Fellow’s Biographies

Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) Fellowship in Nonprofit Law

2015 Fellow

The nineteenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to V Chai Oliver Prentice. V graduated from Yale Law School in May 2015. V also holds an M.A. in environmental management from the Freie Universitaet Berlin and graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.A. in international affairs. During law school, V served as managing editor of the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal and worked in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. They also produced documentary films with the Yale Visual Law Project and served as a teaching fellow for undergraduate political science courses. In 2014, V was a summer associate at Van Ness Feldman LLP, a boutique energy law firm in Washington, D.C. The previous summer, they worked on extractive industries reform with the Natural Resource Governance Institute in Ghana and then served as a non-profit law intern with 350.org, an international climate change advocacy organization. After the RBF Fellowship, V will clerk for Judge Marsha S. Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

 2014 Fellows

The co-eighteenth RBF fellowship was awarded to Robin Lipp. Robin graduated with a joint degree from Harvard Law School (J.D.) and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (M.P.P.) in May 2014. In law school, Robin served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and participated in the Green New York Clinic with the New York City Law Department. He wrote his thesis for the joint degree on balancing safety and expression in the NYPD’s protest policing policies. Robin spent the summer of 2013 at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he surveyed state-level foreclosure mediation programs and explored legal strategies to stem over-incarceration. During the summer of 2012, Robin worked at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to promote the use of evidence and experimentation in federal grant programs. The previous summer, he worked for the Administrative Law Division at the New York City Law Department, where he represented city agencies. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Swarthmore College in 2010.

The co-eighteenth RBF fellowship was awarded to Katherine Sexton. Katie graduated from New York University Law School in May 2014 and received her B.A. in the History of Art from Yale University in 2010. In law school, Katie was a teaching assistant for Criminal Procedure: the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. She participated in the Children’s Rights Clinic, where she worked at Advocates for Children and the Juvenile Defender Clinic, where she worked at the Legal Aid Society. In the summer of 2013, she worked at Brooklyn Family Defense Practice. In 2012, Katie wrote a children’s book on environmental issues called The Green Geese. Katie also serves on the board of The University Settlement House in New York City.

2013 Fellow

The seventeenth RBF fellowship was awarded to Elizabeth Graber. Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in May 2013, and received her B.A. in German and International Studies from Northwestern University in 2007. In law school, Elizabeth was Managing Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, a teaching fellow for the Law and Social Movements course, and a research assistant on Deborah Anker’s Law of Asylum in the United States. She participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Consumer Protection/Predatory Lending Clinic. In 2012, she received the Vorenberg Equal Justice Summer Fellowship to support her work at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project in New York. The previous summer, she worked at Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, California on public benefits and domestic violence immigration cases. Prior to law school, Elizabeth was a legal assistant at the Public Interest Law Project in Oakland.

2012 Fellow

The sixteenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Allison Nina Canton. Allison graduated from Harvard Law School in May 2012 and from Amherst College in 2007 with a double-major in Political Science and Spanish. During law school, Allison was co-President of La Alianza, VP for Communication of La Alianza, and co-Chair of the 2010 Harvard Latino Law and Policy Conference. In recognition of her contribution to campus life at Harvard Law School, Allison was awarded a Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. She is also the recipient of a Reginald F. Lewis Internship Grant to work on health insurance reform in Ghana, an Equal Justice Works SummerCorps grant, and the Harvard Law School Vorenberg Equal Justice Summer Fellowship. Allison has interned in the criminal defense practice at the Bronx Defenders and in the health care & tax departments at Ropes & Gray in New York. Prior to law school, Allison conducted public health research at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

2011 Fellows

The co-fifteenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Anurag Gupta. Anurag graduated from New York University School of Law in 2011. At NYU School of Law, Anurag was Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and a 2009 Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.While in law school, he served as a research assistant for Prof. Smita Narula, and served on the Boards of Review of Law & Social Change, the National Lawyer’s Guild, and the Coalition for Legal Recruiting. Anurag spent his law school summers atInternational Women’s Rights Action Watch and the Vera Institute of Justice. Anurag also participated in NYU’s Business Law Transaction Clinicand the Law & Business Projects Seminar, in which he completed a business plan fora social enterprise. Until 2009,he served as thedirector of Opening Possibilities Asia,an apoliticalorganizationthat fosters educational development in Burma. Anurag holds a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from Cambridge University and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from NYU.

