Fellows-Elect

The following law students are Tony Patino Fellows-Elect at Columbia, Hastings and Chicago:

Columbia Law School

Michelle Ritter

Class of ‘20

Michelle Ritter was born in Fremont, CA, and grew up living in both the SF-Bay Area and Los Angeles. After graduating from high school two years early, Michelle began her undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, ultimately triple majoring in Economics, International Studies, and Political Science.

She has had the honor of working for, among others, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the Department of Homeland Security, wherein she focused on expanding educational opportunities for underserved students in both the U.S. and abroad; the President of Afghanistan on infrastructure development opportunities; and the Hoover Institution’s Stanford Cyber Policy Program on national security implications of emerging technologies and national strategy.

Michelle matriculated at Columbia Law School in August 2017 and intends on focusing on international law and litigation, as well as supplementing her studies with a Computer Science Master’s degree focused on artificial intelligence.

Ellie Dupler

Class of ‘20

Originally from a small town in northern Michigan, graduated from Yale University in 2016 with a degree in Global Affairs focused on international development.  A Truman Scholar and Fulbright grant recipient, Ellie has previously worked at USAID and the U.S. Department of State.  She is currently a 3L at Columbia Law and aspires to work in international human rights after graduation.

Haris A. Durrani

Class of ‘21

Haris A. Durrani is an engineer, author, academic, and lawyer-in-training born in Norwalk, Connecticut. His parents came to America in the 1960s, his mother from the Dominican Republic and father from Pakistan. They met in New York City.

At Columbia Engineering, Haris was an Egleston Scholar, a Named Scholar for “socially-responsible engineering and applied science leaders whose work results in the betterment of the human condition, locally, nationally, and globally.” Haris majored in Applied Physics, studied space debris with astronaut Michael Massimino and was President of the Muslim Students Association. During this time, he worked on a cheap, lightweight assistive robotic arm for quadriplegics at the Columbia Robotics Lab and on satellites at Boeing Defense, Space and Security. Responding to NYPD surveillance of Muslim students, he cofounded The Muslim Protagonist Symposium on “literature as an agent of social change,” the first major literary conference of its scale for Muslim and allied writers, activists, and academics. Haris grew concerned with the impact of technology on disenfranchised groups, particularly the Latino, South Asian, and Muslim communities he came from.

After graduation, Haris completed a master’s in History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge, interrogating “global humanity” in the international politics of spaceflight. His articles and academic works are taught at Stanford and cited in publications and conferences at Cambridge, Columbia, and elsewhere.

Haris’s book, Technologies of the Self, is taught at Yale and fictionalizes his family’s experiences—with time-travelling space demons. Haris has spoken widely about his work in the U.K. and U.S. and has appeared regularly on NPR. He is winner of the McSweeney’s Student Short Story Contest, and his short fiction, essays, and academic articles have appeared in The New Inquiry, Comparative Islamic Studies, Skin Deep, Catapult, Lightspeed, Media Diversified, Analog, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Buffalo Almanack, and altMuslimah. Buffalo Almanack describes his fiction as “stories about colonialism, neoliberalism, conspiracy bullshit, and a Trumped-out America at the gates of hell.”

At Columbia Law School, Haris focuses on technology and community in public international law. The escalating militarization and commercialization of space activities pose complex challenges about property, law, and sovereignty in the context of surveillance, drones, border security, and debris. Applying legal academia to policymaking, Haris intends to reorient these global concerns to serve communities on the ground, whose stories, as an author, he hopes to tell.

Matthew Beckwith

Class of ‘21

Matt Beckwith was born and raised in Upstate New York. He attended Boston College, studying political science and graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 2016. While at BC, Matt raced for the Men’s Rowing Team, representing the school at the Head of the Charles and three national championships.

After graduating in 2016, Matt went to work in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. There he read and responded to the letters of the American people on behalf of President Obama. It was an experience that expanded his sense of compassion and deepened his commitment to public service. Following the White House, Matt was a Policy Fellow at the Center for Data Innovation, where he co-authored a series of white papers and blog posts detailing the importance of data in public policy. Matt acted as a speechwriter for Governor Martin O’Malley and as a legislative assistant in a Washington lobbying firm, advocating for community colleges and local municipalities before Congress.

Matt is currently a 2L at Columbia Law, where he has focused on studying constitutional law with a specific interest in First Amendment issues. After graduation he hopes he hopes to work on First Amendment law, including data privacy, national surveillance, and campaign finance.

