Student Organizations

1st Year Scholars

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Victoria Baxter

Victoria Baxter, born in Port Arthur, Texas, spent the last seven years of her life in San Marcos, Texas, where she got her Bachelor's degree in Spanish and International Relations at Texas State University. After graduation, she worked for Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, a shelter and resource center for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as the first point of contact for families entering the shelter. She also worked as the Benefits Coordinator for Casa Marianella, a shelter and resource center for immigrants and asylum seekers in Austin, Texas. She is dedicated to working in the intersection of women’s rights and immigrant’s rights. In her spare time, she likes to go on hikes and watch movies with her partner Drew, her American Bulldog Lumos, her fat orange cat Leon, and her fifteen-year-old black lab Buck.


Alex Behn

Alex Behn was born in Chicago, IL. He graduated from Tulane University in 2017 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. While attending school in New Orleans, he volunteered with several community-led movements, including Fight for $15 and Gulf South Rising. From 2018-19, Alex worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Legal Aid Chicago as a member of its Medical Legal Partnership working group. He hopes to use his law degree to continue working with grassroots movements and organizations in the field of immigration, and is particularly interested in working with undocumented workers and organized labor.


Michelle Gaeng

Michelle Gaeng was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated in 2014 from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating college, Michelle interned on Capitol Hill for Majority Whip Steny Hoyer and organized for the 2014 midterm elections in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past five years, she worked at Equal Justice Works, a public interest law nonprofit in Washington, DC. At Equal Justice Works, Michelle found her passion for affordable housing as she managed post-graduate legal fellows and community organizers who work to sustain affordable housing in cities across the country. Michelle has a personal interest in international issues, as she interned in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium during college and travels abroad as often as possible. In her free time, Michelle loves to run, cook, read, and spend time outdoors. She is excited to be in Denver and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities of Sturm College of Law.


Nicole León

Nicole León has been working in the field of victim advocacy since 2008. She has experience in Child Advocacy Centers, State Attorney’s Offices, and community domestic violence agencies. Nicole currently serves as the Director of Denver’s Sexual Assault Interagency Council (SAIC). She coordinates the work of the general council as well as its subcommittees, including Denver’s Sexual Assault Response Team. Nicole has experience conducting trainings on LGBTI inclusion, sexual assault response, campus sexual assault considerations, and the impact of domestic violence on children. She is passionate about dismantling deeply held biases that perpetuate systemic oppression, particularly within the realm of violence against women.


Mekayla Schock

Mekayla Schock was born and raised in the Denver area. She attended Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and received a B.A. in Spanish Literature. After graduating college, Mekayla moved to El Paso, Texas and spent several years working at a shelter on the U.S. - Mexico border for families seeking asylum. She then worked with a non-profit that worked to combat human trafficking in the border area. Through experiences working with people going through various immigration processes, and as well as experiences with human-trafficking survivors testifying in court, Mekayla became interested in becoming a lawyer. A couple years ago, Mekayla moved back to Colorado and worked as a case manager for Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. She hopes to use her social services experience in the field of law to advocate for those who are underrepresented and sometimes misunderstood by the legal system. In her free time, Mekayla enjoys getting outside, reading, and cooking.


Melissa Sumner

Melissa is from Long Island, NY. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Psychobiology. During her senior year at SUNY New Paltz she was accepted as a New York City Teaching Fellow and began teaching in the South Bronx while concurrently earning a Master’s Degree in Urban Education. Melissa taught students with severe emotional disturbance for the NYC Department of Education for 5 years before moving to Colorado. She has been working for Aurora Public Schools for 7 years as a special education teacher and a special education instructional coach working with students with mild/moderate disabilities and their teachers. The whole of Melissa’s work has led her to want to advocate for students with disabilities beyond the scope of a classroom. Melissa is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Professional JD Part-Time program and honored to have been awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship; both of these amazing opportunities afford her the ability to continue to spend quality time with her husband, Nathan, and two boys, Oliver and Charlie, and to work in public education while earning her JD. After law school, Melissa hopes to go into education law to effect positive change for all students in our public education system


Elisabeth Teater

Elisabeth Teater graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008. She moved with her husband to Washington, D.C. where she spent several years interning at non-profits like Polaris Project (an anti-human trafficking organization) and The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, before she got a job working at D.C. Central Kitchen as a Homeless Outreach Worker. After 2 years of meeting people living on the streets, she and her husband moved to the slums of Kolkata, India to live and learn from the people there. While living in Kolkata for 3 years, Elisabeth birthed a child and helped birth a business that employed women living in the slum to make reusable sanitary pads and increase awareness about menstrual hygiene issues. While living in Kolkata Elisabeth realized how much she truly loves people living on the streets in the United States. In 2015 Elisabeth and her family moved back to the States and settled in Denver, where Elisabeth has been working for the last 4 years as a Homeless Outreach Worker at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and where they have become a certified foster family. Through her work with clients, Elisabeth learned about the injustices throughout our systems that keep people on the margins. Through a series of encounters with powerful figures and discussions with clients and co-workers, Elisabeth realized that she wanted to go to law school so that she would be better equipped to fight the injustice with and on behalf of people on the margins. When she is not at school, Elisabeth likes to knit, watch baseball and spend time outside with her 3 daughters, her husband and her dog. She is excited to be at Sturm College of Law, honored to be a Chancellor’s Scholar and looking forward to a lifetime of working toward a more just world for everyone.


Anna White

Anna graduated in 2015 from St. Louis University where she was a member of the Micah Program, a social-justice based learning community. At graduation, knowing she wanted to continue down the social-justice path but unsure what career was calling her, Anna signed up for a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She was placed as a middle school teacher in New York at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep, where she had the joy of teaching and learning from the best students on the planet. One year of service soon turned into three. Throughout her time at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep, she learned: how to drive a school bus, the value of candy for bribery, and that middle schoolers are actually not scary if you simply show them you care. While she loved teaching, she realized how frustrated she was becoming watching her students struggle at the hands of an unjust society. She wanted to do something to tackle these problems at their roots. In 2018, Anna moved to Colorado and worked on local elections, registering high schoolers to vote and working on a get out the vote campaign. She hopes to combine her law degree with her previous experiences to help improve education policies.


Karli Wurpel

Karli, a Colorado native, grew up in Centennial and attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration with International Relations. After college Karli spent time traveling, working, and volunteering both home and abroad. Her projects included a sanitary water project in Axum, Ethiopia, a women’s career development project in Huaraz, Peru, child welfare aid in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and various local projects with the Centennial Rotary Club.

Prior to starting law school, Karli spent 5 years with Child Advocates--Denver CASA where she helped guide advocates and families through the child abuse a neglect system in Denver Juvenile Court. This work examined various children’s rights violations and how both societal and interfamilial actions enable these violations to occur. Karli’s subject area focus was the intersection between human trafficking and child abuse, and she co-created a three part educational program to train community members and advocates on human trafficking. Human rights violations, whether displayed boldly as abuses of rights, or whether displayed more subtly through day to day social inequities, are matters that Karli seeks to attend to through her Denver Law education and through her legal career. As a law student, she plans to continue to examine how the legal system both helps and hinders families and communities in crisis. This exposure, she hopes, will help her continue her work in identifying ways in which individual’s rights and livelihoods can be better accessed and better protected. Karli is humbled and grateful to be a part of the Chancellor’s Scholarship community, and is eager to work among her accomplished peers to explore diversity, culture, debate, and creative thinking as means to achieve positive social impact.

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208