The co-fifteenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Crystal Scialla.  Crystal graduated from Columbia Law School in May 2009. While in law school, Crystal was a member of Columbia’s Journal of Gender and Law and a participant in the Gender and Sexuality Clinic, where she assisted victims of sexual abuse and gender-based persecution with their visa and asylum applications. She also held internships at both the New York County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Civil Division.  Upon graduation from law school, Crystal volunteered with a grass-roots organization in Western Kenya, where she collaborated with fellow volunteers to develop and lead health education seminars for women in rural villages.  She subsequently worked for two years as an associate in the litigation department of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.  Prior to law school, she served as a fellow for the Chana & Samuel Levis Foundation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she advised municipalities on best practices to address homelessness.   Crystal received her B.A. in public policy from Princeton University in 2005.

2010 Fellow

The fourteenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Adair Iacono. Adair graduated from New York University School of Law in May 2010 and Princeton University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts. in Comparative Literature.  During law school, Adair was an NCPL Research Fellow, an Articles Editor for the NYU Environmental Law Journal, and a member of the steering committee for Law Students for Human Rights.  Adair also interned in the Rackets Division of the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney’s Office, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of New York, and the Vera Institute of Justice.  Prior to law school, Adair worked in scholarly publishing.

2009 Fellow

The thirteenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Ian Vandewalker, who graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law in 2008. After graduation, Ian clerked for the Honorable Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York. During law school, Ian was a Senior Articles Editor for the Review of Law and Social Change. In his summers, Ian worked at National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the Brennan Center for Justice; at the Brennan Center, Ian participated in advocacy efforts directed at guaranteeing everyone equal access to justice. In his third year of law school, Ian was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow and interned at the NYCLU, working on First Amendment issues, as well as at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. He also received a Public Interest Law Foundation grant for an internship at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Ian holds an M.A. in philosophy from Indiana University and received his B.A. from New College of Florida.

2008 Fellow

The twelfth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Benjamin Yaster. Ben graduated magna cum laude from New York University School of Law in 2008 and magna cum laude from Brown University in 2005 with a B.A. in Philosophy.  At NYU School of Law, Ben was awarded Order of the Coif and was a Notes Editor of the New York University Law Review.  He also was a teaching assistant, a research assistant, and a student instructor of the Prisoners’ Rights and Education Project.  During law school, Ben was a summer associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and a law clerk for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.  Ben also participated in NYU’s Equal Justice and Capital Defender Clinic where he represented an Alabama death row inmate seeking post-conviction relief. Following his Fellowship, Ben will be clerking for Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the District of Connecticut.

2007 Fellow

The eleventh RBF Fellowship was awarded to Chloe Cockburn. Chloe graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007 and magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2001 with a B.A. Joint degree in Ancient Greek and Studio Art.  During law school, Chloe was on the Executive Board of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and Co-President of the Criminal Justice Working Group.  She was a recipient of the James Vorenberg Equal Justice Summer Fellowship in 2005, where she worked at the Law Offices of Robert McDuff in Jackson, Mississippi.  During her second summer, she worked at the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where she assisted three senior trial attorneys in defending first degree felony cases.  At Harvard, she was research assistant, a teaching fellow, a Presidential Instructional Technology Fellow, and a member of the Harvard Defenders. She was also a recipient of a Harvard Law School summer writing fellowship for the summer of 2007.  Following her RBF Fellowship, Chloe served as law clerk to the Honorable Charles P. Sifton of the Eastern District of New York. In 2009-2010, she will be a Karpatkin Fellow at the ACLU’s racial justice project in New York.