Laura Harder

Class of ‘21

Raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Laura Harder is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

At Princeton, Laura chaired the Student Volunteers Council, which coordinates over 60 service and volunteering projects.  Laura also co-founded a program for teaching public speaking classes in New Jersey prisons, and was one of two students on a university task force that developed recommendations for making civic engagement more central to the student experience.  After her junior year, Laura interned at the White House in the Obama Administration’s Office of Public Engagement. At graduation, Laura received the Allen Macy Dulles Prize, which is awarded to the Senior who most embodies Princeton’s unofficial motto, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service, and in the Service of all Nations.”

After graduating from Princeton, Laura worked for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, where she implemented criminal justice policy reforms aimed at reducing incarceration in New York City jails. Laura primarily focused on the pre-trial population and worked on issues including access to opioid treatment, attorney visitation, and bail reform.

Tanner Lockhead

Class of ‘22

Tanner Lockhead is a Durham, North Carolina native and 2017 Duke University graduate. Before law school, Tanner served as an AmeriCorps Fellow at the Community Empowerment Fund in North Carolina where he led initiatives on legal and employment services for residents transitioning out of poverty and homelessness. Previously, he worked at a DC consulting firm where he handled polling data for several congressional races and worked on mock trials for the SEC and DOJ. Tanner has worked on human trafficking policy at the NC Department of Justice, LGBTQ and campaign finance issues at the Brookings Institution, and HIV/AIDS pharmaceutical patent reform at the Treatment Action Campaign in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2019, he was named a New Leaders Council Fellow in North Carolina.

At Duke, Tanner studied Public Policy and Political Science as a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar and sat on the Duke Board of Trustees. As a Vice President of Duke Student Government, he led a statewide LGBTQ advocacy effort among student-government associations, helped spearhead a new academic program on Durham history at Duke, and secured an on-campus voting site. Tanner was also a varsity debater, Duke Chronicle columnist, and founder of the University’s first LGBTQ-Christian ministry. He studied political philosophy abroad at the University of Oxford. At Columbia, Tanner is a Hamilton Fellow, competitor on the Williams Institute moot court, and President of the Criminal Justice Action Network. He hopes to pursue a career in civil rights law and policy.

Zeinab Khalil

Class of ‘22

Zeinab Khalil is a Public Interest Fellow at Columbia Law School where her interests include criminal defense, civil rights, and critical race theory. She hopes to pursue a career in appellate defense.
 
Prior to law school, she led a funding portfolio at Open Society Foundations challenging structural racism in NYC’s public systems through partnerships between City commissioners, community advocates, and philanthropic leaders. Before that, she worked as an immigrant rights organizer at the Arab American Association of New York with a focus on ending law enforcement abuses and criminalizing practices that make it difficult for immigrants to access essential services like health care and housing. Through her advocacy, she also led an anti-violence program for immigrant women using a multilingual curriculum she helped design.
 
Zeinab will spend the summer working with the Special Litigation Unit of the Criminal Defense Division at the Legal Aid Society. Her work will focus on abuses by corrections officers at Rikers Island jail complex.
 
Zeinab is co-president of the Columbia Muslim Law Students Association. Outside of school, she is passionate about supporting campaigns and movements working to end cash bail, prosecutorial misconduct, and mass incarceration.
 
Zeinab completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, where she was awarded the Alumni Association Senior of the Year award and the Michigan Daily’s Student of the Year award. She holds a master’s from Yale University in public policy and critical migration studies. 

University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Taylor Boutelle

Class of ‘20

Taylor Boutelle was born in the Bay Area, and raised in the Peninsula and the Central Valley. They graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a double major in Literature and Feminist Studies with honors. In between their undergraduate studies and law school they interned for James M. Wagstaffe Esq. at Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP (now Wagstaffe, Von Loewenfeldt, Busch & Radwick, LLP) and returned to UCSC to tutor college freshmen from underresourced communities in writing and social justice concepts.
Taylor is honored to be one of the graduating Tony Patiño Fellow-elects at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Taylor has pursued a variety of public interest and direct services opportunities, including serving as the Vice President of the Asian Pacific American Law Association (APALSA), and a member of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF). The summer after 1L they worked with the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) as the Summer 2018 NAPABA Korematsu Fellow assisting HIV/AIDs+ clients with their benefits needs. Taylor also participated in the Mediation Clinic and the Community Group Advocacy and Social Change Clinic, wherein they worked with the Ella Baker Center to create a practical guide for incarcerated persons and their loved ones to self-advocate utilizing newly enacted SB 1393 Fair and Justice Sentencing Act. In their 2L summer they interned with Oasis Legal Services to do LGBTQIA affirmative asylum work.
 In their final year, Taylor was the Symposium Chair for the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal (HRPLJ) and in partnership with the newly organized Hastings Journal of Crime and Punishment (HJCP)  helped to co-organize a symposium on Progressive Prosecution and the Carceral State. After graduation and BAR study, Taylor will be returning  to EBCLC, Health & Welfare Unit for a fellowship through CA Equal Access Fund (EAF) Homeless Prevention Project. Taylor is excited to collaborate with community partners on how to meet the needs of homeless and housing insecure communities in the Bay Area, with a focus on filling the gap in services for Transgender and Gender Non-conforming populations who are often further criminalized and stigmatized by the law.

