration issues: 

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Armand Avila, Texas A&M Law School 

At Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Armand will work in the family law unit, mostly with victims of domestic violence. He is a rising 3L at Texas A&M Law School. Having grown up in El Paso, TX, Armand was eager to contribute to a victim’s advocacy program in his home community. He hopes to use his legal education to help those in society who need it most, especially in his home community. Armand was inspired to do this work because he wanted to gain more hands-on experience assisting victims of domestic violence. 

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Jennifer Campos, Georgetown University Law Center 

Jennifer will work at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC) to aid immigrant survivors of crime by helping them apply for immigration benefits. Coming from a family of Mexican immigrants, Jennifer’s passion for immigrant justice developed from an early age. This summer she is excited to return to NMILC as a Crime Victim Advocacy Program Fellow and hopes to use her legal education to continue serving the immigrant community in any way she can.  

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Mya Gelber, Brooklyn Law School 

At the Sanctuary for Families, Mya will help provide holistic services to crime victims.  Her passion for serving her community is driven by her belief in the profound impact that dedicated individuals can have on society. Mya spent four years working with victims of 9/11, an experience that deeply influenced her understanding of the holistic support clients need. She learned the importance of being a true advocate, not just in the legal realm but in addressing the comprehensive needs of her clients. This experience solidified her dedication to making a tangible difference in the lives of those she serves. Her work has consistently reflected her passion for justice and her dedication to serving underrepresented communities.  

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Connor Gorrell, Marquette University 

Connor will work alongside Legal Action of Wisconsin to assist with identifying local partners that specialize in helping youth crime victims. Connor became passionate about working for Equal Justice Works through his own restorative justice practice, which helps victims and offenders heal and move forward with their lives. 

 

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Renee Horsley, University of Nebraska College of Law 

This summer, Renee will work with Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Uplift project, which focuses on an overlap in family law and crime victims and assists victims of domestic violence. Renee’s aim to help others who feel voiceless, advocating and supporting those who need it the most, helps remind her why she started this journey and why she loves the law. 

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Claudia Hurtado, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law 

At Greater Boston Legal Services, Claudia will work in the labor employment unit and focus on labor employment law and discrimination in the workplace. Growing up listening to stories from her grandparents about the struggle of living under dictatorships and learning about why her parents decided to immigrate to the United States, Claudia was inspired to assist others who came to America with similar dreams as her parents. She chose to work in employment law this summer to assist immigrants, and others, facing unjust treatment at their place of work obtain the rights they are owed. 

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Kyuwon Lee, University of California, Irvine 

Kyuwon will work alongside Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles to serve underserved Asian and Pacific Islander crime victims in the area. Kyuwon’s past volunteer experience in a local immigration center sparked her interest in helping underrepresented communities within the public service system. She seeks to help the Asian and Pacific Islander community gain access to various legal resources as someone who understands non-English-speaking communities’ struggles in navigating the legal system. 

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Donovan McBride, Chicago-Kent College of Law 

At Michigan Indian Legal Services, Donovan will research the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan’s tribal codes as they relate to domestic violence and other sexual violence offenses. Donovan will then write a mock code that accounts for both the cultural competency issues across tribes, but also affords greater protection to victims throughout the entire legal process. 

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Cree Medley, University of Illinois College of Law 

Cree will work with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) to provide aid for victims of sexual violence and assault in both civil and criminal cases. As a survivor of domestic and sexual violence, Cree is passionate about helping survivors get justice and legal support.  

 

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Carolina Parra, Widener University Commonwealth School of Law

At Justice at Work, Carolina will provide critical legal aid to victims of workplace crimes, combating issues such as wage theft, unsafe work conditions, exploitation, discrimination, and retaliation. She aims to address the prevalent challenges faced by vulnerable workers, and seeks to rectify systemic injustices within employment practices. It is Carolina’s priority that the community she serves understand their legal process in their own language in a manner respectful to their culture.