2006 Fellow

The tenth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Shannon Kahle.  Shannon was a 2006 graduate of New York University School of Law and a recipient of the Root-Tilden-Kern Lindemann Family Public Service Scholarship. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 2002 with a B.A. in Psychology. During law school, Shannon interned at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, working to improve conditions for incarcerated youth housed in juvenile facilities; at the Legal Action Center, a non-profit law and policy organization dedicated to fighting discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records; and at the Gender Equity Project of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco, focusing on eradicating unlawful barriers to employment on the basis of gender.  Shannon also served as an Article and Note Editor of the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy and worked with the Juvenile Rights and Criminal Defense Divisions of the Legal Aid Society as part of NYU’s Juvenile/Criminal Defense Clinic.  Prior to law school, Shannon worked for the Cascade AIDS Project in Portland, Oregon, providing direct service to clients with HIV/AIDS confronting housing and other financial difficulties.  Shannon currently is a Staff Attorney in the Juvenile Rights Practice at Legal Aid Society.

2005 Fellow

The ninth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Jessie Beller. Jessie graduated from New York University School of Law in 2005 and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 with a B.A. in History. At NYU School of Law, Jessie served as an Executive Articles Editor of the NYU Annual Survey of American Law, and received the Philip Cohen Award in recognition of her work on the journal.  During law school, Jessie worked for the Honorable Richard Berman, S.D.N.Y., and Lawyers Alliance for New York, the leading provider of transactional legal services for nonprofits within New York City.  Prior to law school, Jessie worked for Computers for Youth, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that provides inner-city middle school students and their teachers with computers and the training to use them, where she worked on program growth and development.  She currently is an Assistant Counsel at the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, an independent City agency which interprets and enforces the conflicts of interest Law governing all New York City public servants, including elected and appointed officials.

2004 Fellow

The eighth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Anna Pomykala. Anna is a graduate of New York University School of Law, completed an M.A. in Humanities at the University of Chicago, and received her B.A. in Humanities with Distinction from Yale University. At NYU School of Law she co-chaired the Health Law Society and was a staff editor on the Journal of International Law and Politics. Anna researched and wrote a report for the Council of Europe on Access to Public Health Care for Roma Women which was published in September of 2003.  In 2000, Anna was part of the winning team of the Concours Jean Pictet – pleadings in international humanitarian law sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN High Commissioner for Refugees. During law school, Anna was a summer associate with Hogan & Hartson, LLP, in Washington, DC, performed legal and field research on housing rights for the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, and interned with the Secretariat for the United Nations Division of Legal Affairs, Codification Division. After graduating from law school, Anna was a Law Fellow in the Health Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, and a consultant for Doctors of the World, USA.

2003 Fellow

The seventh RBF Fellowship was awarded to Beverly J. Jones. Beverly graduated from Yale Law School and from Smith College with honors with a major in government.  While at Yale, Beverly was a Student Director of the Advocacy for Parents and Children Clinic, editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review, and Executive Producer of the Court Jesters, the Law School’s own theatre troupe.  In addition, Beverly worked for the Center for Voting and Democracy, an organization dedicated to electoral reform, and as a summer associate for Preston Gates & Ellis L.L.P. in Seattle. After graduating from law school, Beverly served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Following the RBF Fellowship, she worked as an associate in the Tax Exempt Organizations practice group of Preston Gates & Ellis LLP in Seattle before returning to New York, and to the Counsel’s office at Vera, where she served as Assistant/Associate General Counsel from 2005 to 2009.  Beverly is currently Vice President and Corporate Counsel at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

2002 Fellow

The sixth RBF Fellowship went to Kevin M. Keenan.  Kevin graduated from Yale Law School and from Swarthmore College with a double major in French and Political Science. While at law school, Kevin was co-editor-in-chief of the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal.  During his summers, he worked in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, at Simpson, Thacher, & Bartlett, and at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). Prior to law school, Kevin served as the interim executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey and reorganized the ACLU of Nevada.  He spent six months volunteering at the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He also has monitored elections for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. Following the RBF Fellowship, Kevin was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the JustChildren program of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. At JustChildren, Kevin represented children in or at risk of incarceration and promoted policy improvements to the juvenile justice system. He helped Virginia adopt improved reentry planning through a regulation on educational reentry and a law on mental health reentry. Since 2005, Kevin has been the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego & Imperial Counties.