Alaina Urbahns

Class of ‘20

Shannon Gillespie McComb

Class of ‘21

Shannon Gillespie McComb has been an advocate since she was a young child, fighting for environmental causes in her community.  She has always had a strong sense of justice and vows to continue that into her legal career.  She graduated as a biomedical engineer from the oldest engineering university in the country, RPI, and was a student leader for underrepresented groups, such as veterans, women and the LGBTQ community.  She established a veterans’ lounge and was the recipient of a prestigious student service award, the Willie Stanton Award.  She is honored to join UC Hastings College of the Law, and particularly to become a Tony Patiño Fellow-Elect.  She plans to combine her engineering and law studies as a patent attorney, and later to influence global health policy by using technology to address issues such as environmental sustainability, inclusiveness and poverty.

Loren Hampton

Class of ‘22

Loren Hampton is a first-year law student at UC Hastings School of Law. She will assume the role of Co-President of the Black Law Student Association and member of Hastings’ moot court team for the 2020-2021 school year. Loren has a Bachelors’s in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Masters in Public Health from Berkeley. In between schooling, Loren worked for a leadership development company and focused on Diversity Equity and Inclusion efforts internally and externally. Passionate about serving the underserved, Loren hopes to gain tools in Big law that she can then use in a leadership position at a non-profit or boutique law firm. Loren also enjoys spending time with her loved ones, exercising, and playing with her Chocolate Lab, Huey P.

Ashcon Minoiefar

Class of ‘22

Ashcon Minoiefar is a Juris Doctor candidate at UC Hastings School of Law. Ashcon Minoiefar served as a research intern to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and as an Earl Warren Fellow to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Ashcon recently founded a UC Hastings Chapter of the American Association for Justice to connect more Hastings students to trial attorneys and their firms.

An alumni of UC Santa Barbara, Ashcon Minoiefar was elected as the student body External Vice President with the student political party he founded, Campus United. Campus united has won a majority in every election since its inception in 2011. As External Vice President Ashcon: organized a grassroots campaign to draft and pass a CA state bill to create the first Special Legislative District in CA since the 1970s, founded the UCIV Volunteer Program which was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice, successfully lobbied Santa Barbara County to allocate $114,000 for Isla Vista’s first Community Resource Deputy, and drafted UCSB’s first Good Samaritan Policy.

Ashcon’s favorite activity is snowboarding in Tahoe, or as he refers to it, his happy place.

Kyra Sikora

Class of ‘22

Kyra Sikora graduated Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors with Distinction from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. She majored in Political Science with a minor in Public Policy from the Goldman School. During her time at Berkeley, Kyra served on President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in Washington, D.C., and as the Policy Intern for then-Attorney General Kamala Harris’s Special Advisor on civil rights. Upon graduation, Kyra was awarded a fellowship to work full-time at San Francisco City Hall in the City Performance Unit, the City’s policy innovation team. In this role, she partnered with City agencies to improve public services related to homelessness, public health, and criminal justice. She also co-founded the San Francisco Lean Program, one of the first programs of its kind in the nation, to train City employees to develop innovative solutions to intractable problems in government bureaucracy.

Kyra currently serves on the Young Leadership Board of GLIDE, one of San Francisco’s oldest nonprofits devoted to social justice and poverty elimination. This summer, as an intern in California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Healthcare Rights and Access Section, Kyra will be working with a team to defend against the Trump Administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court. Upon graduation from Hastings, she plans to continue her career in civil rights impact litigation and policy advocacy.

University of Chicago Law School

Nika Arzoumanian

Class of ‘20

Nika was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. In high school, she participated in Model United Nations, an experience that opened her eyes to the political conflicts and humanitarian struggles of our world. As a result, she became involved with community service efforts in her own town and increasingly passionate about public service. During her time as an undergraduate student at New York University, Nika studied both history and politics with a focus on U.S. foreign policy in the twentieth century. On campus, Nika served on the boards of some of NYU’s undergraduate research journals, including The Historian and The NYU Journal of Politics and International Affairs.

Off campus, Nika completed internships with the National Organization for Women, the Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and the Center for American Progress. In addition, Nika continued her Model UN work by volunteering on the staff of the National High School Model United Nations Conference (NHSMUN), the flagship conference of the International Model United Nations Association and the largest Model UN conference in the world.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from NYU, Nika completed an internship in the legal department of Gogo, a technology company in Chicago. In addition, Nika volunteered as Director-General of NHSMUN. In this capacity, she managed a staff of 130 volunteers to facilitate a conference for 5000 attendees.

