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Ashley grew up in Denver and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012 with a B.A. in Humanities and a dual-emphasis in creative writing and community studies. Exploring everything from astronomy to ancient history, she found her niche in the International/National Voluntary Service Training Community Leadership Program where her passion for environmental justice and conservation grew.
Through service learning, Ashley built relationships with low-income residents in a Denver food desert, Diné families with cultural roots in the Black Mesa of Arizona, subsistence coffee farmers in the Nicaraguan countryside, and organic farmers in Boulder County’s Valmont region. Witnessing the link between economic injustice and environmental degradation, Ashley became committed to using environmental advocacy as a means for community empowerment and sustainability.
After graduation, Ashley facilitated two experiential learning programs around environmental issues in the West, including an aerial tour of the impact of extractive industries on national parks and the Colorado River. Hiking and camping throughout Colorado, she continues to rekindle her love for geology and the night sky. Ashley enters law school with a full heart and a dedication to advocating for communities and natural resources that lack a voice.
Tessa grew up in London and Washington D.C and attended Oberlin College, graduating with a B.A. in art history. Her interest in all things international and legal developed during college, especially during an internship at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the office of then Senator Biden.
Continuing on the international path and giving in to an intense passion for travel, after college Tessa moved to Madrid, Spain, where she had studied abroad as an undergraduate and taught English there for a year and a half. From Spain she traveled to Ireland for six months of exploring before moving to England where she completed an LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex. While at Essex, Tessa had the opportunity to write her dissertation on the application of human rights law to national security policy with the current Head of the UN Human Rights Committee, Sir Nigel Rodley.
After finishing her LLM in 2009, Tessa interned for five months with a human rights organization in London called REDRESS, helping victims of torture obtain redress through the international legal system, which confirmed her dedication for working in human rights, especially in the fields of torture prevention and obtaining justice for victims of abuse.
In February 2010, Tessa moved to Nepal to take a job with a Nepali NGO called Advocacy Forum, as a legal program officer. In this role Tessa worked mostly to draft individual communications to the UN Human Rights Committee on cases of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and torture, as well as other human rights violations that arose from the armed conflict that ended in Nepal in 2006. Tessa’s proudest accomplishment from this time was drafting a toolkit for Nepali lawyers on how to incorporate international law into the domestic prosecution of sexual violence cases, which is now being used by lawyers throughout Nepal.
Tessa returned from Nepal in 2011, and has since been working mostly in the field of immigration, but very much wants to use her law degree to develop a career in human rights law, to work to hold accountable those who commit gross violations of human rights in the international criminal law arena, and to help incorporate stronger protections for human rights in the domestic laws of the US and around the world.
Michael was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was hooked into public service early through the Boy Scouts of America, where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Not much later, he discovered his passion for argumentation by participating in debate and mock trial competitions throughout high school.
While attending college in Omaha, Nebraska Michael fed his need for public engagement by becoming a campaign intern in the 2008 presidential election. Over four months he organized, trained, and joined volunteers in phone calls and door-to-door canvassing. After several more years of campus and community activities, he graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Philosophy and Classical and Near Eastern Studies from Creighton University.
After graduation, Michael moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where he served two full terms in AmeriCorps at a non-profit community mental health center. His service centered around developing and implementing a volunteer program that covered all of Larimer County, including Fort Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park. Not content with serving full time with AmeriCorps, Michael also volunteered on the board of the local chapter of the ACLU for over a year.
Michael’s experiences through AmeriCorps, shaped him into passionate mental health advocate. He hopes to use his law degree to promote wider understanding of and protection for those living with addictions and mental illness, particularly in the criminal justice arena.
Allie is excited to be on the eight-year plan at DU. Previously; she completed a Bachelor’s in Public Policy and Spanish and a Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Denver. When she’s done hanging out at the intersection of University Blvd. and Evans Ave. she’s excited to pass her time at the State Capitol working for legislation that serves under-protected Coloradans.
She got her feet wet in state policy advocating on behalf of patients with chronic diseases as the Public Policy Coordinator for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Colorado-Wyoming Chapter. Seeing state-level implementation of the Affordable Care Act ignited her passion for justice in access to healthcare.
In addition to working on health-related issues, Allie is fortunate to have had excellent opportunities to learn through working with a number of diverse community organizations. Her interest in law developed while helping immigrants prepare for the US Citizenship exam, organizing fund-raising efforts for an international development agency, and conducting intake interviews for Legal Aid.
Allie was born and raised in the Denver area and will likely make Denver her home for life. While at DU Law she is most looking forward to continuing state-level policy and advocacy work with some of Colorado’s leading nonprofits and working with like-minded law students with an eye toward the future of law and policy in the state.
Maybe someday you’ll see her name on a ballot in a local election.
Laura was born and raised in Middlebury, Indiana. After graduating from Goshen College she spent a year as a volunteer in Recife, Brazil, teaching English to adolescents and working in a small community library.
Soon after she returned from Brazil Laura moved to Harlingen, Texas, a small city near the Mexican border. In Harlingen, she was a full time volunteer at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) through the Americorp program. ProBAR works with children and adults in immigration detention centers in Deep South Texas. Laura began her time at ProBAR working with attorneys on asylum cases of adult clients from around the world.
A year and a half later Laura transitioned into working as an employee at ProBAR’s Children’s Project. She gave legal rights presentations to children detained by Border Patrol and ICE. Although most of the children Laura worked with were apprehended near the border after recently leaving their homes in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, some of the children had spent most of their lives in the United States. Laura eventually became an Accredited Representative and began to represent children in immigration court and at adjustment and asylum interviews.
While at ProBAR Laura saw first hand the challenges facing youth in our immigration system and the added difficulties facing children who are involved in both the juvenile justice system and the immigration system. After much deliberation, Laura decided to leave ProBAR and the eternal summer of South Texas. She hopes to continue working in immigration or juvenile law.
Elie graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a B.A. in English and Global Media Studies. As an undergrad, Elie led creative writing courses for juveniles and adults incarcerated in the Detroit area. Elie also led HIV/AIDS awareness workshops at public schools. This stoked a fire in Elie for educational and juvenile advocacy.
After a brief stint as an ESL tutor in Portland, OR, Elie spent two years teaching English in China. During his first year, he worked with primary-aged children from under-resourced communities in Shenzhen—followed by a year of teaching English and English literature at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.
Upon returning to the U.S., Elie began participating in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in Chicago. While living in an intentional community with 15 other recent college graduates who were each working with nonprofits fighting poverty (and its causes) in Chicago, Elie worked with Free Spirit Media—an organization focused on youth empowerment through education and media production. Elie taught digital media, documentary production, and journalism in North Lawndale.
Elie is driven to focus on human and civil rights work, especially in regards to advocating for those who are widely disenfranchised and marginalized: juveniles and prisoners. Born and raised in Denver, Elie is excited to continue developing as an ally and advocate back in his home.