2001 Fellow

The fifth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Jessica Peña. Jessica is a graduate of New York University School of Law and received her BA with Honors in Third World Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. While at NYU School of Law, Jessica was an editor for the Review of Law and Social Change and an NCPL Research Fellow in Philanthropy and the Law.  As an NCPL Research Fellow, Jessica co-authored with Alexander Reid an article entitled, “A Call for Reform of the Operational Test for Unrelated Commercial Activity in Charities,” which was published in the NYU Law Review in 2001 and was published as an NCPL monograph in 2002.  Jessica also worked for the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project, and as a summer associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Prior to entering law school, she was as an advocate for the Urban Justice Center’s Homelessness Outreach and Prevention Project where she worked to secure benefits for New York City’s homeless.  Jessica also spent a year in Mayor Giuliani’s Office of Health Services as an Urban Fellow.  After the fellowship, Jessica became Assistant General Counsel for Vera. She held this position until June 2007 when she became Special Counsel. As Special Counsel, she split her time between Counsel’s office and the Center on Sentencing and Corrections where she led Vera’s provision of technical assistance to the state of New Jersey’s sentencing and corrections task force.  In April 2009, Jessica joined the New Jersey Department of Children and Families as deputy director for strategic planning. Her work focuses on supporting the agency’s reform efforts in compliance with the terms of a class action settlement agreement.

2000 Fellow

The fourth RBF Fellowship was awarded to Laura Auwers Leonhardt. Laura graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and Yale University.  At Georgetown, she was awarded The Order of the Coif and was Senior Notes and Comments Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.  Prior to law school, Laura worked at a health policy consulting firm where she collected data and helped design evaluations for government programs aimed at improving children’s health.  In addition, while an undergraduate at Yale University, Laura conducted a research project on community versus institutional living for the mentally ill and volunteered at Ben Haven, a local home for autistic children and adults.  Laura also clerked for Judge Deborah Chasanow of the United States District Court in Maryland.  After the RBF Fellowship, Laura worked at the Office of General Counsel of Yale University. Since 2003 she has worked at home caring for her three children.

1999 Fellow

The third RBF Fellowship was awarded to Katchen Locke. Katchen graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and received a B.A. in Religion and the Humanities from the University of Chicago where she was awarded an academic scholarship.  While at law school, Katchen worked at the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, where she did research on housing rights.  She also has worked as a volunteer instructor for Chicago Legal Aid for Incarcerated Mothers, as a summer intern for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, and as co-chair of the Workers Rights Committee of Jobs with Justice in Chicago. Katchen currently serves as Associate General Counsel for Local 32B-32J, Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC.

1998 Fellow

The second RBF Fellowship was awarded to Andrea Zeuschner. Andrea graduated from Harvard Law School and Bryn Mawr College and attended the Institut für Europäische Studien in Vienna, Austria.  While at Harvard, she was a senior editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and worked for the Hale & Dorr Legal Services Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked for several years as a health policy consultant in Washington, D.C.  Andrea has worked at Medscape, an online resource that aims to improve the practice of medicine by providing the latest clinical information to practitioners and at Easton Associates, an expertise-based consulting firm dedicated to the business of healthcare.  Andrea currently is a consultant to Job Path, a Vera spin-off organization dedicated to supporting people with developmental disabilities.

1997 Fellow

The first RBF Fellowship was awarded to Lisa Kung. Lisa graduated from New York University School of Law and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and attended St. Andrews University in Scotland. At NYU School of Law she was editor-in-chief of the Review of Law & Social Change and a recipient of the Vanderbilt Medal for public service. While at law school, she worked at the Task Force for the Homeless in Atlanta, as well as the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund and the N.O.W. Legal Defense & Education Fund in New York.  After completing her RBF Fellowship, Lisa returned to Atlanta to work as a Soros Fellow at the Georgia Law Center where she ran a Community Counsel project that offered legal services to nonprofit housing organizations.  In 2006, Lisa became the executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta.  Lisa was recently named by American Lawyer as one of the nation’s top 50 young litigators.