Nika is thrilled to be working towards a law degree at the University of Chicago. She is excited to have her experiences at the law school shape her career interests. Right now, she hopes to utilize her law degree to pursue a career in appellate litigation, the judiciary, government, or legal research and academia.

Victor Cedeño

Class of ‘21

Victor was born in the Dominican Republic as the second of five boys. He migrated to the United States with his mother at the age of 12 in 2001. They settled in Des Moines, Iowa where the rest of the family joined 5 years later. While in high school, Victor was an accomplished participant in debate and speech, earning various honors at national competitions. He later served as a volunteer debate coach for local high schools.

Victor attended Drake University in Des Moines, and double majored in Political Science and Psychology with minors in Economics and Philosophy, graduating Magna Cum Laude and as a member of Phi Betta Kappa. Immediately after college, Victor earned a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was honored as a Public Service Fellowship. In graduate school, he led the Harvard Latino Law, Business, and Policy Conference and the Harvard Public Policy Leadership Conference which introduced underrepresented youth to the field of public policy.

Victor Cedeño is coming to the University of Chicago Law School from Minneapolis, Minnesota where he has spent the past 5 years working on education policy for Generation Next, a collective impact coalition in Minneapolis with the mission of closing one of the nation’s largest achievement gaps between white students and students of color. He also served as a Policy Aide to the former mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak.

Victor has participated in and led multiple local political campaigns. He has served on the board of the Minneapolis Urban Debate League and the International Institute of Minnesota, which settles and serves refugees and immigrants. He was also one of the founding members of the local chapter of the New Leaders Council in the Twin Cities, a leadership program that trains and connects young professionals across the business, non-profit, and government sectors.
Victor lives with his wife, Allie, and his two dachshunds, Willie and Charlie. When he is not working or volunteering, he is cheering for Minnesota sports teams, especially the Vikings. He enjoys dancing, running, skiing, and vacationing back in the Dominican Republic.

Dave Finkel

Class of ‘21

Dave Finkel is a second-year student at the Law School, and the President of the Law School Veterans. Dave spent the past summer split between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) and interning for the Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas (Houston). Prior to law school, Dave served eight years as an infantry officer in the United States Army with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 1st Infantry Division. Dave attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he studied history and graduated with the Superintendent’s Distinguished Cadet Award. After graduation, Dave would like to make a home in Houston, Texas. Outside of law school, Dave enjoys college football, golf, fostering animals, and equestrian sports.

Claire Lee

Class of ‘21

Claire is from Indianapolis, Indiana and attended Purdue University where she received a Bachelor of Arts with highest distinction in Political Science and Economics in 2018. While at Purdue, Claire was involved in Mortar Board, the Honors College, and Purdue Foundation Student Board in addition to being named Purdue’s Flora Roberts Outstanding Female Student.

Claire is now a second-year law student at the Law School and the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago’s Legal Forum. Additionally, she serves as Vice President of the Law Women’s Caucus and Treasurer of the Labor and Employment Law Society. As part of her involvement with the University of Chicago Prosecution and Defense Clinic, Claire currently works at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois as an extern. Claire spent her 1L summer at Jones Day in Chicago and is planning to spend her 2L summer at Sidley Austin in Chicago focusing on litigation.

Claire lives with her fiancé Deklin. When not studying or working, Claire is likely cheering for her Purdue Boilermakers or sewing, a hobby she has had for over 15 years.

Alexander Beer

Class of ‘22

A New York City native, Alex graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University in 2015. While at Northwestern, Alex led incoming students on backpacking trips, organized music concerts for the student body, and taught health classes to Chicago Public School students. Following college, he interned at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York and later worked for over three years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York—first as a paralegal in the Complex Frauds & Cybercrime Unit and later as Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. Alex has been playing guitar since elementary school and has performed at music festivals such as South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. Alex is a 1L at the University of Chicago Law School and grateful for the opportunity to join the community of Patiño Fellows.  

Angela Remus

Class of ‘22

Angela is pursuing a J.D. in order to better serve refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants in legal and humanitarian capacities.

Currently, Angela is a member of the Surge Protection Capacity Roster, a humanitarian deployment roster managed by the International Rescue Committee for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Prior to law school, Angela worked as a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative and paralegal for the International Rescue Committee and National Immigrant Justice Center. She also held a short-term role with the UNHCR in Guatemala.

Angela is a Hormel Public Interest Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School. Angela holds a Master of Science, with distinction, in Refugee & Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, Department of International Development. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Rochester, where she was a Renaissance & Global Scholar.