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Nicole Peer, Tulane Law 

At Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Nicole will provide civil legal representation to victims of crime, primarily violent crime. She will also help set up referral relationships with New Orleans Parish District Attorney’s victim advocates office. Nicole’s goal is to help bridge the gap in legal representation for victims and survivors of crime. Her academic and professional career emphasized the immediate need in her local community and globally. She believes everyone deserves legal representation and support regardless of their background. 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkElizabeth Pina, University of California, Davis School of Law

Elizabeth will work with the Public law center to focus on serving unaccompanied minors in Special Immigration Juvenile cases (SIJS). With the support of her host organization, Shelia will help to serve underrepresented, indigent immigrant clients subjected to abuse, neglect, and abandonment by their primary caretakers. In doing so, she will help create a new narrative and potential for the minor children to heal from past trauma and create new life goals from a place of safety and wellbeing.

Equal Justice Works LogomarkYaslin Reyes, Rutgers Law School 

Yaslin will work with Philadelphia Legal Assistance to help with restraining orders and crime victims’ rights enforcement in criminal cases. As a Dominican American born to first-generation immigrants, Yaslin’s drive to work with the Crime Victims Advocacy Program is deeply rooted in her personal experiences. Growing up, she served as a translator and advocate for family and friends navigating legal and social services, witnessing the challenges faced by her community in accessing justice. Her involvement with organizations supporting marginalized communities and her experiences interning have further exposed her to the complex legal issues faced by crime victims, inspiring her to dedicate her career to advocating for equal justice. 

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Ariel Salmon, Stanford Law School 

At the ROAR Center of the University of Maryland Baltimore, Ariel will work with survivors of violent crime with protective orders and retrieval of property. She will also conduct community outreach to underserved communities. Ariel has significant experience in public service. She spent several years in environmental law and spent much of her first year of law school doing direct services support for clients. Ariel hopes to use her experience and education to develop a more equitable and just society, beginning with her clients and the community she serves. 

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Bryan Raye Scott, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’ Connor College of Law

This summer, Bryan will focus on expanding Legal Aid of Arkansas’ capacity to provide civil legal assistance to survivors of human trafficking. This will be done by helping his host organization to build resources, educational materials, and strong partnerships throughout the area. He will also help increase knowledge at Legal Aid of Arkansas for how to spot the warning signs of human trafficking when interviewing clients. This experience is especially important to him, as he is impacting the community he originally called home in Memphis.

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Kortney Smith, University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law 

Kortney will work with Legal Aid Society of Louisville to advocate for victims of gun violence in Louisville. Kortney’s decision to attend law school stems from her passion for advocacy and service. Being an Equal Justice Works Student Fellow in her local community allows Kortney to continue to pursue her passion for advocacy work while also working with and learning from experienced attorneys in the field who share her interests. As a lifelong Kentucky resident, Kortney is honored that her Equal Justice Works Fellowship allows her to advocate for crime victims and enhance access to legal aid for survivors of crime in her local community. 

Headshot of Lan-Phuong Tram
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Lan-Phuong Tram, Georgetown University Law Center 

This summer, Lan-Phuong will work alongside Tzedek DC to advocate for survivors of financial crime and violent crime, including domestic violence in the area. Also, collaborate with community organizations and provide financial crime information, gain input on new scams, assist allied staff to identify and refer financial crime cases. As a native of the Washington metropolitan area who grew up in poverty, Lan-Phuong is especially eager to contribute to Tzedek DC’s efforts to expand legal aid for indigent communities. She is confident that her time within the Crime Victims Advocacy Program will allow her to support survivors of crime and their journey to legal justice. 

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Erekle Vakhramovi, Seattle University School of Law 

At the Northwest Justice Project’s (NJM) Omak Office, Erekle will work with the NJM Native American unit, exploring people’s rights while they’re incarcerated. Also, putting together some materials for major laws regarding crime victims in native American reservations. As a nonbinary immigrant and a benefactor of pro bono legal assistance, Erekle wants to pay forward the support they received with their asylum interview to help bridge the gap of accessibility between legal services and BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. BIPOC communities’ history of pioneering social justice movements and a desire to be a part of supporting their efforts inspired Erekle to pursue this Student Fellowship. 

To learn more about the Crime Victims Advocacy Program, click here. To learn about the opportunities that Equal Justice Works offers to law students, click here. 

This program is supported by an award under 15POVC-22-GK-01116-NONF, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow